How to Deal With a Substance Abusing Family Member

It is a well-known fact that substance abuse has many negative implications on the life of an individual. It not only destroys the individual, but also creates havoc in the family of the abuser. Anybody in a family can get into this harmful habit. It can be a son, daughter, parent or spouse. Dealing with a substance abusing family member is a very sensitive issue. Even a minor mistake can destroy the relationships as well as the individual.

In this article, we will learn about some of the major concerns for a family if any of its members gets involved in substance abuse. We will also learn how to identify the substance abusing individual and help him/her come out of the clutches of this destructive habit.

Reasons for concern
Families with a substance abusing member will have increased prevalence of illness, domestic violence, deteriorated relationships, problems with social adjustment, family unity, stress, and behavioral problems. Other major concerns for a family include:

Health of the abuser: First and the foremost concern for every family would be the health of the substance abusing individual. It results in disastrous effects on the body and mind of the abuser. Nobody wants to see their loved ones getting destroyed due to this habit.

Legal issues: Legal issues are commonly associated with substance abuse. While under the influence or in the process of securing drugs, the individual may get into various kinds of accidents, thefts, frauds and many other illegal incidents.

Financial issues: Drug addiction will lead to uncontrollable desire of having the drug repeatedly. Due to repeated buying of drugs, the abuser will run short of money. The individual will run into debts and therefore will steal money from family and friends. Family may also be forced to deal with the possible legal and medical costs of the abuser.

Social respect: Social respect is yet another concern for the family members. Substance abusers anyhow will lose respect in the society. But, along with them, the family’s respect in the society will also diminish.

Observe signs and symptoms of substance abuse
Combination of the above mentioned problems can have significant negative impact on the family of the abuser. So, it is always better for you to look for signs and symptoms of substance abuse in the suspicious individual. You can observe many physical and behavioral warning signs in a substance abusing person.

Physical warning signs include:
• Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are larger or smaller than usual
• Deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming
• Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
• Unusual smells from breath, body or clothing
• Sudden weight loss or weight gain
• Slurred speech
• Impaired coordination

Behavioral warning signs include:
• Drop in performance and attendance at school or work
• Sudden change in friends and hangouts
• Unexplained need for money – may borrow or steal money
• Frequently get into troubles including fights, accidents, etc.

Confirm the usage
Once you observe these signs or symptoms, immediately go for drug testing to confirm substance abuse. It will be easy for you to help the individual come out of this harmful habit if you detect the drug abuse in early stages. Various easy-to-use drug testing kits are available in the market today. You can use them comfortably at your home. Remember, FDA approved test kits give accurate and quick results.

Try to support the individual
If the individual tests positive for substance abuse, the most important thing you need to do is to provide him ample support in the process of quitting the habit. Drug abusers will have uncontrollable desire to abuse drugs. Only family’s support can make their mind stay away from drug abuse. The whole family should support the individual during the recovery process.

Work with him/her to find a solution
As a family member, you should discuss about the harmful effects of substance abuse and figure out a solution to help the individual get rid of the habit. Discuss about the advantages and disadvantages of different ways of coping with the habit and help him/her in finding the best way to avoid the harmful habit. Generally, drug abusers struggle during the recovery process. But when external support and guidance is provided, they feel confident and will overcome the habit easily.

Family’s support is not negotiable when it comes to dealing with a substance abuser. It is the responsibility of every member of the family to identify and help the substance abusing individual.