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Is a someone else struggling with addiction?

If you think that a friend or family member is struggling with addictive behaviour or substance abuse, you usually can't ask an organisation or agency to intervene. Your best course of action is to try to persuade the affected person to ask for help. You can offer to help by:

  • just listening

  • offering transport to recovery sessions

  • arranging a safe and private place for meetings or online sessions

  • providing distracting activities that are enjoyable but healthy

  • offering financial support by paying for recovery coaching

But before you consider intervening, you should be sure that your thoughts about this person aren't unfounded. Relationships can be damaged if assumptions are incorrect and your friend, colleague or family member perhaps is living with other issues.

In order to help, here are some common signs of additive behaviour:

  • Loss of Control: Difficulty in controlling the amount or frequency of substance use or engagement in a behaviour, often resulting in using more than intended.

  • Cravings: Strong urges or desires to use the substance or engage in the behaviour, which can be intense and difficult to ignore.

  • Tolerance: Needing increasingly larger amounts of the substance or engaging in the behaviour more frequently to achieve the desired effect, as the body and mind becomes accustomed to it.

  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing physical or emotional symptoms when not using the substance or engaging in the behaviour, which can include irritability, anxiety, nausea, and other discomforts.

  • Neglect of Responsibilities: Prioritising substance use or addictive behaviour over important obligations at work, school, or home, leading to neglect of responsibilities.

  • Interference with Daily Life: Substance use or addictive behaviour begins to disrupt normal daily activities, relationships, and routines.

  • Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: Continuing to use the substance or engage in the behaviour even when aware of the negative impact on health, relationships, finances, or other aspects of life.

  • Isolation and Secrecy: Withdrawing from social activities, hobbies, or previously enjoyed interests in favour of engaging in the addictive behaviour or using substances, often accompanied by hiding these activities.

  • Loss of Interest: Diminished interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable and fulfilling, as the addiction takes precedence.

  • Escalating Usage: Gradually increasing the amount or frequency of substance use or engagement in the addictive behaviour over time.

  • Failed Attempts to Quit or Cut Down: Repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit, cut down, or control substance use or addictive behaviour.

  • Preoccupation with Addiction: Spending a significant amount of time thinking about obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of the substance or addictive behaviour.

  • Financial Issues: Experiencing financial difficulties due to spending excessive money on substances or the addictive behaviour such as gambling, often at the expense of basic needs.

  • Mood Swings: Fluctuations in mood, often marked by irritability, agitation, or depression, which may be related to withdrawal or the cycle of addiction.

  • Physical Health Decline: Deterioration of physical health because of the substance or behaviour, which may manifest as weight loss, poor hygiene, or other health issues.

If you would are sure that the person you are concerned about is displaying these signs and would like help in addressing the issue, please get in touch by calling the CHANGE line or completing the form you can find HERE.

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