As a carer you may notice things about the person you care for:

  • sudden changes in mood from happy and alert to sullen and moody
  • aggressive or irritable behaviour which is out of character
  • a loss of interest in school, work, sport or other activities
  • unusual sleep patterns or difficulty in sleeping
  • unusually secretive and evasive behaviour or lying
  • money going missing or belongings being sold
  • the person is more concerned with getting their substance
  • they are less interested in dealing with other things
  • use of room deodorisers and incense
  • anger if confronted about their substance use
  • they are more often intoxicated, or appear to be
  • under the influence of something
  • they can be tired, irritable and looks less well
  • less interested in every day things
  • they are unable to say ‘no’ and have a strong desire for the substance
  • using more and more of the substance to get the same effect
  • involved in criminal activity
  • anxious, depressed or shows symptoms of other mental health problems

As the carer you may feel:

  • frustrated and hurt
  • unsure how to help
  • concerned for the person’s safety and wellbeing
  • worried about what will happen in the future
  • angry if your help and advice is not accepted
  • afraid the police will be involved
  • frightened by the person’s behaviour
  • feel that the person is beyond help
  • worried about the effects on the rest of the family
  • worried about financial consequences

Don’t forget to look after yourself as well !

  • Share your worries with trusted friends and family members
  • Don’t bottle your feelings up – there is nothing wrong with a good cry
  • Try and keep in touch with friends
  • Go and see your own doctor if you cannot sleep, are exhausted, anxious or depressed
  • Make sure that you find time for yourself and do some simple exercise