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.
Signs Of Heroin Abuse
Many people who suspect heroin abuse in a loved one or colleague may not even know what this substance or its related paraphernalia look like. As the Foundation for a Drug-Free World explains, heroin is white in its pure form, but other substances are often cut into it and turn it rose gray, brown, or black.
Heroin paraphernalia include the containers used to transport it and instruments used to consume it. Examples of paraphernalia include but are not limited to:
- Small pieces of foil with burn marks
- Small tubes
- Black tar
Heroin is a highly addictive drug and an overdose can prove fatal. For this reason, signs of heroin addiction should be taken seriously, and measures should be taken to stage an intervention or otherwise convince a loved one to join a rehab program.
The Difference Between Addiction And Dependence
The terms addiction and dependence are often confused or used interchangeably. While there is some overlap, its important to understand the major differences between the 2.
A dependence is present when users develop a physical tolerance to a substance. They may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug altogether. Usually a dependency is resolved by slowly tapering off the use of a particular substance.
On the other hand, an addiction occurs when extensive drug or alcohol use has caused a persons brain chemistry to change. Addictions manifest themselves as uncontrollable cravings to use drugs, despite the harm done to oneself or others. The only way to overcome an addiction is through treatment.
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Keep A Positive Mindset
Its essential to try to seek the positives in the situation and celebrate the progress made. Changing addictive behavior is hard, just like making any significant change of habit. Yet its even harder than that because there are chemicals involved that interfere with their decision-making ability.
Even if they slip up, try to remain positive. Use supportive communication to explore what led to the slip-up, and then figure out how to avoid it in the future. You dont want your loved one to slide back, so encourage them to see how far theyve come already.
You Pick Fights For Attention
You didnt even ask how my day was! You dont even care about me! Do these phrases sound familiar? Thats because they are another one of the signs of being addicted to a person! When youre in an addictive relationship, you want all your partners attention focused on you, because thats what you do for them. However, sometimes that is not the case, and that gives rise to insecurities and thus small fights like this just so you can grab your partners attention.
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Your Relationship Leaves You On Top Of The World One Day Really Low The Next
Addictive relationships can be like drugs in the sense that when the two of you have good moments, its so good its like nothing else matters. Of course, when you fight or you try to leave, there will then be the inevitable crash followed by feeling awful. You might even feel physically sick if you try to walk away from an addictive relationship, manifesting similar symptoms to someone withdrawing from a drug. This is one of the very obvious signs of being addicted to a person and should serve as a warning bell for everyone!
Search For Drug Paraphernalia
Parents of children who may be suffering from addiction may want to search their childs belongings for drug paraphernalia. Everyone is entitles to some personal privacy however, a childs wellbeing is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver, and searching from drugs or alcohol may be warranted in some cases. Psychology Today recommends taking this step if you have reason to believe your child is using illegal substances.
If the person in question is an adult, it can be trickier to search for drug paraphernalia. While you dont want to invade personal space, you can certainly look for such paraphernalia in shared living spaces. If uncertain whether or not to search the individuals personal space, consult with a therapist or addiction professional beforehand.
The U.S. Department of Justice lists the following common forms of drug paraphernalia:
- Pipes: These can be made from various materials, including wood, glass, ceramic, plastic, and acrylic.
- Water pipes or bongs: These are often made of glass, and draw the smoke through water to cool it before it is inhaled.
- Miniature spoons: Spoons are often used to dissolve drugs in liquid before they are injected.
- Chillums: These are cylindrical pipes used to smoke marijuana
- Injection needles: These are used to inject certain drugs like heroin or crushed prescription painkillers .
- Cigarette papers: These are used to roll joints filled with drugs that are then smoked.
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You Build Up A Tolerance And Can Experience Withdrawal Symptoms
These signs pertain largely to substance addiction, including addiction to food. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence , tolerance builds up when “a person’s body adapts to a substance to the point that they need more and more of it in order to have the same reaction.”
