Have I Noticed Drugs Interfering With My Loved Ones Life
Sometimes you may know when a family member or friend is using drugs. Perhaps they started out using a drug recreationally, or maybe they had a prescription for the drug. For example, opioids are a common class of drugs prescribed to manage pain. Approximately 2.1 million people in the United States have developed substance abuse disorders stemming from prescription opioid use, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Often, your instinct is to allow your loved ones to make their own decisions. They tell you they can handle the drug, and you think it is not your place to tell them what to do. It can be difficult to break away from that line of thought, but when you ask yourself if youve seen drugs starting to affect your loved ones life, youll start thinking about how to speak up. You can ask yourself if youve noticed your family member or friend:
- Skipping important obligations in favor of finding or using drugs
- Taking the drug more often and in higher doses
- Continuing to use the drug even though it affects them poorly
- Exhibiting any withdrawal symptoms
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.
When Should You Decide To Talk To Someone About Their Addiction
The moment you suspect a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol is the time to start talking to them about getting help. The longer someone uses drugs, the more involved with the addictive lifestyle they become. It is never too early to begin discussing addiction, in fact, prevention is the most effective method for combatting drug abuse. After it is a known problem though, how can you be sure they are staying sober and what are the signals that you should confront them?
The changes in their lifestyle may be a gradual change, not marked by significant events. Without clear landmark moments in their behavior, it can be unclear when it is time to confront them. It is likely that someone spiraling out of control will be arrested for drug-related activities, develop an extensive criminal record and possibly cause irreparable harm to others while driving intoxicated. Rarely do addicts go cold turkey and not relapse, so promises of change should be viewed skeptically if not accompanied by commitments such as rehabilitation. Recovering from an addiction demands professional help and ongoing support services provided by FHE Health.
Recommended Reading: How To Help People With Addiction
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.
Dont Force Them To Quit
When it comes to addiction, tough love rarely works. There are some states that allow court-ordered rehab if the person is a danger to themselves or others. However, ultimatums or forcing your loved one into treatment is not the best route because it usually only works temporarily. If your partner is not ready to get sober, they are likely to go right back to their old habits once they leave rehab. Its important for them to be motivated for the process in order to sustain long-term growth and change.
As mentioned previously, you can set boundaries such as telling your loved one that you will remove yourself from their presence when they are using. Or you can tell them that you dont feel safe with any drugs or alcohol in the house. This lets your spouse know what you expect moving forward and the boundary is for you you are not trying to control their behavior. Demanding that your husband or wife needs to go to a rehabilitation center will likely create more division. They must be the one that wants to change.
Recommended Reading: What Are The Physical And Psychological Signs Of Alcohol Addiction
What To Expect When A Loved One Receives Treatment
Once your loved one has decided to begin treatment, it can be helpful to know what to expect. The answer depends on a variety of factors including:
- The severity of your loved one’s condition
- The duration and frequency of their substance or alcohol use
- Past attempts at recovery
- Motivation and commitment to recovery
- Support and assistance available
Long-term treatment and recovery will last for months or even years. Overall progress and setbacks during recovery can extend the duration of treatment.
During this time, there are things that you can do to offer support. Learning more about the treatment process and offering help with immediate needssuch as driving them to appointments or attending support group meetings with themare all ways that you can support recovery.
What To Know About How To Confront A Drug Addict
If youre at the point in your life where you cant stand by any longer and watch an addict destroy themselves, you may be wondering how to confront an addict. Its a difficult situation when youre confronting an addict because they may be in denial or they may become defensive and unwilling to have the conversation that needs to be had.
When youre confronting someone about drug use, they may see what youre saying as a criticism or an unnecessary concern, and they may lash out at you.
While learning how to confront a family member on drugs or another loved one is difficult, its also necessary.
The following are some specific things to keep in mind when youre confronting someone about drug use and addiction:
Other tips for how to confront a drug addict include:
For a lot of people, the best way to learn how to confront a drug addict is to stage an intervention with the help of a professional therapist or interventionist. This allows a group of loved ones to come together and plan what theyll say when confronting an addict. This can help alleviate some of the tendency to lose your temper or become overly emotional. The ultimate objective of an intervention is to motivate the addict to seek treatment for their addiction.
You May Like: How Often Do Addicts Relapse
Tips For Helping Someone With An Addiction
The challenge with addiction is that the addict is not the only one impacted by this disease. Family and friends can have difficulty with the addicts behavior, financial problems, legal problems and the daily struggle of supporting a loved one. Here are seven tips that family and friends can reference to support an addicted family member or friend.
How Can I Tell If My Friend Is Addicted To Drugs
Their behaviour, their physical appearance, and certain stuff in their environment can provide clues as to whether your friend might be addicted to drugs.
- sudden changes in behaviour or mood swings
- withdrawal from family members and old friendship groups
- carelessness about personal grooming
- loss of interest in hobbies, sports or other favourite activities
- neglect of responsibilities.
- red, glassy or bloodshot eyes, or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal
- sniffing or a runny nose
- frequent nosebleeds
- shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination
- sudden weight loss or weight gain.
The following items could also be a sign of addiction:
- spoons and syringes
- small, resealable baggies that could be used to store drugs
- pipes, plastic bottles, or cans that have been pierced or tampered with
- burnt foil
- stuff missing, such as money, valuables or prescription drugs.
You May Like: How Many Heroin Addicts Recover
How Can I Find Help For Dealing With An Addict
If you are seeking help for dealing with your loved one, there are support groups that may be helpful to you, including:
- Al-Anon, a support group for people who love someone with a substance use issue.
- Codependents Anonymous, a support group for those who want to break free of codependent behaviors.
