Family Help Tips for Spotting New Years Drug Abuse and Alcoholism
With the holiday season upon us, many families are looking forward to New Year’s Eve. They are not, however, looking forward to it with the same sense of excitement and anticipation that most of us are feeling. Instead, they are worried about what will happen. They are concerned about one of their own — a spouse, a sibling or a child — who has a substance abuse problem. Maybe this family member drinks too much, or perhaps he or she has a drug problem. It might be something that the family member is still trying to keep a secret, or maybe it is out in the open. Whatever the situation, it is grounds for concern. New Year’s Eve is among the deadliest holidays on the calendar in terms of fatal drunk driving accidents. Even if the family member with a substance abuse problem does not get hurt, there is the possibility that he or she will end up in trouble after an arrest for drinking and driving or for some type of drug-related offense. Fortunately, there are signs that you can watch for that may indicate that your loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, and Narconon offers these tips for spotting substance abuse over the upcoming New Year’s celebrations:
- • Your family member is suddenly acting differently. If you notice that this person all of a sudden doesn’t seem to be himself or herself, it may be because he or she has gotten drunk or high.
- • Mood swings are often a sign of substance abuse. For example, someone who is acting depressed or irritable may suddenly seem elated or euphoric after taking a hit, whereas a person who has been drunk or high might inexplicably seem exhausted, cranky or down in the dumps.
- • The holidays are supposed to be a time when families come together to celebrate, but you might find that your loved one is becoming withdrawn, secretive or estranged. Excuses may be offered for this behavior, but it might be the case that your family member is acting withdrawn because he or she is trying to hide the fact of a drinking or drug problem.
- • Has your family member “let himself/herself go”? Does the person seem shabby, dirty or otherwise seem to have dropped the ball on personal grooming habits? People who drink or use drugs regularly often do neglect to take care of themselves, whether through carelessness or a lack of self esteem.
- • If your loved one seems to have lost all interest in the things that used to occupy their time, such as hobbies, sports or other activities, you might have reason to suspect that he or she has taken up a drug or alcohol habit. Substance abuse and addiction are things that have a tendency to dominate a person’s life and eat up all of their attention.
- • Does your family member seem to spend more and more time up at night and to sleep more and more during the day? Is he or she sluggish when awake, and to have more difficulty than usual in getting up? People who engage in substance abuse often change their sleeping patterns in part because of the fact that drinking and drug use are more common during the nighttime hours, in addition to the fact that substance abuse takes a toll on the body, necessitating more rest and sapping the person’s energy.
- • There may be many reasons why a person might have red eyes or glassy eyes, but if you notice this along with some or all of the other signs included on this list, you may have reason to suspect that your family member’s unhealthy looking eyes are an indication of substance abuse.
- • Maybe it’s allergies? Perhaps it’s a lingering cold or sinus infection? If your loved one seems to always have a stuffy or runny nose, however, there could be another reason. Substance abuse weakens the immune system, making a person more susceptible to infection. Further, some types of drugs, such as cocaine, are commonly used by snorting through the nose, meaning that they tend to irritate the tissues and membranes in that area. Chronic runny or stuffy nose could be a sign of drug or alcohol abuse.
Many drugs have their own specific signs of abuse. For example, pot smokers often engage in compulsive eating — referred to popularly as “the munchies” — while heroin junkies often can be found “nodding,” spending time in a dreamlike state close to sleep, whereas meth addicts can typically be observed to go on binges when they are wired, spending days or even weeks at a stretch without sleep. There can be multiple reasons for these types of behavior, but many of them are characteristic of certain types of drug abuse. If you have noticed your loved one acting strangely, and suspect that substance abuse may be the reason, visit the rest of our site for a list of common signs of drug abuse grouped by type of drug.