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Married into Addiction | How to Identify and Confront Your Partner
Addiction is a nasty disease that affects everyone near and dear to the afflicted. The ones who love the addict the most are the ones who suffer without pause and also the ones who fight the hardest for healing. If you are in this situation with a spouse or partner, read on for tips on how to identify drug addiction and when to seek help.
Know the signs
Not all addicts present the same signs or symptoms. However, there are a few almost universal things to look for. These include:
● Change in behavior, especially when sudden
● Mood swings; angry and agitated and then suddenly happy and carefree
● Withdrawal from friends and family
● Lackadaisical hygiene
● Unexplainable loss of interest in hobbies or sports
● Altered sleeping pattern
● Glassy or red, irritated eyes
● Constant runny nose
An individual with a meta-morphine addiction may remain awake for days at a time and present with extreme weight loss, become talkative at inappropriate times, and seemed paranoid or anxious. Addiction can cause a complete loss of appetite along with feelings of grandeur. Physical symptoms include sweating, shaking, blurred vision, and dizziness.
Like meth addiction, cocaine codependency often goes hand-in-hand with sleeplessness and waning appetite. Decreased sex drive, hallucinations, short temperedness, and scratching at the skin are also common
The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes inhalants as substances introduced into the body through the respiratory system. These include aerosol sprays and gases. Inhalant use can cause temporary euphoria and dizziness followed by subsequent headaches and fainting spells. The long-term consequences of inhalant use include emotional instability, tremors, loss of smell and, with continued use, brain atrophy.
Heroin affects new users differently than long-term abusers. In the early stages, heroin can offer the user a sense of euphoria and he or she may drift off into a daydream-like state for long periods of time. With prolonged use, the body may react to heroin like a stimulant, allowing the user to perform normal everyday tasks without detection.
The above is not a comprehensive list of drugs and/or related side effects. For more information about drugs and addiction visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online.
Taking a stand
Watching a loved one, especially your life partner, effectively ruin themselves because of drugs and alcohol is devastating and disheartening. It is never too early to confront an individual about his or her drug use. Remember, the longer they are addicted, the less they are likely to realize they have a problem. When you’re ready to confront your spouse, be prepared. First, you must be 100% certain they are sober. You cannot get through to a person in the middle of a drug binge. Let them know exactly what about their behavior is causing issues for you and your family. Know ahead of time what you’re going to say and have a script outlined in your head.
Discussing substance abuse with an addict is uncomfortable for all parties so tread lightly and find an appropriate time to open up the conversation. Watch your vocal inflections and leave judgment at the door. Be careful not to form an accusatory tone, and let your loved one know you are simply there to help. Once the addict is actively participating in the conversation, make sure they understand that there will be consequences if they don’t seek help.
Being married to an addict and confronting their behavior is more difficult when children or infidelity are involved. Don’t initiate a conversation while the children are at home, as the addict may become unpredictable. If he or she has found comfort in the arms of another, now is not the time to work through that issue. Once they have begun the addiction healing process, you can confront these indiscretions and resolve them together with a clear head. According to affair recovery specialists Anne and Brian Bercht, you must be direct and clear in your questioning in the same way you confronted them about their addictive behaviors.
While being married to an addict is certainly not easy, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship. The important thing is that everybody is safe. Know that it is possible to help them and yourself, even if things seem too tough to overcome sometimes.