Withdrawal symptoms can include any feelings or sickness that occur as a result of not fulfilling an addiction. Anxiety, shaking, jumpiness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting are a few of many examples, according to the NCADD.
Loss Of Interest In Activities
Someone who is addicted to marijuana will prioritize their drug use over other aspects of their life. They will likely cut back on activities that previously brought them joy or withdraw from them altogether.
A person with marijuana addiction may struggle to maintain healthy relationships with their friends and family if they withdraw from socializing in order to use the drug.
In addition, marijuana dependence has been linked with a lack of motivation. Someone who is addicted may lack the drive to engage in activities, pursue goals, or keep up with responsibilities, including school and work.
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When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone using substances, even socially, should discuss them with a doctor to ensure safe use and monitor for signs or symptoms of addiction.
However, a person with addiction may not be ready or willing to seek professional medical help, regardless of the negative impacts it is having on their health and wellness.
If a person experiences a substance overdose, those around them should seek emergency medical assistance immediately. A person who has recovered from an overdose may want to seek professional help to treat their addiction.
When a person is ready and wants help with their addiction, they may wish to contact a medical professional to discuss options for treatment. These options include rehab, therapy, detox, and medication.
- medical devices to treat withdrawal
- treating related psychological factors, such as depression
- ongoing care to reduce the risk of relapse
Addiction treatment is highly personalized and often requires the support of the individuals community or family.
Treatment can take a long time and may be complicated. Addiction is a chronic condition with a range of psychological and physical effects. Each substance or behavior may require different management techniques.
A person with addiction can find many organizations that may help them. A person can also call a hotline for help with their addiction.
The following organizations can be helpful for a person with addiction:
What Are The Signs Of Meth Use
Methamphetamine is notorious for its adverse effects. The illegal and highly addictive drug can devastate a persons health. Most people have seen frightening before-and-after pictures of meth addicts, but in many cases, the signs that someone is on meth or uses meth regularly may not be obvious.
If you suspect that someone you know, perhaps even a family member, has a problem with meth, its important to know all the signs so that you can stage an intervention and help them find treatment. If you need answers about treatment for meth abuse, please contact a dedicated recovery provider today.
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Throughout the week, SADAG will be launching an online campaign called #RealConvos sharing important conversation starters, helpful tips on what to say and what not to say, sharing expert videos, and resources on how to talk about Teen Suicide Prevention. You dont need special training to have an open, authentic genuine conversation about mental health. Often, just talking about it can be the first important step in staying connected. Access our online toolkit for our online resources, webinars and more.
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You Avoid Social Situations That Don’t Involve Your Addiction
Often times, people with addiction will alienate themselves from social situations in which they aren’t able to pursue their addiction as a result, they might start to make up excuses. If you find yourself skipping out on a necessary chat with a friend because she wants to meet up at a non-smoking bar, your addiction to smoking might be overshadowing other needs.
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Don’t Tell Them What To Do
You want to help your loved one with their addiction in any way you can, but you can’t control exactly how they do it. They may have unconventional ways of looking at their addiction, or maybe they’re experimenting with alternative therapies or treatments.
As long as they aren’t causing more harm to themselves or others in the process, you can show them that you respect their way of making positive changes. Rather than dictating what they must do, ask them how you can help.
For instance, saying “Why haven’t you gotten help already?,” or telling them what they “should” and “shouldn’t” do comes across as condescending. You want to avoid putting added pressure on them and instead, be a trusted friend that they feel safe with.
You should just quit cold turkey. It worked for someone else I know.
I want you to feel your best. I can help you research treatment centers or therapists if you’d like.
