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.
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.
Keep Their Addiction In Perspective
Keeping things in perspective in the grand scheme of things will help you from feeling enveloped in their addiction. While their drug abuse may feel like the worst thing that could ever happen, you need to remind yourself that things will get better. Seeing this from you, the addict you love may be able to find hope that things will get better for them, too.
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My Friend Took Drugs Once Will They Become An Addict
Most people only develop an addiction after regularly taking a drug. Its highly unlikely that anyone will develop an addiction after taking drugs once or twice or from drinking once or twice.
Some signs that a person is getting addicted to alcohol or drugs are:
- they take the drug very regularly or drink very regularly
- they take it despite trying to cut down or stop
- they lie about how much they take or take it in secret
- they keep taking it despite the harm it’s causing
- they drink or take drugs alone
- they do extreme things to get the drug or alcohol like stealing, getting into debt or faking symptoms to get prescription drugs
- they do less of the things they enjoy, because the drugs or alcohol are getting in the way
Remember that people who are addicted often dont think they are, or dont feel like they can admit it.
So if you think your friend has a problem and you want to help them, think about how you’re going to approach the topic and what youre going to say as you dont want to upset them.
And if they dont listen to you at first, dont be put off. Just give them some space and try again in a little while.
Avoid Lecturing/guilt/intimidation As A Way Of Coping
An addiction is a disease that requires professional help, counseling, and lots of work to uncover the underlying causes of the behavior.
Complicated family relationships and issues are sometimes a factor in destructive behavior.
Making your loved one feel hurt, scared, or undermined can only aggravate the situation and cause a vicious cycle of more self-medication especially if the person is not willing to admit they have a problem yet. Drug treatment requires love, support, and empathy, but also willingness on the part of the addict/alcoholic.
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Following A Few Guidelines Will Help You Have A Discussion:
If the problem has only occurred over a short period of time or has not reached a severe stage, it is possible that the adult you care about could successfully cut back on the use of alcohol or other drugs. If the person has not tried cutting back, you could suggest this strategy as a first step. Some people in the risky stages of substance use, or even in the early stage of addiction, are able to cut back and consistently use only minimal amounts in the future.
You may find, though as many do that people who can cut back are the exception, not the rule. Many people try to cut down and discover that they cant, or that they can only cut back for a few days or a few weeks before resuming heavy or excessive use. Trying to cut down and failing may help the person realize that the problem is more extensive than once thought.
You may also find that the person is able to stop completely. But many struggling with addiction have tried this strategy and couldnt stop or remain abstinent for a significant amount of time. Ideally, the person should be assessed by a professional who can determine the best course of action depending on the severity of the problem and the persons medical, psychological, and social history. If you sense the person is willing to consider that there is a problem, suggest that an evaluation or a consultation with a trusted medical or mental health professional.
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.
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Relapse And The Road To Recovery
Many people complete their treatment programs for substance abuse and head home to begin the recovery stage of their journey. However, not everyone is able to stick to their plan, and many people relapse.
Relapse is common many people struggle to maintain their newfound sobriety or they havent prepared themselves properly to succeed. There are some signs to look for that can suggest potential relapses. By recognizing these signs, support systems of users may be able to stop a relapse before it happens.
How To Break The Stigma Of Drug Addiction
Like many people who are somehow different to the societys standards of what normal should be, those struggling with addictions are subjected to stigmas that can be extremely damaging.
Because of these stigmas, people with addictions are at higher-than-average risk of unemployment and homelessness. Their sense of self-worth, which is often low, to begin with, takes a dive and they are increasingly unlikely to get the help they need.
It is easy to say that people with addictions have made their own beds and now they must lie in them, but most situations are far more complex than that. Addictions have all kinds of origins some of them are results of poor choices, others are borne of circumstances.
Regardless of how addiction starts, the person suffering from it has a far greater chance of overcoming it if the people around them are non-judgmental and supportive. If you remember these facts about addiction, you can help break down the social stigmas and give addicts a better chance at overcoming their challenges and improving their lives.
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American Addiction Centers Can Help
Drugabuse.com is a subsidiary of American Addiction Centers , a leading provider in outpatient programs such as drug and alcohol detox care, and inpatient rehab programs. If you are struggling with addiction and considering detox or rehab, then please call our team to help you find the treatment you need. You can reach us at Who Answers?. You can also use our free and confidential online insurance checker below to see if your health insurance will cover the cost of treatment.
American Addiction Centers accepts many insurance plans and can work with you on a manageable payment plan.
Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Addiction
People who are addicted to drugs tend to show signs of the disease in every aspect of their lives. The symptoms of addiction are varied, but common signs of a problem with substance abuse include:3,4
- Needing to use drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Needing more drugs to get the effects .
