Spotting the signs
The effects of addiction on a loved one can be both worrying and confusing. Signs to look out for include but are not limited to:
- suddenly missing lots of school or work
- change in behaviour
- withdrawing from work or activities which used to be enjoyed
- not sleeping properly - too much or not enough
- frequently asking for money
- not taking care of personal hygiene and appearance
- withdrawal symptoms, which include but extend beyond nausea, shaking, depression, anxiety, sweating, irritability, lack of appetite, headaches
- secrecy - deliberately mysterious on whereabouts when drinking or taking drugs, concealing the amount ingested, unexplained accidents
It is important to note that these signs are not solely those of drug and alcohol abuse, and can be symptomatic of other mental and physical illnesses.
If you are concerned about a child or someone you care for
Having a child or caring for somebody with a drink or drug problem is extremely distressing.
There are a number of organisations in the UK which provide support to the parents and carers of people fighting addiction. A few helpful websites include:
While New Hope can only help those aged 18 and over, we do have a family and friends support group.
If you are concerned about a spouse or partner
As addiction often leads to unpredictable behaviour as well as health and financial difficulties, it often inevitably puts a great deal of pressure onto a couple’s relationship.
The partner of somebody struggling with addiction is likely to feel isolated, but there are many organisations dedicated to supporting people in relationships where drug and alcohol issues are present.
A family and friends support group runs every week at New Hope and is open to anybody over the age of 18.
If you are worried about a parent
A parent’s addiction can be embarrassing, confusing and frightening; leaving their children feeling hopeless and isolated.
Because of this, many young people do not reach out for help, or even talk to anybody about their issues. It is natural to feel as though you want to help a parent, but what is important to remember is that you are not responsible for their addiction, and you cannot be expected to resolve it by yourself.
Fortunately, there are thousands of people in the country who have been properly trained in order to help not just those who suffer from addiction, but also their families and friends. Most of these services are free, discreet and confidential.
- Information for children (National Association for Children of Alcoholics)
- Information for young people (National Association for Children of Alcoholics)
- Parents and alcohol (Childline)
If you want to talk to somebody you don’t know, you can call the National Association for Children of Alcoholics on 0800 358 3456.
You can also call Childline at 0800 11 11.
These phone lines are free and confidential, and will not show up on the phone bill.
Local services that can help
If you live in or near to Bracknell, there are a number of local organisations who can support you through your parent’s addiction problems. Relate and Sandhurst counselling service can both help. Check out our local services page for more information.
If you are worried about a friend
There are a number of reasons why a friend may start drinking or taking drugs. A lot of the time it is down to curiosity, but sometimes it is to deal with a deeper problem. Unfortunately, many people who have a problem cannot see it and can be very defensive. This can make it difficult to talk about, so it is important that you think carefully first before you decide to talk to them.
There are people who have been trained for years to help people recover, and because you are not responsible for another person’s addiction, you must not allow yourself to feel as though you are.
However, there are some simple steps that you can take in order to help. You can avoid activities and locations which might allow them to drink or take drugs. For example avoiding places like the pub, or a particular friend’s house or spot where they take drugs can help.