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How Can You Help An Addict

How To Help A Loved One Struggling With Addiction

How To Help An Addict Or Alcoholic – (5 Things You Must Know!)

The best ways to help a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol may seem counterintuitive, especially for people who struggle with codependent relationships. Some of these methods may seem harsh, but they come from a loving approach with the ultimate goal to help the person overcome their addiction and to help all parties heal. Basic steps are outlined below.

  • Remember that addiction is not a choice or a moral failing it is a disease of the brain
  • Addiction is ultimately a condition that the individual must learn to manage no one can take the fight on for the addict.
  • Set boundaries and stand by them.
  • Encourage the individual to seek help this may include finding treatment resources for them.
  • Find a therapist who specializes in addiction counseling and get help. Loved ones of addicts need support too.
  • Set an example for healthy living by giving up recreational drug and alcohol use.
  • Be supportive, but do not cover for problems created by substance abuse. The person struggling needs to deal with the consequences of their addiction.
  • Be optimistic. A person struggling with drug or alcohol abuse will likely eventually seek help due to ongoing encouragement to do so. If they relapse, it is not a sign of failure relapse is often part of the overall recovery process.

Realize Theres A Lot About Substance Abuse To Learn

Having feelings of fear, worry and anger is understandable and normal. As with any other chronic illness, the more informed you are the better you will be able to support your loved one. You can help them, and yourself, by educating yourself. Learn more about substance use disorder, interventions, treatment methods and recovery programs. And know that now is not the time to nag, preach or lecture your loved one about what they should have done, how things could have been better or how wrong they are.

Seek professional help on how to approach your loved one about their addiction so they can get treatment for it. Assistance in Recovery is one resource in our community that offers advocates who can help coach you on ways to do this that work. They can also explain the variety of treatment options out there for your loved one many of which include the involvement of family and others who are supportive.

HealthPartners alcohol and substance abuse recovery treatment programs in Minnesota and Wisconsin include:

How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction: 10 Ways To Support Them

June 02, 2020Addiction

When someone that you love is struggling with addiction, it can also feel like a struggle to find ways to help. The truth of the matter is that recovery from drug addiction is usually a long and complicated journey. With the support of a loved one, it can become that much easier to begin the journey and see it through to the end.

If you dont have much experience with drug or alcohol addiction, the whole situation can quickly feel overwhelming. Instead of ignoring the situation or backing away because of the overwhelm, take the time to encourage them to identify their problem and seek a solution.

Are you trying to navigate the complexities of addiction by being a support system for a loved one? There are certain things you can do to provide the most help. Some things should be avoided for the best chance of recovery.

Below, were sharing how to help a loved one with a substance use addiction and a few things to avoid while supporting someone through it.

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Other Ways You Can Help

There are other ways you can help an individual who is addicted to heroin.

  • Try to be supportive but fair about your feelings toward the individuals drug abuse.
  • If you are close to the individual, offer to care for them during their treatment . It can be extremely difficult for an individual to deal with withdrawal, cravings, and recovery all while alone.
  • Always remind the individual that you love them and know that they can make it through treatment and recovery.

How Many People Get Treatment For Drug Addiction

How to help a friend with drug addiction

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 22.5 million people aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit* drug or alcohol use problem in 2014. Only 4.2 million received any substance use treatment in the same year. Of these, about 2.6 million people received treatment at specialty treatment programs .

*The term “illicit” refers to the use of illegal drugs, including marijuana according to federal law, and misuse of prescription medications.

Also Check: How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Adderall

You Cant Fix The Problem Directly

Unless you are a licensed mental health professional, you should never try to fix your friend or loved ones substance use problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , addictions are complex and chronic diseases that require medical intervention to overcome. You wouldnt try to cure a persons cancer or diabetes, and you shouldnt hope to cure their addiction either. The safety of your friend is not the only reason this is important, however, the potential guilt that can overcome you if you fail in getting them better can be hard to cope with. No matter what happens, you are never responsible for the outcome and with a disease like addiction that impacts so many parts of our lives, that is important to understand.

Giving Them The Information

When someone has admitted that they are an addict and they are starting to think more about what comes next for them, this is when you can more effectively start talking to them about addiction. You can talk to them, first of all, about some of the consequences of addiction, how it is affecting not just their personal and professional life now, but also what kind of future it might be setting them up for. This may also be where you can start talking about the idea of treatment, and the assistance that you might be able to provide for them in finding the treatments that suit their needs the best.

