Get Educated About Addiction
Take the time to learn more about the nature and behavior of drug addiction.
Addiction is much more than substance abuse of things like cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs. it can be a behavior that is usually due to some underlying emotional issue, chemical imbalance, or other disorder that causes a person to act a certain way or to self-medicate.
People with such behaviors can be addicted to just about anything in an unhealthy way whether it is sex, exercise, work, eating, or a substance. And when someone is addicted to something, there are often co-occurring disorders at play such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, obsessive-compulsiveness, or eating disorders.
Once a person becomes addicted to a substance or behavior, the continuing use and abuse are more about homeostasis rather than getting high. As time goes on, the perceived benefits of that behavior or substance that originally lured them in usually fade away, but the need and impulse remain.
Treatment programs like drug rehab work to treat the underlying causes of addictive behaviors. That is why drug rehabilitation can be so instrumental in causing life-altering behaviors and constructive, positive changes.
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Can I Section Someone For Drug Or Alcohol Use
Doctors cannot section someone just because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
But if someone who takes drugs or alcohol also has mental health problems, doctors may be able to section them. This is usually only for a mental health emergency, for example if their safety is at risk.
If you are someone’s nearest relative, you may be able to ask for them to have a mental health assessment.
Our pages on sectioning have more information.
Sometimes itâs the people looking after others who need care and understanding themselves.
How To Help Someone With A Drug Addiction
When someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can be difficult to get them the help they need. This is especially true because the actions of an addict impact more than themselves, and your life may be intertwined with the consequences of their addiction.
This means that immediately getting the proper help is crucial for them, you, and anyone else affected by the addiction.
Here are some actions to take when helping someone through drug addiction:
Regardless of how much you want to see your loved one recover, they must want recovery themselves. Still, they need the help of their friends, family, and a support system. Using half-measures or improper channels to help can set them back, so working with professional guidance is highly recommended.
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Ways To Support Your Special Someone With Drug Addiction
For an addict, deciding to get help and kick the addiction is no easy feat. Luckily, studies have shown that with the additional love and support of someone close to the addict, their chances of recovery are much higher.
While each situation of addiction has its own unique sets of circumstances and factors at play, there are some general guidelines as to the best way to help someone and offer support.
How To Recognize Addiction
Only qualified health professionals can diagnose SUDs.2 However, knowing the criteria for SUDs can be helpful if you suspect that a loved one is struggling with addiction.
The American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5, lists the following criteria for SUDs:4
- Using the substance in larger amounts or for a longer time than originally intended.
- Being unable to cut down or stop using the substance, even if the person wants to.
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of the substance.
- Experiencing intense urges or desires to use the substance .
- Failing to fulfill obligations at home, work, or school due to substance use.
- Continuing substance use even though it causes or worsens social or interpersonal problems.
- Giving up social, recreational, or occupational activities due to substance use and withdrawing from family or friends to use the substance.
- Using the substance in dangerous situations .
- Continuing substance use even though the person knows they have a physical or psychological problem that is probably caused or worsened by substance use.
- Needing to use more of the substance to experience previous effects .
- Experiencing unpleasant or uncomfortable symptoms if they try to stop using .
Proper diagnosis is important for the person and their family and friends because it can help identify the problem and provide a starting point for getting the right help with addiction treatment.2
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Encourage Them To Seek Help
Trust is a key factor in this step.
In Step 7, we talked about love and support replacing intimidation and guilt. Once you have established that approach, encouragement comes next.
While some drug rehab centers and support groups utilize the tough love approach, we believe you can get just as far or further with encouragement. You may be asking yourself at this point, how can you love and encourage while at the same time setting boundaries and looking out for yourself first?
When healthy boundaries are set and you are putting you first, you are more able to freely share love and empathy. You have made the decision to not let that person harm you or take advantage of you or whatever the boundary is you have set.
Once any negative feelings and emotions about the person or situation have taken a back seat, you can begin to take a more objective approach to the problem and motivate them to start getting help.
Can Drug Addiction Be Treated
Yes, but its not simple. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people cant simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients need long-term or repeated care to stop using completely and recover their lives.