Signs Of Pill Addiction
Signs of addiction behaviors are not always conclusive evidence that your loved one has a drug problem, but if you notice that your loved one is exhibiting behavioral signs on a consistent basis it can mean that there is a problem. Each drug or alcohol-type has its own unique set of effects that can influence the addicts behavior. It is important to be aware of the variety of behaviors that often accompany drug and alcohol addiction, especially if your loved one is not acting like his usual self. Signs someone is addicted to pills may include any of the following:
Erratic or strange behavior can also be symptoms of the effects of painkillers. Being overly sensitive, defensive or hostile can be other effects of addictive pills. Any consistent behavior that is not the usual behavior of your loved one can be a sign that something is amiss.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at . Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.
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Can You Be Addicted To Someone Sexually Yes
One of the most searched questions on the internet is can you be addicted to someone sexually? Yes, you can! Especially in addictive relationships, sexual addiction becomes a major issue as often times you can feel that the only attention that you might get from your partner would be from sex. This makes you desperate and you try to do anything and everything you can to keep your partners attention, including possibly engaging in activities that you might not be comfortable with. This ultimately serves as one of the major signs of being addicted to a person.
How To Tell If Someones Using Heroin
Not every heroin user spends their time in grimy back alleys with dirty clothes and scabs on their faces. In fact, very few of them do: heroin is a drug that allows many of its users to be functional addicts.
This means that theyre able to hold regular jobs, attend family functions, and go to school. This can make it very difficult to identify whether or not someone is using heroin because it may seem like they are living a normal life.
There are a number of physical and behavioral signs that may be exhibited by heroin users, however. Some of the most common include:
- Pinprick pupils. This is a very telling sign: heroin constricts the pupils of a user to a very small size.
- Pale complexion. Many heroin users have a very pale complexion.
- Being gaunt, sudden weight loss. Many heroin users dont follow their normal diet and lose weight quickly.
- Unkempt, messy hair and clothes. If the individual was once prim and proper but now neglects to take care of their appearance, this indicates that something has changed in their lives.
- Track marks, small scabs on the arms, legs, or neck where they have used a needle to inject heroin.
Keep in mind that some of these symptoms may be indicative of another mental or physical health problem, and that these options should be explored as well. However, if youre certain that the symptoms youre seeing indicate a heroin problem, you should move on to the next step.
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Behavioral Signs Of Heroin Use
Behavioral signs of heroin addiction include visual signs, patterns, and changes that occur due to an individual putting their use of heroin first. Some common behavioral signs of heroin use include, but are not limited to:
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, school, or with family and friends.
- Frequent concern about finances, including frequently borrowing money from family or friends.
- Being Secretive.
- Frequent tardiness or absenteeism at work, home, school, or social events.
- Lifestyle changes or changes in behavior.
- Social isolation.
- Wearing long-sleeve shirts, even in warm weather, to hide track marks.
- Hostility toward others.
- Periods of hyperactivity followed by periods of exhaustion.
- Erratic behavior.
Thoughtfully Choose Your Words
Remember that language matters, and communicate as respectfully as possible. Avoid using language that promotes harmful stereotypes about addiction. Some words can negatively influence how people with addictions feel about themselves and about their ability to recover.
For instance, people often use the word “clean” to describe someone who is drug-free. However, the use of the word clean implies that the person who is addicted is “dirty” when they are using drugs.
Avoid calling them names like “addict” or “junkie.” A person’s addiction shouldn’t define who they are. Being called an “addict” can feel dehumanizing. Try using person-first language, such as “person with an addiction.”
I’m sorry you’re struggling with your addiction. I am here to help support you.
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How Addictions Can Affect You
The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. In the case of substance misuse , an addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects.
Some studies suggest a person’s risk of becoming addicted is partly genetic, but environmental factors, such as being around other people with addictions, are also thought to increase the risk.
Behaviours such as substance misuse can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and poverty can trigger addiction, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.
Is Marijuana Addictive
is uncommon and can only be diagnosed in severe cases. Only a small percentage of people who use weed will develop what is known as cannabis use disorder. The number rises significantly for those who started using weed in their teens, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse .
If someone you know uses pot occasionally and it doesn’t disrupt their life, they likely do not have an addiction to marijuana.
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