- Continuing use of drugs even with the awareness of the harm it causes.
- Neglecting family obligations and financial issues.
- Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite declining physical health.
- Losing interest in hobbies.
- Changes in eating habits .
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Establish Boundaries And Stick To Them
Once you have decided that you are no longer going to take part in your loved ones drug addiction that you are no longer going to enable them because you love them, yourself, and your family too much then you have to set boundaries.
Coming to that point is probably one of the hardest things to do. Enforcing those boundaries is just as hard. First, make sure your boundaries are realistic. Are you serious about them? Are you really willing to follow through on any boundaries you set?
Next, knowing why you are settings boundaries is also important. If the boundary is set in place to protect you and your family, that is a healthier motive than using the boundary to try and control or change the behavior of the addicted family member.
Whatever boundary you set, know that your loved one may react to these boundaries in different ways, and it can be very emotional to stick to your guns.
The Drug Problem: Drug Tolerance And Overdose
Substance abuse results in the need for a higher dosage in order to achieve the same effects and this is how a drug addict develops tolerance to drugs. Consequently, drug users who have higher and increased tolerance are also the most susceptible to a drug overdose.
An overdose happens when the substance user consumes more drugs than his body can handle. There are serious and permanent symptoms of a drug overdose, and in worse scenarios, death.
The common symptoms of drug overdose include seizures, dilated or pinpoint pupils, bluish skin, loss of consciousness and eventually coma, alteration in the breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure, and hypothermia or hyperthermia.
Drug addiction destroys lives not just of the ones addicted to drugs but the people around them as well. The good news is that Canadian drug dependents and abusers can now access support efforts, addiction treatment systems, services, and programs that comprehensively address the problems of illicit and prescription drugs. There are also continuous researches on newer treatment models that cater to the individual needs of the drug dependent.
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What To Do If You Suspect A Relapse
Unfortunately, relapses happen, and with great frequency. Many studies suggest that the majority of recovering addicts will eventually relapse at some point in their lives. However, just because a relapse happens, it does not mean that an individuals long-term sobriety is at risk. With careful and rapid attention, a relapse can be limited and contained. If you suspect a recovering addict may have relapsed, consider taking the following steps:
- Consult with other friends and family to see if they share your concerns.
- Express your concerns in a kind, caring, and non-judgmental manner.
- Suggest that they contact their sponsor, or contact their sponsor for them.
- Encourage them to attend a support group meeting.
- Suggest that they contact their therapist, or contact their therapist for them.
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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Use Leverage Where Possible
You should set boundaries, but beware you do not make threats or try to force the person to get help. Bargaining-power can be useful and you should offer a healthy choice. For example, if you are an employer, you may have to offer a choice of rehab treatment or risk losing their job. Express your genuine concern but keep a firm tone.
What Should You Do In An Emergency
Does your loved one have any of the following symptoms? If so, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
- Lost consciousness after taking drugs.
- Became unconscious after drinking alcohol, especially if five or more drinks were consumed in a short period of time.
- Had a seizure.
- Had been drinking and is seriously considering suicide.
- Has a history of heavy drinking and has severe withdrawal symptoms, such as confusion and severe trembling. Severe withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens , can cause death.
Contact the helpline
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How To Help Someone Struggling With Addiction
John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .
If you have a friend or relative who is living with addiction, you might be wondering how you can help. It’s not always easy to make the decision to try to help someone who has an addiction, but your loved one will have a greater chance of overcoming addiction with your support.
This article discusses some of the strategies you can use to help a friend or loved one who is struggling with an addiction. While every situation is unique, there are some general guidelines that can help.
Focus on building trust so they will be more likely to listen.
Be honest and let them know how the addiction is affecting your life and your relationship with them.
Respect their privacy while being supportive. You can’t force them into quitting, but you can be a source of strength.
Threaten. Giving ultimatums may lead them to hide the behavior.
Criticize. This can contribute to shame and lessen their belief in their ability to quit.
Expect immediate change. Recovery takes time and setbacks are bound to happen.
Dont Let Their Care And Well
Perhaps it has been a long time since you put your own well-being first due to your concern for a loved one wrapped up in drug addiction. But not only is it a mistake to forfeit your own well-being, but it is unfortunate to miss out on the many opportunities for the help and support that are available.
Even as your loved one is involved with treatment, there are opportunities for family therapy, individual therapy, support groups for friends and family of addicts, and integrated family programming to reinforce their long-term transformation. It is in everyones best interest that you give sufficient attention to your own needs, your physical health, and your mental health. The way forward is together, and the best path is one of positive transformation all around.
Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward recovery.
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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.