Healthy Beginnings

Addiction: Recognizing the Need for Help

Nevada ranks number one in the country in per capita incidences of alcoholism. Upon hearing this, many people ask themselves “how can I tell if someone in my life is an alcoholic, or has a substance abuse problem?” Many of the signs, listed below, apply to all types of addiction such as sexual addictions, gambling and food. However, most of this content specifically addresses alcohol and substance abuse.

The first step in recognizing addiction is acknowledging it. Many people find it hard to admit that a family member, friend or colleague has a problem. Acknowledgement of addiction can trigger a feeling of responsibility to provide help to the family member friend or colleague. This can be uncomfortable, because the addict may not be ready to accept their addiction and may be resistant to help.

Key behavioral signs to watch for are:

1. Changes in behavior such as irritability, indifference or apathy

2. Avoidance of social contact

3. Sudden deterioration in finances

4. Phone calls at odd hours

5. Change in friends

6. Deterioration in job performance

7. Changes in eating habits

8. Changes in energy level

Key physical indicators are found in signs of higher tolerance or withdrawal symptoms. The person may be indulging for a longer period than intended; they may have an inability to refrain from use. Alcoholism is a disease. Keep in mind that the addict is suffering; empathy and caring are the appropriate response, not judgment.

If the signs and indicators of alcoholism or substance abuse seem to apply to you or someone close to you, there are many forms of help available. Care includes inpatient and outpatient treatment. Some people prefer the group process, and groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous have been very successful. For people who prefer a one-on-one style of treatment, individual psychotherapy is always available as a way to receive help.


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For more info, contact Sierra Behavioral Solutions at (775) 348-8961.