Seek Help For Yourself
The recovery process can be just as hard on you as it is on your loved one. Whether you convince them to seek treatment or not, its important for you to take care of your own mental health.
Consider seeking one-on-one counseling or attending a support group like Narc-Anon or Al-Anon. This will help you face your feelings and give you the tools you need to navigate through this difficult time.
How To Help Someone Dealing With Addiction
Knowing someone who has an addiction is not uncommon, but knowing the best way to help a loved one with an addiction can be confusing and even scary. When someone has an addiction, it can affect every aspect of their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones. You will inevitably be concerned about your loved one, and it can be difficult to know what to do and what not to do, but its important to remember that Recovery is a solution.
Seek Professional Help When Needed
If you feel like a loved ones addiction is interfering with your life or causing harm to others, then it might be time for them to seek professional help from an experienced and caring treatment center. There are many ways that you can support someone who has a substance abuse problem. However, the most important thing is understanding their challenges so that you can help your loved one overcome them.
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Drug Withdrawal And Detox
During the initial stages of recovery, the body must rid itself of drugs. This is called the detox period. Detox can last several days to several weeks depending on the drug. Coping with withdrawal symptoms is often the most challenging part of detox. During detox, former drug users experience many uncomfortable symptoms. Some of these may include:
- Muscle aches
Different medications are used to treat different withdrawal symptoms. Some of the drugs that physicians prescribe in detox include:
These drugs reduce anxiety and irritability. Anxiety is a common symptom of withdrawal from many drugs, including Cocaine and Opiates like Heroin. Benzos have a sedative effect, which helps ease alcohol withdrawals. Doctors are cautious about prescribing Benzos because they are addictive.
Without drugs, an addicted person cannot produce natural amounts of happiness-inducing chemicals in their brain. Because theyve relied on drugs to keep them happy for so long, people in detox often experience depression. Antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac can help relieve these feelings until the brain is able to produce happiness-inducing chemicals on its own again.
Used to treat alcohol and Opiate withdrawals, Clonidine reduces sweating, cramps, muscle aches and anxiety. Clonidine can also stop tremors and seizures.
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What You Need To Know About Drug Addiction
In previous years, drug abuse has been an increasingly growing problem among Canadian adults and youth, regardless of gender and age. The harmful and excessive use of drugs other than for medication purposes leads to numerous health problems that affect the overall well-being of the person. There are signs and symptoms of drug addiction and abuse that could help determine the problem at an early stage for immediate addiction treatment or intervention.
One of the tendencies of drug addicts is to increasingly and regularly use the drug several times every day even to the point of endangering themselves and other people.
Drug abuse affects people in different ways and levels but you would know addiction when they start neglecting and not giving importance to things they prioritized before. These may include family, friends, work, school, social activities, recreations, and other commitments.
The person that is hooked into drugs spends an enormous amount of time using, accessing and recovering yet going back to using drugs. Drug addicts become secretive particularly on their financial spending and their tendency to overspend on drugs just to satisfy their compulsive cravings.
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Second Step: Offer Realistic Solutions For Drug Addiction Recovery
It might be easy to sit your family member down and begin addressing their addiction by listing all of the problems they have as a result of their use. However, drug addiction affects thinking and decision-making even when the addict is not currently using or if its been a while since theyve used.
- Offer reasonable solutions that will allow them to heal slowly.
- Be an active part of those solutions.
- Offer to replace what theyve lost help them get their old job back or another job when they are clean, help them regain confidence, and help them repair damaged relationships.
- Be a part of their recovery. Allowing a drug addict to overcome their use alone is a sure way for them to return to their old habits.
Is Drug Addiction In Canada Getting Out Of Control
Drug addiction is a massive problem in Canada with a growing number of young people and adults succumbing to substance abuse and its negative consequences. There are various types of illicit and even prescription drugs that are commonly abused and used for non-medical purposes. It helps to know these drugs, how they work and how they are used, along with the corresponding Canadian statistics that show their impact on a personal and social level.
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Recognizing Drug Abuse In A Loved One
Its not always easy to recognize if a loved one is abusing drugs. In teens, for example, drug abuse can often resemble normal adolescent moodiness. Furthermore, theres no specific amount or frequency of use that indicates someones drug use has become a cause for concern. Whether your loved one is using every day or every month, its the adverse impact their drug abuse has on their life that indicates a problem.