Addiction treatment must help the person do the following:
- stop using drugs
- be productive in the family, at work, and in society
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Will My Friend Get Into Trouble
If your friend needs medical help either from a clinic or an ambulance its essential that you tell the people helping everything you know about the drugs theyve taken.
And if you have any drugs left, hand them over to the medics as it may help them understand the problem.
They won’t tell the police and you wont get into trouble.
If your friend is caught with drugs, they might get into trouble. They might get a warning, an arrest, a formal caution or a conviction. This will depend on the drugs theyre caught with and what theyre doing with them.
If your friend is caught with drugs at school or university they might get into trouble there too. Getting caught with drugs in school or uni can lead to suspension or expulsion, and to the police getting involved.
My Friend Told Me Something In Private What Should I Do
It might be that your friend takes drugs to deal with a difficult situation, or block out something thats happened in the past.
Your friend might have told you something very personal, which they dont want you to repeat, but which is related to their drug use.
If this is the case, then youll probably need to get professional help for your friend and you can do this without breaking your friends confidence by:
calling Frank anytime on for confidential advice
contacting one of the young peoples and adult drug treatment organisations in your area
Remember, you dont have to say whats happened to your friend, just that your friend needs some help with managing their drugs use.
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Be Involved In The Drug Rehab Treatment And Recovery Process
Healing from alcoholism and drug addiction is everyones responsibility.
If a drug-addicted family member is on the road to recovery, but you or the family has not taken steps to be a part of the healing process, this can actually hinder your loved ones progress. Support through this process is essential. Utilizing a family program and therapy can be a means to facilitate the healing process.
Oftentimes, addiction is deep-seated in family issues and learned behaviors that stem from within the home. If an addicted person is trying to break the cycle and change their behavior, it is very hard if the family has not also begun working through their own issues surrounding the problems in the home.
Express Your Love And Concern
Being overly aggressive or pragmatic may force some people with addiction to become defensive or isolate themselves from scrutiny. Be careful with your words and always emphasize that they come from a place of love and concern. This will be more effective than being angry, attacking them, or trying to guilt or coerce them to stop. This can be especially true when dealing with teens or young people. Instead, continue to let them know you are only talking to them because you love and care about them and are concerned for their safety.
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What Do I Need To Know About Addiction Treatment
Informing yourself about the array of treatment possibilities can be extremely useful in helping a loved one decide on an appropriate course of action when the desire for change arises or the need for help in putting a life back together is acknowledged. Residential, inpatient treatment programswhats known as rehabare in the news when a celebrity has an addiction problem, but they are by no means the only form of treatment.
People embark on the road to recovery from addiction every day. Only a small proportion of peoplefrom 5 to 10 percentdo it with the help of any type of clinical service or facility. Many people choose to free themselves of addiction through the support of peers, in self-help or mutual support groups. Many people choose to do it on their own. Just as there is no one pathway into addiction, there is no one pathway out of it.
Do: Take Care Of Yourself
Indulging in self-care is not selfish, especially when youre helping someone dealing with addiction. You cannot let the addiction of your loved one derail your own life. Continue with healthy activities, like hobbies and social outings, and take care to look after yourself. Therapy or counseling is part of that process, but indulging in activities that arent centered around your loved one is necessary. Determine what it is that you need to keep yourself well and indulge in it.
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Is Treatment Different For Criminal Justice Populations
Scientific research since the mid-1970s shows that drug abuse treatment can help many drug-using offenders change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors towards drug abuse avoid relapse and successfully remove themselves from a life of substance abuse and crime. Many of the principles of treating drug addiction are similar for people within the criminal justice system as for those in the general population. However, many offenders dont have access to the types of services they need. Treatment that is of poor quality or is not well suited to the needs of offenders may not be effective at reducing drug use and criminal behavior.
In addition to the general principles of treatment, some considerations specific to offenders include the following:
- Treatment should include development of specific cognitive skills to help the offender adjust attitudes and beliefs that lead to drug abuse and crime, such as feeling entitled to have things ones own way or not understanding the consequences of ones behavior. This includes skills related to thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.
- Treatment planning should include tailored services within the correctional facility as well as transition to community-based treatment after release.
- Ongoing coordination between treatment providers and courts or parole and probation officers is important in addressing the complex needs of offenders re-entering society.
