Drug Addiction

If you have a loved one with a drug or alcohol addiction, you may be looking for ways to help that person. Addiction is a chronic disease, marked by uncontrollable cravings for a substance; people with a drug or alcohol addiction continue to use the substance in spite of any negative consequences.

The Importance of Drug Addiction Treatment

Although many addicts believe they can stop drinking or using drugs on their own, treatment is necessary to overcome the chemical and psychological dependency that develops with addiction. A comprehensive addiction treatment center, such as Adjustments Family Services, addresses the multiple aspects of addiction and provides the counseling and support needed to begin the journey toward recovery.

Too many cases of addiction remain untreated. Research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that only about 10.4 percent of adults with a substance abuse problem receive the help they need. Your loved one may be in denial about their addiction to drugs or alcohol, and it may be necessary to arrange an intervention to convince them to seek treatment.

Without treatment, an alcoholic or drug addict will suffer problems in their personal life, career, and health. Identifying a substance addiction and taking early action can help an individual turn their life around before significant damage is done.

Treatment Approaches for Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Once your loved one has acknowledged their problem with drugs or alcohol, they will need to choose a treatment program. Addiction treatment can take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis. The appropriate treatment setting for a client will depend on several factors. While an outpatient rehab treatment program provides a higher degree of freedom and flexibility for clients, it’s not always the optimal choice.

The outside world can be filled with temptations and distractions for a person in the early stages of recovery. For many clients, the safe and supportive environment of a residential rehab center can increase their chances of success. Some substances can cause debilitating physical and emotional effects during withdrawal, and the care provided by an inpatient treatment center can help clients handle these discomforts.

Many addiction treatment plans begin with the process of detoxification. While detox plays a valuable role in addiction treatment, it cannot stand alone; it must be followed by rehabilitation to successfully combat addiction. Some evidence-based approaches can be used by a rehabilitation facility in the treatment of drug or alcohol addiction. A few common elements of treatment are cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and psychodrama:

This form of treatment helps clients change the thought patterns that lead to destructive behavior. Clients learn to identify the particular situations that might lead them to drink or use drugs, and they develop a plan to cope with these triggers.

This therapeutic approach is designed to help clients resolve ambivalence about quitting drugs and starting treatment. Therapists help clients set goals, and they guide the clients toward the achievement of those goals. Although therapists play a supportive role in the process, the desire to change must come from within the client.

This technique employs role-playing and other forms of dramatization to help clients explore conflicts and emotional issues. By acting out real-life situations, clients understand them better and can evaluate the impact of their behavior in these situations.

Addiction is a challenging disease, but it is treatable. It’s never too early to get treatment, and you can help your friend or family member make the life-changing decision to break free of their addiction.

Signs of Drug Addiction

Recognizing drug addiction isn’t always easy, especially if a loved one is adept at hiding their condition. While physical symptoms such as tremors, confusion or reduced motor skills can be easy to spot, such behaviors don’t always explicitly suggest drug abuse or drug addiction. What families should remember, however, is that changes in behavior are still worth noting. Moreover, when multiple behavioral signs are present, families should, indeed, suspect a problem that needs addressing.

What are the signs of drug or alcohol addiction?

If you are worried that your loved one is battling a reliance on alcohol or a substance abuse problem, the following are typical behavioral signs associated with drug addiction:

Poor Performance

If your loved one is exhibiting uncharacteristic reduced performance at work or school, coupled with one or two other behavioral issues, it should be taken as a red flag indicating a problem.

Increased Secrecy

While most of us feel protective of our privacy, increasingly secretive behavior could be cause for concern. If someone you love is being secretive to you in a way that is unusual for your relationship, you may feel the need to get to the bottom of the issue.

Financial Issues

If you notice money missing or your loved one needs money on a regular basis for unexplained reasons that don’t ring true to you, you might suspect a problem. Financial problems often accompany drug use and addiction.

Change in Habits

It could be a cause for concern if a person no longer participates in hobbies or pastimes they formerly enjoyed. An adverse change in their grooming habits on a regular basis could also be a sign that something is amiss.

Missing Medications

If you find that prescription pills go missing on a regular basis, an addicted loved one could be taking them, mainly if they are painkillers, stimulants or central nervous system drugs, like Ambien, Xanax or Valium.


Loved ones can behave uncharacteristically when abusing drugs. Chronic lying is a warning sign that something untoward is going on. If you repeatedly catch your loved one in lies, you need to track down the truth for your good as well as theirs.

Angry Episodes/Temper Tantrums

An addict who cannot obtain their substance of abuse may become irate. Addicted teens might exhibit temper tantrums that are out of character for them. These behaviors could be indications of a drug problem.

Possession of Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia

“I’m just holding onto this for a friend.” Many addicts will say anything except the truth even when caught red-handed with drugs or drug paraphernalia. While it can be tempting to believe something we wholeheartedly want to believe, you should never accept this statement as true without a drug test to back it up, especially if the suspected drug user is a minor.

The Wrong Friends

If your loved one has formed new friendships with known drug users, you should suspect a problem, especially if they are neglecting former friends who do not use drugs.

Understandably, many families find it difficult to believe their loved one has become addicted to drugs. It’s important to remember that addiction happens to good people. Suspecting a drug addiction based on signs like these is not insulting them; it’s protecting them. If you suspect your loved one has a drug problem, consider staging an intervention and encourage them to seek treatment right away.

Finding Drug Treatment

Adjustments Family Services utilizes a variety of treatment programs that allow each client to receive the individualized care they deserve. The Southern California rehab center offers a variety of outpatient drug treatment programs to help drug addicts and alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety.