Addiction is very complex and affects the operation of both the brain and the body. Some believe it’s a disease of the brain, others believe it’s a choice. Regardless of a person’s stance on the topic, one thing holds true, Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can cause significant damage to families and relationships. As a family member or loved one, you may feel helpless. Many who are suffering from active addiction lose control, continue to use even when they suffer consequences of their use, and/or strong urges to continue using even when feel they want to stop. It can cause someone we trust to lie, cheat and steal because the urge is so powerful.

People don’t just wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll become addicted to drugs today”. Addiction doesn’t make someone a terrible person. Someone suffering from addiction may start using initially because of peer pressure, curiosity, or attempting to escape from emotions. Regardless, many keep using because they like the way it makes them feel. At first it seems as though it’s easily controlled but then within the blink of an eye it’s used just to feel “normal”. Drugs change our brain and those changes can last a very long time. Those changes can be seen in a person’s mood, memory and decision making.

What are the common symptoms of addiction:

  • Taking a substance in larger amounts over a longer period than intended
  • Unsuccessful efforts to discontinue or control use
  • Spending a significant amount of time trying to obtain the substance
  • Craving or strong desire to use
  • Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home
  • Continued use despite recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or made worse by use
  • Discontinuing important social, occupational or recreational activities due to use
  • Recurrent use of a substance in physical hazardous conditions
  • Continue use despite knowing of a physical or psychological made worse by continuing to use
  • Tolerance (the need to increase the amount of a substance over time to achieve the desire effect).
  • Withdrawal

If your addiction has become unmanageable or you’ve started to slip back into a pattern of use and you need support, please reach out and get the help that is available to you.

If you are struggling to cope with a loved one who is struggling with addiction, there is also help for you too. You can find peace and begin to have healthy and satisfying relationships with your loved one, others and yourself again.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed).
“The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”
– Unknown