Signs your loved one may have a substance use disorder include:
Experiencing problems at work, school, or home. They appear high more often, for example, and take more days away from work or school to compensate. Their work performance or school grades suffer, they neglect their responsibilities at home, and encounter more and more relationship difficulties. They may even lose their job, drop out of school, or separate from a long-term partner.
New health issues, such as changes in sleep schedule, often appearing fatigued or run-down, pronounced weight loss or weight gain, glassy or bloodshot eyes, and forgetfulness or other cognition problems. Depending on the type of drug theyre abusing, they may also exhibit frequent sniffing, nosebleeds, or shaking.
Recurring financial problems. Your loved one may run up credit card debt to support their drug use, seek loans, or ask to borrow money without any solid reason. They may even steal money or valuables to sell for drugs.
Drug paraphernalia to look out for
Dont Ignore The Problem
No one ever imagines that addiction will happen to someone they know. So, when it does, it can be very difficult to accept. You may be tempted to ignore the signs of addiction, to make excuses for your loved one, or to deescalate the severity of their addiction. But trying to convince yourself that its not that bad, or that theyre simply going through a tough time or phase that theyll snap out of is not doing your loved one any favors. Remember, addiction is a progressive disease, and your loved one will only get worse the more they use or drink.
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Dont Blame Yourself Or Them
You didnt cause it, you cant cure it, and you cant control it, is a mantra spoken at many family support groups like Al-Anon. While recognizing triggers and encouraging abstinence is helpful, remember that you are not responsible for the addiction.
Addiction is a mental disease caused by changes in brain structure that occur when a person abuses drugs. These changes make the person feel like they cannot live normally without drugs, even if substance use has a negative impact on their life. Blaming them is not productive. In fact, it instills shame and guilt that may make them turn to drug use for relief.
Take Care Of Yourself
Although you may see this as selfish, its incredibly important that youre able to be there for others and make the best decisions possible. Make sure your own needs are met by getting enough sleep, exercising and eating well. Dont be afraid to go to therapy to get help if you find yourself struggling due to your loved ones drug addiction.
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Learn About Addiction And The Various Treatment Options Available
Learn as much as you can about the signs and symptoms of drug abuse so you have an idea of the severity of the situation. If you know the type of substance that the person is using, research that specific drug and the long-term effects of misusing it. Use this information to support that you are speaking from a place of concern, not judgment.
Educate yourself on treatment options so that you can give them hope for a better future and a solution to the problem of their substance abuse. When a person living with addiction decides to enter treatment, they should do so immediately. If you are equipped to help them through the process, they can get the care they need without delay.
What Are Treatments For Drug Addiction
There are many options that have been successful in treating drug addiction, including:
- behavioral counseling
- medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training
- evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
A range of care with a tailored treatment program and follow-up options can be crucial to success. Treatment should include both medical and mental health services as needed. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.
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How Are Behavioral Therapies Used To Treat Drug Addiction
Behavioral therapies help patients:
- modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use
- increase healthy life skills
- persist with other forms of treatment, such as medication
Patients can receive treatment in many different settings with various approaches.
Outpatient behavioral treatment includes a wide variety of programs for patients who visit a behavioral health counselor on a regular schedule. Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counseling, or both. These programs typically offer forms of behavioral therapy such as:
- cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to use drugs
- multidimensional family therapydeveloped for adolescents with drug abuse problems as well as their familieswhich addresses a range of influences on their drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family functioning
- motivational interviewing, which makes the most of people’s readiness to change their behavior and enter treatment
- motivational incentives , which uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from drugs
How To Help Someone Quit Drugs
How can I help a drug addict quit?
This is such a common question, yet its also a complex, difficult one. Ultimately you cant control whether or not a drug addict stops using, but there are some things you can do both for them and to help yourself cope.
When you have a loved one whos struggling with drugs it can take an immense emotional toll on you. Drug addiction doesnt just impact the addict, it impacts everyone around that person, and as youre wondering how to help someone quit drugs, you may find that youre neglecting your own needs.
Some of the common feelings loved ones of addicts experience include anger, resentment, worry, fear, anxiety, helplessness, and depression. You want to be able to help your loved one, but its very easy for that to become enabling them. Theres also the sense that if you set boundaries and exhibit tough love, youre somehow not empathetic or sympathetic to the addict.
