Does Your loved one really have a problem?

When looking for help with an addiction intervention, it's natural to second guess yourself, especially with something as complex as addiction. You might think, maybe my loved one's problem isn’t as bad as I am making it out to be. The best defense against not being sure is consulting with the professionals and taking a look at the criteria that meets a diagnosis of addiction. This can not only help you find out if your loved one is truly suffering from addiction, but it can also help you gauge the severity.  Mental health professionals have been studying addiction for decades because it's a problem that has affected humanity for hundreds of years. Let's take a look at the 11 criteria of addiction according the DSM-5, the severity ranges, and what to do next.

Addiction Criteria

11 Signs and Symptoms 

  1. Your loved one is putting themselves in danger:  Driving while intoxicated, overdosing, become unresponsive, or engaging in other dangerous behavior due to drug use.
  2. Your loved one is having social and relationship problems: Their use is causing and continues to cause major problems and conflicts in their relationships.
  3. Your loved one is neglecting their duties and roles in life: They are neglecting their children, marriage, school, work, or relationships.
  4.  Your loved one has built up a tolerance: If your loved one is need to drink or use more to achieve the same effects, it's a sign of bodily tolerance.
  5. Your loved one withdrawals: Your loved one goes into withdrawal when they do not have alcohol or drugs.
  6. Your loved one cannot stop on their own: They have tried to stop many times and are not able to.
  7. Your loved one is using more for longer periods of time: Their drinking or using has gone from sporadic to occassional to frequent or every day use.
  8. Your loved one's life is consumed with using or drinking: They spend their time using more than anything else they do.
  9. Your loved one is experiencing physical or psychological issues related to use: They are sustaining damage to their body or mind by using or drinking.
  10. Your loved one isn't doing the things they love anymore: They no longer participate in hobbies or activities that were once important to them.
  11. Your loved one experiences cravings: They experience intense and persistent desire to use or drink.

Addiction Severity is Based on The Criteria 

There are three types of addiction severity. Mild, moderate, and severe. Mild substance abuse disorders include meeting 2 or 3 of the DSM-5 criteria. A moderate substance use disorder would be diagnosed if your loved one meets 4 to 5. If your loved one meets 6 or more of these addiction criteria, this is an indication of a severe substance use disorder. It's always important to realize that even if your loved one seems to be in the mild or moderate spectrum, addiction is a progressive disease. This means that as time goes on, more often than not, addiction will get worse. You should not wait until your loved one is meeting a high number of the criteria to seek intervention help.

We can help you ensure a successful intervention for a loved one

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An addict's main objective

Understanding the addiction criteria and applying it to your loved one can help shine a light on issues of denial. A person who is going through an active drug addiction has one objective and that’s to protect their addiction. They may not even realize that they are doing this. Here’s an example: your loved one has wrecked their car because they were driving under the influence. Instead of owning up to the fact that they may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, they may blame the other driver. When they do this, it helps them take a step back from their own responsibility. It helps them deny that they have an addiction in the first place. If your loved one has suffered serious consequences as a result of their addiction yet still use, they must be rationalizing and justifying away their addiction to continue. This is all denial of the problem.

Denial keeps an addiction going. This is where this substance use disorder criteria can be helpful. Your loved one either checks the box, or they don’t. But now at least you see how they are gauged by the professionals so that you can make your best assessment of the situation. You can confirm your suspicions that your loved one really does have a problem that needs addressing.

Getting Help: The Next Step

Taking the next step to get your loved one help can be difficult. You may feel that an addiction intervention just won’t work. In this case, you assume that the intervention will be a waste of time. It’s important to know that 9 out 10 addiction interventions are successful. The reason why they are successful is because they are thoroughly planned by professionals from beginning to end. The best advice we can give you is give us a call. We look forward to helping your loved one recover from their addiction, heal from their past, and start working their way towards a promising future.

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