When you watch someone you love suffer, it can sometimes be a soul-wrenching, heart-breaking experience. Sometimes, though, you aren’t sure what is causing the suffering. You may suspect that your loved one is hooked on prescription drugs, but it is sometimes difficult to know exactly if they are. It makes you nervous to make an accusation and some patients are adept at lying about their condition by fear of judgment by others. However, there is a way to figure out if your loved one’s medication use rises to the level of dependency or addiction. It is by examining the five “ifs.”
If they need to use more to establish the same feeling.
Needing more of a drug to achieve the same results is a normal consequence of some medications, and it is properly termed dependence. Addiction means that you continue using the drug despite negative consequences, and physical dependence means you need more of the drug to feel good. Although you can have physical dependence without being addicted, with long term opiate intake, the user could display both.
If they spend most of their time thinking of the drugs to the exclusion of other things.
Someone who abuses drugs are sometimes obsessed with their drug. They are usually thinking about it at all times, because of the fear of withdrawal. Instead of thinking about what to eat for dinner or what to buy at the grocery store, they are obsessed with getting their next fix, finding the money, and locating the drug. Most of the time, they priorities will not be family, health or any other topic that is not directly related to obtaining the drug.
If they rearrange their life to accommodate the addiction.
Your loved one may reject any thought, idea, or plan that may possibly get in the way of their drug intake. This can affect larger areas of their life, such as going to work or school, or it can affect smaller areas of their life, such as deciding when to leave the house or who to associate with. If your loved one will not do anything before contemplating whether it will affect their usage, it could be more serious than they are letting on.
If their usage creates problems in their life, but that doesn’t prompt them to stop using.
In many situations, drug intake progression will cause problems in the life of the patient. It sometimes destroys good relationships, depletes financial stores, and it could even creates problems with the law. They only care about the drug. If your loved one has repeated problems yet still decides to use, it could be a sign that more definitive care is needed.
If their behavior when using is out of character.
When someone you love uses drugs, it is often like dealing with a completely different person. The drug may make them uncharacteristically angry, sleepy, or withdrawn. It could negatively impact their lives, and causes indifference towards others feelings and well-being.
In addition, the usage of the drug makes the family of the drug user upset. They see the harm the usage is causing and often fight with the patient to help them change. Finally, blackouts could be a sign that the drug usage is out of control, and they can no longer regulate their dosage. In this case, you may need to intervene with your loved one to help them overcome their addiction.