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The Benefits Of Taking Action Early

Movies, books, and magazines often portray people who hit bottom before they can be helped. However, this representation is a myth. People do not need to bottom out to be helped. Research shows that early identification of the problem is a much more effective solution for substance use problems.

Early identification occurs at the first signs of a problem before anyone has suffered a traumatic event, dropped out of school, or lost important relationships, jobs, health, or self-respect.

Identification can be done through a health care professional screening, employee assistance professional, or family member. What happens after the screening depends on the results of the test. Some people can learn to cut back, while some need further assessment and possible treatment.

In general, all people are better equipped to work on recovery if their substance use problem is discovered and confronted early on. Treatment in the early stages of a substance use disorder is likely to be less intense, less disruptive, and cause less anxiety.

Waiting for people to ask for help is a risky strategy. Without help, family members can expect crises like arrests, medical emergencies, loss of job, public embarrassment, and even death.

Some people find that when they seek help for themselves, the person struggling with addiction gets angry. This may be perhaps because the efforts represent a loss of control. Also, getting help signals that you are serious about changing the situation.

Am I Overreacting To A Substance Use Problem

How to Avoid Enabling an Addict

If you are noticing problems in friend or family members work, health, family, finances, relationships, social functioning, legal issues, self-esteem or self-respect, you are not overreacting.

Continuing to use substances in spite of the fact that such behavior is causing problems, is a problem in and of itself. It shows that substance use has become more important than the problems it causes. Someone who is unwilling to discuss the issue or consider whether there might be a problem is a strong indicator that a problem exists.

Read Also: Can You Be Addicted To Food

When All Else Fails Dont Use Guilt

Its very easy to mix up the thought of an ultimatum, and lecturing or guilting an addicted individual into ceasing their vice usage. Under no circumstances should you attempt to guilt them into quitting their addiction. Phrases like How could you do this to me, or anything that will garner guilt and/or shame from the addict is a surefire no-go.

Can Addiction Be Cured

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.7 There is no simple cure for addiction however, effective treatment can help you become and stay sober.7 You will have to manage your addiction throughout your life, the same way a diabetic has to manage their condition with ongoing efforts like a proper diet and exercise.8

While some recovering drug users will experience cravings for months or years, treatment gives you the tools youll need to live a happy and healthy life without substance abuse.

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Loving An Addict Or Alcoholic: How To Help Them And Yourself

When a person struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, they are likely to struggle with mental health issues and physical problems, both short-term and chronic issues.

They are also likely to cause suffering for their loved ones, including spouses, parents, children, friends, and other family.

For those who love someone who is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, it is important to know the signs of substance abuse problems and how to best help the person in need. In addition, it is important that family members and friends take care of themselves as well.

What To Avoid When Talking To A Loved One About Addiction

What Causes Drug Addiction?

When talking to a loved one about getting treatment for their addiction, here are some things to avoid:

  • Preaching, lecturing, threatening or moralizing your loved one
  • Emotional appeals that may increase the feelings of guilt and the compulsion to use drugs
  • Lying or making excuses for their behavior
  • Taking over their responsibilities doing this protects them from the consequences of their behavior
  • Enabling their behavior by covering up the abuse or giving them money for drugs
  • Arguing with your loved one when theyre using drugs during this time, your loved one wont be able to hold a rational conversation and likely wont be open to what you have to say
  • Feeling guilty or responsible for their behavior its not your fault

If you feel that your loved one is abusing drugs, the best thing you can do is to encourage them to seek treatment for their addiction. Be loving and supportive, but also know that theyre likely going to make excuses for their behavior. Be firm in what you want, and keep encouraging them to get help. Although this isnt easy to do, its a critical first step in helping them achieve a healthy and happy life in recovery.

Read Also: How To Get An Addict Into Treatment

When Someone Completes Addiction Treatment Other People May Not Know How To Encourage Recovery But You Can Do So With The Following Six Suggestions:

  • Accept him without judgment Since many recovering addicts feel judged by their families and friends, you should refrain from criticism and negativity as much as possible. Instead, express love for your loved one and praise his decision to maintain sobriety.
  • Create a substance-free environment One of the biggest predictors of long-term recovery is whether or not users live in drug-free environments. Loved ones can protect a recovering addicts surroundings by removing any drug paraphernalia and encouraging them to stay away from places that might tempt them to relapse.
  • Actively listen Some recovering addicts need people to listen to them, so be available to listen to your loved ones victories and struggles
  • Encourage healthy habits Cooking food, exercising and playing games are all positive, substance-free activities that recovering addicts can do with their loved ones
  • Suggest joining a support group In support groups, recovering addicts can interact with other recovering addicts while receiving encouragement
  • Be patient Recovery is a long and complicated process. People often make mistakes in recovery, so its important for them to know that their family and friends still support them when they mess up.
  • If you support your loved one through recovery, they are more likely to stay sober.