Loved ones of addicts are often the victims of the manipulation thats bred by addiction. Addicts have one focus in their lives, and thats using drugs. They may have once been a sensitive, loving person, but as addiction takes hold this comes to an end and theyre self-absorbed and entirely driven by their desire to continue using. The disease of addiction is a difficult and complicated one, and it ultimately changes the brain of the addict, which is why they act out in certain ways and become so focused on their addiction.
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Signs Of Drug Addiction Relapse
To recognize potential relapses, the following are 7 warning signs of relapse to keep an eye out for:
Stop Attending Meetings
The 12-step program meetings, AA meetings and other gatherings are put in place to help recovering addicts maintain their sobriety. Here, individuals are surrounded by support and they are reminded of how far they have come.
An individual who may relapse will likely stop going to these meetings, or begin making up excuses for why they cannot go. Whether they say its boring, too long or unhelpful, this is a surefire warning sign that they dont think they need help anymore.
Rekindle Bad Relationships
If an ex-user has begun surrounding themselves with their old crowd of users, a relapse is certainly possible. These friends or acquaintances are likely still using, and they act as severe triggers for a recovering addict to start using again.
Ditching Positive Elements
To maintain sobriety, many people rely on a few positive reinforcements to keep them going. Items such as writing journals, a group of clean friends and new hobbies are ideal for keeping them busy and clean.
If an individual begins getting rid of these positive influences, thats certainly a red flag. This is one of the clear warning signs of relapse since these factors were they to help support and maintain a sober life.
Testing Their Limits
Romanticizing the Past
Encourage Them To Seek Help
There is a big difference between badgering or hounding and encouragement to get someone into rehab against their will. Its true that the earlier they seek treatment, the higher the likelihood of success, but preaching, lecturing, or threatening will only drive them away. Its common to meet resistance when you bring up the topic of rehab, but trying to guilt or shame a person into doing what you want isnt going to be effective. Its also not a good idea to enable their drug or alcohol use or become overly emotional while you are trying to encourage them to seek professional help.
If you cant seem to make any headway on your own or with immediate friends and family, consider having a proper intervention. These are often difficult to get through, but an intervention specialist knows how to navigate the process and get the best possible results. An intervention specialist is also well versed in hearing the typical excuses that addicts give for not wanting to seek treatment and will have effective tactics to encourage them to do the right thing.
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How Can You Help A Loved One Get The Help They Need
Mention the word treatment in relation to substance use and many people think of long-term residential facilities or detox. In fact, treatment includes both of these options and a variety of others.
Treatment addresses the individuals physical, psychological, emotional, and social conditions. Sustained reduction in alcohol or other drug use and sustained increases in personal health and social function are the primary goals.
The type of treatment is based on the severity of the problem. For risky people with an active addiction, treatment can be as simple as a screening and a brief intervention. For people exhibiting signs of dependence or addiction, a screening will probably lead to a referral for more intense level of care.
All treatment starts with a screening, which is a series of questions about the amount and frequency of alcohol or other drug use and the consequences it may be causing. Screening can be done by many types of professionals, including a physician in a hospital or an office, a nurse, a clinical social worker, or a licensed substance abuse counselor.
To help someone you know who you think may have a substance use problem, you first need to get them screened. Your best bet is to talk to your own physician or employee assistance professional about referring you to someone who can help, such as a licensed substance abuse counselor or family therapist.
To find a treatment program, visit SAMHSAs Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.
Admit You Have A Problem
The first step in quitting drugs is to admit that you have a problem. If youre not sure, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you taking drugs first thing in the morning or to get through the day?
- Do friends or family worry or complain about your drug use?
- Do you lie about how much youre using?
- Have you sold possessions or stolen to pay for your drug habit?
- Have you participated in dangerous or risky activities, such as driving under the influence, having unprotected sex, or using dirty needles?
- Do you feel that youve lost control of your drug taking?
- Are you having problems with relationships?
If you answered yes to any of these questions it might be time to accept that you have a problem and ask for help.
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How To Talk To Your Friend About Their Drug Use
Drugs can be a hard subject to discuss, especially if you think your friend has a problem. Theres no right or wrong way to talk about drugs, but there are some general guidelines you can follow to make things easier.
Do speak to your friend:
- when youre both sober and not on drugs
- somewhere private and familiar
- when you have plenty of time its not a conversation you can rush
- more than once you may need to have several conversations
Dont speak to your friend in a way that:
- is judgmental or critical it wont help
- doesnt give them time to talk try to speak less and listen more
- assumes superiority dont act like you know better
Remember that you or your friend can call FRANK anytime on for confidential advice.