- Go to 1-on-1 cognitive behavioral therapy, or another type of therapy that is right for you. This will help you deal with being a codependent person who loves someone struggling with a substance use disorder.
How To Confront Someone About Addiction
Addiction causes difficulties and awkwardness where it doesnt have to exist. If you had a friend or a family member who was waylaid by any other prolonged illness, you would probably be right there to lend a hand. But when someone you care is about is abusing alcohol or drugs, it can be hard to know the right things to say or do. But thats precisely the point addiction is a medical condition, just like other chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. And, just like those other conditions, addiction must be managed or it can be life-threatening. You, as someone close to the substance abuser, might be the only person who is in a position to talk to them and influence them to seek drug or alcohol treatment. Every day that you wait for risks their life.
You May Like: How Many People Are Affected By Addiction
What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Find Out A Suitable Intervention Approach
An intervention enables you to confront your loved one and encourage them to seek treatment. However, there are different types of interventions.
A simple intervention may involve just one person confronting the addict and offering their support. Alternatively, a classic intervention involves numerous people facing the addict. Typically, a group comprised of family members and close friends will explain how the addicts behavior is impacting them and what the consequences of this are, before encouraging them to seek treatment.
Family Systems interventions may be beneficial when more than one person in a family unit is experiencing addiction or when there are problematic family dynamics at play. This type of intervention enables all family members to participate, with guidance from a professional.
If an addict is behaving dangerously or is at risk, a crisis intervention may be appropriate. This allows loved ones to take immediate action to prevent the addict from wreaking further destruction and potentially harming themselves.
Of course, each type of intervention can be varied to suit the individual and the dynamic. Some interventions are more confrontational and take a tough love approach, for example, while others are gentler and more friendly.
Also Check: Is Tramadol An Addictive Drug
Tips For Living With A Person In Recovery From Addiction
Once your loved one has left rehab or stopped doing drugs for a significant period of time, theyre considered a person in recovery. This means theyre still vulnerable to relapses, so its important to continue offering support and building trust so your loved one can come to you if they feel the urge to use substances again.
It can take time to trust a loved one again, especially if theyve lied, exhibited harmful behaviors, or stolen from you. You may need to work with a therapist to help you both reestablish the much-needed trust your relationship needs to thrive.
Also, dont be afraid to directly ask your loved one how theyre doing in the recovery phase. Asking them about any possible urges can help them talk out their feelings rather than giving into their impulses.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Your loved ones recovery from drug addiction can be a long process and the negative impact on your own health, outlook, and well-being can multiply over time. Its important you maintain a balance in your life to avoid burnout from all the stress and frustration that comes from helping someone get clean.
Find support. Expressing what youre going through can be very cathartic, so look for support from trusted friends and family, or a peer support group for family members of drug addicts. Talking to others who are facing similar challenges can help you find comfort, reassurance, and new ways of coping.
Manage stress. The stress of witnessing someone you love battle addiction can take a heavy toll. You can reduce your stress levels by eating right, exercising regularly, sleeping well, and practicing a relaxation technique such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. Since stress levels can escalate when quitting drugs, you can even encourage your loved one to do the same.
Overcoming Addiction: Find an effective path toward recovery Special health report from Harvard Medical School.
Helplines and support
Support for sufferers of substance use disorders
In the U.S.: Call the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-4357.
Canada: Download the PDF Finding Quality Addiction Care from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.
Support for families and loved ones
How To Confront An Addict In Denial
The truth is that it is possible your loved one has been thinking about seeking help and deep down they might be craving it. In addition, maybe they have just been waiting to see if anyone cares about them. So, you should really take the first step and figure out how to talk to someone on drugs. This will help you find the strength to reach out to your loved one.
You can also offer your loved one resources, including contact information and schedules for local support groups. You could also suggest that your loved one seek professional substance abuse counseling or addiction rehab. There are also inpatient and outpatient programs available for people who have addictions. You could recommend one to your loved one as a solution to their addiction issues. If they are nervous about getting treatment, you could volunteer to go with them so they dont have to go alone.
Addiction recovery is an ongoing process, denial is part of the process. Overcoming denial is a step towards sobriety. Watching someone suffering from an addiction can be frustrating, stressful, and difficult. Knowing how to talk to drug addicts can help a person express themselves to a loved one who has an addiction. Although you should remember if you have a loved one who has a drug or alcohol addiction, it is a good idea to express your concerns to them when they are sober. Dont place blame on your loved one. Stay positive and speak with them regarding their addiction.
What Are The Dangers Of Drug Abuse
Substance abuse is dangerous and often leads to alcohol and drug addiction. There is also a risk of overdose, which can result in death. Contrary to belief, no amount of substance abuse is safe there is always a potential for short and long-term damage to a persons health and well-being.
Substance abuse often leads to addiction, known medically as a substance use disorder . Addiction is a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape without professional help and treatment.
If you are worried that a family member or someone you know is abusing substances, you must seek guidance on how to support them. You could either talk to a medical professional or call us. Alternatively, you can contact a helpline through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration for 24/7 free and confidential advice.
Also Check: How To Stop Coffee Addiction
What Warning Signs Have I Seen
There may be one particular incident that pushes you toward talking to your loved one about addiction. However, there have probably been many other signs often subtle youve noticed along the way. Indications of addiction to look for in your family member or friend include:
- Change in Appearance Is my normally well-dressed loved one neglecting their personal appearance?
- Health Issues Is my loved one suffering from new health issues?
- Altered Behavior Have I noticed major changes in how my loved one is acting?
- Different Spending Habits Has my loved one asked me for money without giving a reason?
- Issues at School or Work Does my loved one skip school or work frequently or have a dramatic change in performance?
You may not even know for sure that your loved one is using drugs, but these questions can help you determine if your spouse, family member or friend is using and trending toward addiction.