Native American people have the highest rate of substance abuse despite representing a minority of the population. Native American addiction is complicated and nuanced, and treatment can be difficult.
There are several reasons why Native American people are more susceptible to addiction. There may be a genetic factor involved and there’s an overwhelming lack of available resources.
We’re here to talk about how you can identify when a Native American friend may need to go to a rehab center. Read on to learn more.
Withdrawal from Friends and Family Members
This is an early noticeable sign that someone would benefit from going to a Native American rehab center. It doesn’t apply to everyone, but it is something to look out for.
If your friend or loved one has suddenly started withdrawing from relationships (friends, family members, and romantic relationships), it’s a sign that something is amiss with their mental health. It doesn’t mean that the person is struggling with addiction, but it’s a sign that there’s a problem (and that problem may be an addiction).
At first, your loved one may seem more social and gregarious than ever. Over time, however, they may start to be difficult to contact. They may change their social group entirely to find people who support their habits.
This may be due to shame or the knowledge that they won’t be able to hide their addiction from others.
Irritability and Mood Swings
It’s common for people who are struggling with addictions to experience extreme mood swings. If your loved one is moodier than normal, or if they’ve been overreacting to things that would otherwise have been non-issues, it could be a sign that they’re experiencing an addiction.
When someone is heavily using drugs or alcohol, going without puts them into withdrawal. Even if someone is only a few hours from their most recent drink or drug, they can still feel those early signs.
Irritability is one of the earliest signs of withdrawal. The person may also switch quickly between excessive happiness or sadness for no apparent reason.
Missing Important Responsibilities and Events
Occasionally missing an event or taking a day off of work or school is no real cause for concern. When it becomes frequent, it could be a sign that someone is struggling with an addiction.
There comes a point when drugs and alcohol become more important to a person than their standard responsibilities. They may be too hungover to do what they need to do or they may not want to participate if substances aren’t involved.
Again, this can also be the result of shame. They don’t want anyone to know that they’re struggling, but their actions are actually counterproductive.
Sudden Weight Changes
Depending on the person’s substance of choice, you may notice sudden and sometimes extreme weight changes.
When people drink alcohol, they often experience weight gain. Alcohol is full of empty calories and people struggling with addiction don’t often exercise to stay healthy.
Certain drugs, such as stimulants, can trigger rapid weight loss. You may notice that your loved one is looking thinner than ever without any obvious modifications to their diet or exercise routine.
People who are struggling with addiction may start lying more often.
Dishonesty isn’t a sign of addiction in and of itself, but it’s the result of many actual symptoms of addiction. Someone may be lying about their behavior as a result of addiction-related shame. They may also lie in order to feed their addiction (like lying for money or for substances).
They may make excuses for why they can’t do things or why they did something unusual.
Sudden Depression or Anxiety
As we mentioned before, addiction can trigger mood changes. It may also trigger longer-term anxiety or depression. Anxiety and depression can also trigger addiction, so it works both ways.
It can be hard to notice signs of anxiety or depression in a loved one if they don’t mention it to you themself. Some signs of addiction (such as withdrawing from relationships) are also signs of anxiety and depression.
A good Native American treatment center will treat concurrent mental health struggles alongside addiction to get to the root of the problem. When the depression or anxiety is cured, it’s easier to cure the addiction.
Sudden Financial Struggles
If your loved one has always been good (or at least decent) with money management, and suddenly they’re struggling, it could be a sign that they’re struggling with substance abuse and they could benefit from rehab.
Once someone develops a substance abuse habit, it becomes difficult to break it, even if it puts them in financial ruin. Logic no longer applies.
People struggling with addiction may dip into (or even deplete) their savings, borrow money with no intention of paying it back, or start cutting back on necessities in exchange for drugs or alcohol.
They’re Unable to Stop Using Their Substance of Choice
Many people can drink or use drugs without developing an addiction. People who can’t stop are in need of rehabilitation.
If your loved one is unable to go out for a “single drink,” and instead ends up out all night, it’s a sign that they’re struggling with addiction. If they offer to be the designated driver and decide to drink anyway, it’s another bad sign.
Does Someone in Your Life Need a Rehab Center?
If you’ve noticed several (or all) of these signs in a Native American loved one, it might be time to talk to them about going to a rehab center. This is going to be a difficult conversation, but it’s worthwhile. A rehab center can help them take their life back.
At Sunrise Native Recovery, we understand the issues that are specific to indigenous people struggling with addiction. Learn more about our admissions and contact us today to get help.