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Established in 1988 by Peter and Dr Margaret McCann, Castle Craig is a residential rehab, complete with medically managed detox centre, that treats people suffering from alcohol and drug addictions, many of whom have other complex illnesses and mental health issues.
Castle Craig Hospital is located in the stunning countryside of the Scottish Borders, just 40 minutes drive from Edinburgh, one hour from Glasgow and two hours from Newcastle. Our 50 acres of parkland and woods is a relaxed and tranquil environment conducive to healing and recovery.
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Contact Us At Peace Valley Recovery
At Peace Valley Recovery, were here to help. We know it can be difficult to navigate the confusing space between helping and enabling an addict, but we support your goals and can help you get your loved one the treatment they need. Call us today to learn more about our services and talk with our admissions staff about the steps to take to help your loved one escape the grip of addiction.
Is There A Good Way To Convey Addiction Concerns To A Family Member Or Friend
It is difficult for those addicted to see beyond the craving and momentary pleasures, to envision functioning without their drug, yet important for their future to have a powerful positive incentive to do so. Lectures and confrontational techniques are usually ineffective and often damage relationships that could be levers of change. Whats needed is an approach that is more collaborative than confrontationalreaching toward a goal everyone can be happy with.
Having a calm, respectful conversation about concernswhile setting boundaries about substance use, such as no alcohol or drugs are allowed in the house, not being allowed in the house when intoxicateddemonstrates caring. And such discussions could borrow the insights of motivational interviewing, a conversational technique that counselors use to help a person find and bolster their internal motivation to give up drug use and act on their deepest values and dreams for themselves. Easily adapted for everyday use, its an approach that respects a persons struggles while inspiring them to make a change.
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What Not To Do & Say To Someone With An Addiction
In addition to approaching someone you care about and talking openly about your concerns about their drug and alcohol use, there are also some things to avoid doing or saying, including:
Don’t Preach: Dont lecture, threaten, bribe, preach or moralize
Dont Give Ultimatums: Dont threaten the relationship or make your love conditional upon their recovery
Dont Give Money: Avoid lending them money that you suspect will be used for substances
Don’t Be a Martyr: Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs
Don’t Cover For Them: Avoid telling lies or making excuses for them and their behavior, as these can enable them to continue using
Don’t Assume Their Responsibilities: Taking over their responsibilities protects them from the consequences of their behavior, making recovery less likely
Don’t Argue When Using: Arguing with the person when they are using alcohol or drugs is not helpful at that point they cant have a rational conversation
Dont Feel Guilty: Avoid feeling guilty or taking responsibility for their actions or behaviors
Don’t Join Them: Dont try to keep up with them by drinking or using yourself
How To Help Someone Understand They Need Help
Friends and family members may feel that they constantly express concerns about a loved ones substance use but never see any changes. You may have reached this point after weeks or months of giving lectures, making threats, ignoring behaviors, accepting promises of change, giving second chances, or imposing consequences.
Experts recommend developing and repeating a consistent, positive message: We care about you and we want you to get help. Define substance use as a problem for you and others who care about the person. Avoid blaming, arguing, and reproaching, and expect denial, distortion, avoidance, rationalization, and intellectualization of the problem.
Perhaps a friend, another family member, doctor, clergy, boss, co-worker, or other significant person in their life might be able to have an effective discussion. Or maybe the person with the substance use disorder would respond to activities you can do together, such as reviewing brochures or videos, meeting with a professional, or going to a self-help SMART Recovery or Twelve Step meeting.
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Educate Yourself About Addiction
You see what you know. Until you have knowledge about addiction and the symptoms of drug abuse, its easy to miss the signs that are right in front of you.
Addiction is complex, and its okay if you dont know everything right away. However, taking the time to understand your loved ones disease and how it affects them is incredibly beneficial to both you and your loved one. It also helps you be more aware of the signs that your loved one needs help.
Do: Seek Counseling Or Therapy
Addiction affects everyone, from the person in treatment to their loved ones. Its important to ensure youre well enough to manage the potential stress of helping someone dealing with addiction. Acknowledging that you may be in over your head and in need of professional help is normal and healthy. Its also necessary for you to help your loved one to the best of your abilities.
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