Recognizing a drug problem in someone you love can be a difficult task, and having your loved one realize that their drug use is a problem can be even harder. To better understand this person's thinking, you must first know how they internally evaluate the negative consequences of drugs. 

Understanding the Value of Consequences

When trying to understand how your loved one sees their drug use, you must first know how much the negative consequences bothers them. 

Consequences of substance use and its subsequent behavior include:

  • Neglecting relationships or reacting negatively to loved ones

  • Missing obligations, like work or birthdays

  • Decreased socialization and interest in hobbies or activities

  • Risk-taking tendencies that put them in danger

  • Ignoring the adverse effects of their actions 

    Finding Your Loved One’s Motivation 

Motivation drives all of our choices, including the decision to use drugs. With drug use, the brain releases a feel-good chemical called dopamine as a reward. In many cases, that feeling becomes the motivation to use drugs again. For a person to see their drug use as a problem, their motivation to improve their behavior must be stronger than the motivation to enjoy that feeling.

Determining How Your Loved One Sees Their Use

First, consider how they view the repercussions of their actions, like neglecting their relationships. Do they talk about things going wrong? Do they suggest their behavior may be part of the problem, or, do they shift the blame in another direction? For example, do they claim their spouse is unreasonable?

Next, consider how they internally value the costs and benefits of their drug use. Does it seem like they focus on how the drug makes them feel as opposed to what it costs them? 

To be motivated to change, your loved one must see the negative consequences of their behavior.