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What if My Loved One Has a Substance Use Disorder?

What if My Loved One Has a Substance use Disorder?
Addiction Recovery Strategies

Watching a loved one develop a substance use disorder is difficult.

We love our families very much, so it hurts us when they are hurting. Before taking action to help a loved one, it is important to educate yourself about the signs of substance use. Understanding the signs will help you understand the next steps you need to take to formulate a plan of action.

Signs of Substance Abuse

There are physical signs that your loved ones will display when they become dependent upon substances. Such signs of substance abuse include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Poor hygiene


Your loved one may also experience insomnia. Signs of insomnia include:

  • Sleeping at odd hours
  • Sleeping too long, too little, or not at all
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor work performance

Insomnia can be especially dangerous for someone using substances because they might rely on substances to help them sleep or keep them awake during the workday.

Maintain Secrecy

You may also find your loved one is withdrawn or avoiding you. They may even come in and out at different times of the day and become defensive when asked about it. When this is not their typical behavior, it may be distressing. Understanding why they might be secretive before confronting or accusing them of anything is better.

Common things they might become secretive about include:

  • Where they have been
  • Who they are spending time with
  • Items around the house go missing

Substance abuse can also drain a bank account quickly because it is an expensive habit. Therefore, you may find they ask for money because they do not have any.

The Next Steps

When you have suspicions that your loved one is abusing a substance, it is helpful to create a judgment-free zone. We understand this can be difficult because you may not understand why they are addicted. We know you want what is best for your loved ones, so talking to them without condemning them is very important. 

Research has shown that if families help their loved ones with treatment, the treatment will be more effective. Addiction is a disease; therefore, your loved one needs compassion, and they need to know they are not alone. Through this, the family may become stronger and overcome any adversity.

Start the Conversation

One of the hardest things is to start the conversation with your loved one. We understand that you may want to take action, seek a facility, and get them help as quickly as possible. However, this will only add stress and could lead to confrontation.

Instead, find a comfortable place for you and them to talk. Then address what you are seeing and ask how they feel. Actively listen to what they are saying to understand where they are coming from. When you listen, you will find your loved one is more open to communicating. Remember to be tolerant with them and offer to help when they are ready to accept. They are looking for your willingness to help, and when they are ready, they will seek your assistance.

Professional Guidance

If you are still having trouble broaching the subject, you should seek professional advice. A professional can guide you through the process. They can even be present to help moderate the conversation to keep things constructive rather than confrontational.

Group Therapy

One of the great treatments at Vanity Wellness is group therapy. Group therapy is important because your loved ones will know they are not alone. They will be able to get together with those who are managing sobriety. The group is run by a licensed professional who can guide them through their temptations and negative thoughts and encourage them to keep going.

Openly Communicate

Your loved ones will be able to communicate their desires, struggles, and hope with people who understand and can empathize. Your loved one will also develop the foundations needed to build healthy relationships.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient services are crucial in aiding those struggling with a SUD. Outpatient treatment will allow your loved one to go to and from a treatment facility. The schedule allows them to maintain other daily responsibilities and set their schedule. For example, they can come in a couple of days a week, several days a week, or every day.

Finding the Best Plan for Treatment

When you meet with staff at Vanity Wellness, we will provide a plan that bests suits your loved one. We want what is best for your loved one. We strive to establish your loved one as part of our community long after treatment is over. Therefore, your loved one will always have something within the community to become involved in, whether it is additional group meetings, volunteer work, or various art or exercise classes.

We have a passion for helping you overcome addiction

At Vanity Wellness, we have a passion for helping people overcome addiction. It is a hard battle, especially as a family member. You feel you need to do something, yet it is not your life. You love them and want what is best for them, so you begin to seek places like ours. We are thrilled that you are seeking us for counsel and that you are trusting us with your loved one’s care. There is no greater joy than watching your loved one succeed in this journey. There are many plans to choose from when you choose our facility because we try to tailor a program to each individual’s needs. Your loved one will not be left alone on this journey. Our staff is invested in the well-being and success of your loved one’s recovery. To learn more, please call us at (866) 587-1737

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