The Ruin at Rock Bottom
You may have heard that a person needs to hit rock bottom before they can get help. While it’s true that, ultimately, the decision to change is up to the person themselves, waiting to see if the person will hit rock bottom and make a change by themselves is dangerous. They may not realize that they have hit “rock bottom” until it’s too late because their rock bottom could be death.
“Rock bottom” is subjective for each person and won’t look the same for everyone. The best thing that you can do if you are concerned about a loved one’s behavior is to get educated on what you can do. There are signs that you should look out for, and there are things that you can do to intervene to help the person see that they need help. You don’t have to wait until the person’s life is in complete ruin or worse. If you are concerned about a loved one and think that their behavior is heading towards destruction, here are some things that you should look out for:
Declining Physical Health
- Overdose or near-overdose experiences. This is an extremely frightening experience, and sadly, many people never come through the other side of an overdose. Often such an experience can spur the person to reach out for help. If this happens, it’s important to help the person start on a program as soon as possible.
- Serious health complications. Because of the toll drug use takes on the body, continued use often causes serious health complications such as liver failure, respiratory problems, or heart issues.
- Severe weight loss or gain. Drugs interfere with a person’s natural body functions and can cause dramatic changes in a person’s appearance and cause sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Neglect of personal hygiene. As a person falls deeper into addiction, obtaining and using drugs becomes a driving focus. Other things the person cared about in the past take a back seat. If the person is usually well-kept and they are now not taking care of themselves, and you notice things like body odor, not shaving or showering for days, and dirty clothes worn for days at a time, drug or alcohol use could be at the bottom of it.
- Visible changes in physical appearance. In addition to the above changes, physical signs like sores, track marks, or deteriorated teeth can indicate long-term drug use. One indication is if the person always wears long-sleeved shirts or pants, even in extremely hot weather, they may be doing so to cover sores or track marks on their arms and legs.
Emotional and Mental Health Issues
- Severe depression or anxiety. Drugs temporarily mask unwanted feelings. However, when the effects of the drugs wear off, those emotions can come crashing back in and cause the person to experience severe depression and unwanted feelings.
- Paranoia or hallucinations. Some drugs, like meth, are known to bring about paranoia. A person using meth for several days will get little to no sleep. This sleep deprivation, in addition to the effects of the drugs on the mind, can cause a person to experience hallucinations. Other drugs like marijuana, taken frequently and in high doses, have also been known to cause paranoia and hallucinations.
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts. Both drug use and alcohol use have been linked to increased risk of suicide attempts. Another reason why it’s important to intervene and get help for your loved one.
Bring the Bottom to Them
Living a life of active addiction is a constant gamble. Each time a person uses, there’s the possibility that the drugs will be tainted with other additives, such as fentanyl, which could cause a fatal overdose. There are also the unpredictable actions, such as driving while under the influence, that often accompany drug or alcohol use.
There’s no reason to let drug or alcohol use spiral out of control and let the person free fall and hit rock bottom only to smash into a million pieces from which they may never recover. Instead, you can take proactive action to bring the bottom to them.
Once a person is addicted, the withdrawal symptoms and consequences that accompany not using drugs outweigh the consequences of continuing to use. If they still have a place to live, food to eat, and money to spend because family and friends are still supporting them, they do not face the very serious consequences that arise from their drug use.
By working with drug rehabilitation professionals and a professional interventionist, you can get guidance and support to find ways to help the person face the consequences of their drug use, and so, bring the bottom to them—all for the purpose of seeing that they get help at a drug rehab program and start on a path to a drug-free life.
The consequences of continued drug use can be life-threatening. With the right support and resources, recovery is possible.