    How Can I Help Someone Whos In Denial About Their Addiction

    Ultimately, the decision to change is up to the individual. You can help your loved one face their substance abuse and get the help they need, but in the end, its up to them to put in the hard work. Seeking drug rehab in Agoura Hills is only part of the battle – recovery is an ongoing process.

    With that said, there are certain approaches you can take to help an addict in denial. If they dont work, you may have to try again at a later date. But its important to follow through with consequences for refusing treatment, otherwise, you can fall into the trap of enabling. For example, if your loved one refuses rehab, you can ask them to leave your home or stop paying their bills.

    Below are some of the ways you can help an addict in denial:

    • Organize an intervention. Organized interventions can be extremely powerful in getting your loved one to accept help. But, they must be well-thought-out and include a professional interventionist for the best results.
    • Pursue involuntary commitment. California is one of the states that allows a parent or loved one to involuntarily commit an addicted loved one to a drug and alcohol rehab program. You can learn more about this option here.
    • Follow through with consequences and let go. This is probably the most difficult decision a parent or loved one can make. However, you can’t force someone to change, so there comes a point when the addict has to accept the addiction on their own terms.

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    How Can I Help

    It can feel daunting to confront a mate about their drug use, but its important for friends to help each other. You may feel hurt by things theyve done, but remember that they probably didnt intend to hurt you. Addiction drives the best people to make poor decisions.

    Acknowledge that your friend might not see their drug use as a problem

    Without an understanding that theres a problem, there wont be a solution. Be honest with your friend about what you think the problem is, and make sure they understand that abusing drugs is a serious issue.

    Talk to your friend about your concerns

    Talk about the negative effects of addiction in terms of something your friend really cares about. They might not be worried about their health or about getting through uni, but they may really care that someone they love is suffering because of their addiction.

    Be positive and let your friend know that youre there for them

    Help them stay focused on positive goals that dont include drugs. Support and acknowledge the positive things they do and achieve, and dont abandon your friend when they slip up it will probably take time for them to turn things around.

    Avoid using emotional appeals

    Dont try to guilt-trip them, and dont preach, bribe or threaten them this will only upset them and push them away.

    Adhere To A Formal Sleep/wake Schedule

    How to Support an Addict in Recovery

    Some of the more dangerous addictive behaviors often occur in the middle of the night. People with addictions can meet dealers, overdose, stumble home from parties or get into other situations that family members have to deal with. Its no surprise, then, that some families in the recovery process struggle with sleep. Parts of their brains are ready and waiting for the next night crisis to arise.

    Regular sleep loss can make the recovery process more difficult. For example, people who slept only 4.5 hours per night for one week reported feeling higher levels of anger, stress, sadness and mental exhaustion. People need sleep to feel their best, and families can better assist with recovery when they are physically and mentally refreshed. Creating a regular sleep schedule with fixed bedtimes and wake times can help prime the brain for deep sleep.

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    Talking About The Problem

    In many cases, simply identifying the problem and having the advice of a medical professional to seek treatment, is not enough. Your friend or loved one may be worried about the impact going to treatment will have on their life . While you should never force someone into treatment, you can play an important role in talking them through these concerns. According to NIDA, most employers, friends, and loved ones will be supportive of anyone attempting to get help for their addictionhowever, this may not always be the case. Assuring your friend or loved one at this point that there are many privacy laws that protect them if they decide to seek help is a good idea at this point. Additionally, you should be supportive of their potential choice to seek help, showing them firsthand that the important people in their life will always be there.

    What You Can Do For The Addict In Your Life

    If you love someone with an addiction, here are some ideas for what you can do for the addict in your life.

    Addiction, especially addiction to harmful substances like alcohol or narcotics, is often treated as a taboo subject amongst families and social circles.

    However, more often than protecting the people involved, it only seeks to stop up from finding ways to help them. The notion of helping an addict is a difficult one, as not all addicts are ready to admit their problems or to find treatment, and pushing the boundaries too far can rebound and have disastrous effects.

    However, there may be ways that you can help.

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