Helping Your Addict

Do you have an addict in your life, family, or relationships?

Let me tell you how you can know you have one in your life. I call it Three C’s of addiction diagnosis. One, “lack of CONTROL over use.” Two, “COMPULSIVE use.” And three, “CONTINUED use despite knowledge of adverse consequences.”

An addict is unable to control use of his drug-of-choice (e.g. chemical, person, activity). There is repetitive use of the drug-of-choice to the exclusion of other essential life activities such as work, self care, or maintaining relationships. Anyone who continues to use an addictive agent that he or she knows to be harmful or life-damaging is an addict.

You may watch out for these signs or symptoms below to know if you have an addict in your life.

* Physical Signs (general appearance compared to usual appearance)
Examples:
— sudden weight loss
— decreased interest in personal hygiene
— soiled clothing
— sleeplessness
— unsteady gait

* Mental Signs
Examples:
— persistent sadness or depression
— mood instability
— hallucinations
— delusions

* Behavioral Signs
Examples:
— decreased or poor performance in school or work
— Ill-defined problems in relationships
— health problems
— tired much of the time
— irritability

Now, as a loved one, friend, or family member, it’s important to be vigilant. Trust your instincts. If something seems to be “not right” or out of order, don’t be afraid to seek help and ask everyone who can provide you understanding. Expressed in a loving manner, asking directly “your addict” may start him or her thinking seriously about his or her actions as well as about the need for treatment.

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