All Treatment discusses the warning signs of an addiction with Bruce Suardini, CEO of Prairie Center Health Systems in Illinois.
AT: What are the warning signs of an addiction?
Bruce Suardini: To me, it would be increased tolerance in drinking, stress factors such as mood swings, anxiousness, depression, aggressiveness, and argumentative tendencies. Then there are several other things related to work, such as productivity, absences, and disciplinary problems.
AT: How should family and friends act around someone that may have an addiction?
BS: They should seek outside help. They should not try to do something on their own. They should get a hold of someone that's involved with Al-Anon, AA, or NA. Then they should do their research and find some material on addiction and even go to websites that can help them look up information about someone that has a problem.
Most importantly, do not confront them without doing your homework first. Do not pick a battle with them. Make sure you know all of the unknowns before you confront them.
Make sure you know all of the unknowns before you confront them.
AT: When is an intervention necessary?
BS: When all else has failed. When you can't get the person to go in for an assessment, you've tried other means, you've exhausted your resources or at a point where someone is in relapse and needs an additional level of care and you see the primary warning signs that the addiction could be fatal -- then you bring in professionals.
AT: Should children be involved during this time?
BS: Oh absolutely, I think especially if you're doing an intervention. In my experience, when information comes from the kids, it becomes the most powerful. The thought of losing a loved one or a parent, when heard from a child, is the best message.
AT: How can a family prepare for a parent or spouse's stay at a rehab center?
BS: One thing they can do is call a resource center that has an outreach worker. They can take them through the steps of rehab, they can probably setup a visit of the rehab center and actually walk through the building to see what it's like. It's a really good idea for a parent or spouse to see where their loved one will be staying and get a feel for what is it before someone goes in.
AT: What if the addict refuses treatment?
BS: Don't give up. Always keep trying with them. Remember, when going at it for the first time to expect a lot of resistance and you can expect the person to say "no". You just have to keep at it. I wouldn't push at it real hard, but I would bring other people into the effort to try and give the person a different persepctive. You can also give them materials that you have found, so they can find their own way, or find someone who has gone through treatment to talk to them.
AT: Are there different warning signs for addicts that have relapsed?
BS: Yes, the biggest one is the high stress factor. For anyone that has gone through treatment before you'll find them going back to old friends, going back to old hang outs, and not following through with their after care plan. They start to skip AA meetings or make excuses for why they can't go. They start to isolate themselves and you'll start to see some of the old routine behaviors creeping back into the family setting -- they're all warning signals.
All Treatment does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.