There is no denying it – living with a person who has a substance use disorder is challenging. In 2018, over 67,300 people overdosed on drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA. Substance abuse is an issue no one should have to go through alone. Our intimate relationships are supposed to be our places to go for refuge, seeking shelter from danger. But when one is in a relationship with someone who has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, such relationships can become estranged, mingled with emotional stress and even sometimes abuse.
If you fall into the category of having a spouse addicted to drugs or alcohol, chances are you have looked up “What to do if your spouse is an addict” on more than one occasion. Feeling scared and overwhelmed is completely normal. But one thing you can do to properly assist them as they recover is to learn how you can help your loved one.
What are the Signs Your Spouse is Abusing Drugs?
If you are not certain whether your loved one is abusing drugs and wonder “what to do if your spouse is an addict,” you should first learn to identify the signs of drug addiction. There are many indications of drug abuse and addiction in a loved one, including the following.
One of the most noticeable signs of a drug addiction, or substance use disorder, is the associated physical changes.
When a person battles drug addiction, they often spend the majority of their time pursuing and using a substance. They may begin to neglect hygiene habits or sleep. Exercise routines and eating may be left to the wayside as well.
This neglect may be made visible in changes to overall appearance and weight. Some people may simply look less put together than usual, while others may exhibit significant weight loss (or gain in some instances). Drug and alcohol abuse is linked with malnutrition, which may be shown by changes in the condition of one’s nails, hair, and skin. Skin color can also change in people battling drug abuse, including sores on the body and face. Dental problems and dilated pupils are other symptoms to watch for.
Substance abuse also affects a person’s behavior – significantly depending on the type of substance abused and the individual. Possible changes in behavior may include:
- A sudden negative outlook on life
- Losing interest in things once important
- Mood swings that are uncharacteristic and often severe
- Loss of energy
- Losing interest in everyday activities
Behavioral changes in spouses battling addiction can also be indicative of co-occurring mental health disorders (or mental health disorders that are present with drug addiction). In severe cases, conditions can lead to suicidal thoughts, paranoia, hallucinations, or violence. If you notice anything that makes you think your spouse is battling any of these issues, it is essential that you seek immediate medical support to prevent your spouse from harming themselves or others.
What to Do if your Spouse is an Addict?
Drug addiction affects more than just the person using drugs. It damages relationships. It can leave you feeling hopeless, tired, and frustrated. But there is hope.
Available options for drug addiction include:
- Inpatient treatment allows patients to live in the care of the staff at one of our treatment facilities. This offers 24-hour access to medical staff and professional psychiatrists and therapists. This is best for those with severe cases of addiction.
- Outpatient treatment enables patients to recover with minimal disruption to their daily lives. They can still stay at home and attend treatment on a weekly basis. Some patients are still able to function fully at work while attending meetings in the evenings.
- Detox treatment is important for those who need to wean off of drugs. Detoxification helps patients to wean in a comfortable way as coming off of drugs is not an easy task. It is not only difficult mentally for patients but also physically, so medically-assisted detox is often needed for the highest level of comfort and safety.
How to Get Your Spouse Into Drug Rehab
If you are concerned about your spouse’s substance abuse habits, it is better to address your concerns before it is too late. The first step is to sit down and talk with them patiently and understandingly. Be as sensitive as possible. If your spouse becomes hostile or angry, it is best to pause the conversation until a later time. It is recommended that you do not use ultimatums as they rarely help and often make matters worse. Remain as calm and reasonable as possible. Remember that in order for an addiction treatment program in Los Angeles to be successful, it is important that your spouse make the decision to attend. If you have trouble or reach a mode of conflict, or if an intervention is necessary, we are here to help.
At Refine Recovery, a luxury Beverly Hills rehab, we understand how important it is for you to find the best care for your spouse – but also for you. Our goal is to ensure that each patient is treated with the highest level of care, making sure that their needs are fully and safely met, catering to their unique needs as well as the needs of their loved ones.