Warning Signs of a Family Member in Distress
The earlier we recognize that a family member is in distress, the earlier we can act to assist him or her to get help. Early diagnosis and treatment improves the chances of a successful recovery. The longer the diagnosis and treatment is delayed, the more physical, psychological and collateral damage the illness may cause.
Have you observed a pattern involving changes for the worse in appearance, behavior, mood swings or performance? For example, is he or she increasingly:
- unreliable and irresponsible
- difficult to talk to or to be around
- irritable and impatient
- using poor judgment
- acting in an indifferent or reckless manner
- having trouble sleeping
- using alcohol or drugs to relax or fall asleep
- acting impulsively
- having financial problems
- isolating and avoiding contact with friends and family
- experiencing marital or relationship problems
- eating in an unhealthy manner
If you see any of these warning signs and they either persist for two or more continuous weeks or they periodically reemerge and seem to be getting worse, he or she may have a substance use or mental health problem that requires professional assistance.