Addiction is not a phenomenon that occurs overnight. It is secretive, elusive, and sometimes hard to pinpoint. As a family member, you have the benefit of having an intimate understanding of a family member’s mannerisms, way of thinking, and way of life. This will give you the ability to detect potential addiction and addictive slants.

There are a variety of signs that you can look for. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has a list that defines the telltale signs of a family member who are battling with drug addiction.

  • An unexplained shift in mood, motivation, and attitude.
  • Secretive behavior after meeting a new or acquaintance that you are not familiar with.
  • Sudden poor performance at school or at work, including absenteeism.
  • Sudden and drastic weight gain or weight loss.
  • Enlarged pupils at irregular times of the day.
  • Suddenly giving up on their favorite pastimes and hobbies.
  • Trembling hands and unexplained body odors.

One of the telltale signs is your loved one suddenly having angry outbursts and becoming more volatile. They aren’t as pleasant as they used to be, and it is very hard to be near them. They may also be inattentive and not follow through on promises or assignments at all. Anger and secrecy are the telltale signs of a person who is trying to hide their addiction.

If you expect addiction, there are several steps that you need to take. Start with ensuring that you educate yourself about addiction. There is a litany of online services, books, and podcasts that will allow you to become more educated on the subject of addiction.

It’s also important that you do not allow yourself to be abused. It’s all too common for family members to become subjected to violent outbursts. Emotional abuse is the norm given that irritability is common in those who are abusing drugs.

Drug Addiction Amongst First Responders

First responders include police officers, firemen, and EMTs. Individuals who work these professions experience much higher levels of stress and trauma in their daily work lives than the majority of the population. That level of sustained stress can potentially lead to a variety of mental health issues, including drug addiction and alcohol abuse. Sometimes these issues become intertwined with the work culture, with workers suffering in silence due to the “tough guy” persona that is sometimes projected onto first responders. This sort of culture makes affected individuals resistant to successful alcohol and drug treatment programs.

Benefits of Rehab Programs

Thankfully there are specialty rehab programs that are designed around the first responder and their work experience. These rehab programs are ideal for active or former law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, and paramedic professionals. The success associated with these programs is due to the focus of specialty group therapy, as well as your support groups formed of individuals who have worked directly as first responders. Individualized treatment focuses on work-related traumatic events, guilt pertaining to breaking public trust, anxieties about the workforce, fear of losing a job or pay, as well as the fear of disappointing their departments.

About First Responders First

First Responders First is located in the breathtaking mountains of the Angeles National Forest on 1100 acres of land. It’s an executive state-of-the-art substance and alcohol abuse treatment program that was designed for first responders. First Responders First realized that these individuals always go out of their way to ensure that everyone else is safe. This unique rehab center wants to pay it forward, with everything from architecture to programs to diet plans being highly tuned to the needs of individuals in this venerable profession.

First Responders First offers top-quality psychological, medical, emotional care, and addiction treatment. Upon arrival, you will be given a thorough medical examination and evaluation before you’re assigned an individualized treatment plan. Treatment is evidence-based and may include psychiatry, detoxification, medication management, psychodynamic, expressive art therapy, meditation, and group therapy. We have also partnered with Shadowland Foundation to offer wolf therapy — these are supervised classes where patients will be able to interact with a pack of hand-raised wolves. This type of therapy has proven to be effective at creating a productive, and introspective environment for individuals who are suffering in silence. To learn more, contact First Responders First.