Do you suspect that someone you love has a substance abuse problem? How can you tell and what steps should you take? This situation can be one that is very complex. You love your friend or relative and want what is best for them, but approaching possible drinking or drug use may raise the concern that you will make the person mad or endanger the relationship that you have. The only way to positively identify substance abuse is with a positive drug screen. You can not force an adult loved one to submit to a drug or alcohol test if they refuse, and this could lead to an enormous argument that does not resolve anything.
Possible signs of substance abuse or addiction:
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Being secretive about their activity
- Constant financial problems, because drugs and alcohol can be an expensive habit to support
- Criminal behaviors like theft or home invasion
- Legal problems that are related to drug or alcohol use, such as possession or DUI charges
- Problems at school or work
- Neglecting their appearance or other aspects of their life
If you are concerned that someone you love has a substance abuse problem then the first step should be to talk to a professional. This will help you understand the best approach to use and which steps to take. An intervention may be very beneficial, even if the loved one will not admit a substance abuse problem or agree to get help initially. An intervention may make the individual realize how their drug or alcohol use affects others, and this may be the eye opener that is needed.