Does My Loved One Have an Addiction?

It’s challenging to help a loved one with addiction. Especially if you aren’t really sure what’s going on. . . Maybe over time the suspicions began to add up. Until you realized one day that there is something bigger happening in your loved one’s life. Or maybe one day it hit you like a brick wall, leaving you with not a doubt in your mind that he or she needs help, help beyond what you can provide.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) nearly 50 million people in the U.S., and their families, are affected by the disease of addiction. This includes drug and alcohol addiction, as well as behavioral addictions such as eating, gambling, gaming, sex, spending, shopping, and work. As a result of the widespread impact of addiction, at i360 we often work with family members who wonder, “Does my husband, son, daughter, or mother have an addiction?” Although a professional should evaluate someone struggling with possible addiction before a diagnosis is made, the following are ten basic criteria for addiction:

Preoccupation – obsessive thoughts or fantasizing about a specific substance or behavior.

Loss of control – using substances or engaging in behavior more than originally intended.

Compulsivity – a pattern or theme of acting out over an extended period of time.

Efforts to stop – a history of attempts to stop behavior that fail.

Withdrawal – stopping use or behavior causes physical symptoms, distress, anxiety, restlessness, or irritably.

Escalation – The substance is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended, or there is a need to make the behavior more intense, frequent, or risky.

Loss of time – a large amount of time lost using substances or engaging in behavior and recovering from the effects.

Inability to fulfill obligations – substance use or behavior interferes with work, school, and relationships.

Losses – experiencing legal, relational, financial, physical and/or work consequences.

Continuation despite consequences – failure to stop the substance use or behavior even though you are experiencing legal, relational, financial, physical, and/or occupational problems.

If you or a family member can identify with the following criteria, we are here to help. At i360 we help individuals and families through the recovery process. This is done through a unique blend of individual, group, and family therapy in the office, and walking with clients in their real world environment to apply their insights as they build a new, healthy, satisfying life. This is what we call life development, and this happens outside of the traditional office setting. In collaboration with all the professionals working with an individual, it’s a very effective and unique approach to treatment. No matter what your situation is, talk to someone, sit down with someone, and figure out that you can have a very different future.

Written by Mitchell Isle, LPC