How To Help A Drug Addict
The first thing that you need to know is that the difficulties involved with stopping substance use are complex. Using drugs or alcohol affects areas of the brain associated with self-control. As an individual keeps using drugs or alcohol, the way these areas of the brain function are changed, making it difficult to stop or otherwise control compulsive substance use.1 It is also important to know that it is unlikely that you alone can make them quit using drugs. However, loved ones of drug addicts can help them get off drugs by supporting their motivation to change.
Encouraging your loved one that seeking some form of professional help for addiction is a positive step towards recovering from drug and alcohol abuse can put them on the path towards a sober life. Whether you are seeking help for a problem with alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, crystal methamphetamine or any other addiction, recovery is possible.
Take Our Marijuana Addiction Self
Take our free, 5-minute marijuana addiction self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with a marijuana dependency. The evaluation consists of 10 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a marijuana use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
Can You Cure Yourself Of Drug Addiction
Actor Charlie Sheen, known for his heavy cocaine use, has been stating in interviews that he freed himself of his drug habit. How likely is that?
When asked recently on The Today Show how he cured himself of his addiction, Two and a Half Men sitcom star Charlie Sheen replied, “I closed my eyes and made it so with the power of my mind.”
*Correction : This sentence was edited after posting. LSD and methadone were removed, whereas methamphetamine and MDMA were added to the list of neurotoxic drugs.
Don’t Miss: Rehab Addiction And Mental Health
Which Drugs Are Hardest To Quit
Some substances are notoriously addictive and, some drugs may be harder to quit than others. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that some of the most commonly used addictive substances include marijuana, synthetic marijuana , prescription opioids, prescription stimulants , sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics.6
Overcoming addiction is possible but it often requires a combination of approaches to achieve the best outcome. Treatment may include:10,11
Remember that, if you are suffering from a drug overdose, be sure to call 911 immediately or make your way to the nearest physician.
Take Our Substance Abuse Self
Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
About Compulsory Treatment For Addiction
From Auckland Regional HealthPathways accessed August 2020:
The Substance Addiction Act 2017 enables people to receive compulsory treatment if they have a severe substance addiction that is posing a serious danger to their health or safety and their capacity to make decisions about treatment for that addiction is severely impaired. It should only be used as a last resort if voluntary treatment is unlikely to be effective.
Compulsory treatment aims to help stabilise the patient through medical treatment, including medically managed withdrawal, and, if possible, to restore the patient’s capacity to make informed decisions about their own treatment and to give them an opportunity to engage in voluntary treatment.
The aims of the Act are to:
- protect the person from harm.
- allow their addiction to be assessed.
- stabilise the person’s health .
- protect and enhance their mana and dignity and restore their capacity to make informed decisions.
- facilitate continued treatment and care on a voluntary basis.
- provide an opportunity to engage in voluntary addiction treatment.
The compulsory status lasts for a maximum of 8 weeks but that period may be extended for a further 8 weeks if the person has a brain injury.
Action Steps For Quitting An Addiction
Because change is so difficult, it’s useful to have a guide when attempting to kick an addiction to drugs, alcohol or behavior. Research shows that the following steps can help you move toward your recovery goals. You have the greatest chance of success if you adopt all five steps.
1. Set a quit date. It might be helpful to choose a meaningful date like a special event, birthday, or anniversary.
2. Change your environment. Remove any reminders of your addiction from your home and workplace. For example, separate from those who would encourage you to be involved with the object of your addiction . If you are trying to quit drinking, get rid of any alcohol, bottle openers, wine glasses, and corkscrews. If you’re trying to quit gambling, remove any playing cards, scratch tickets, or poker chips. Also, don’t let other people use or bring reminders of the addiction-related substance or behavior into your home.
3. Distract yourself. Instead of giving in to an urge to use, come up with alternative activities, such as going for a walk or calling a friend or family member to talk, so that you keep busy until the urge passes. Be prepared to deal with things that trigger your cravings, such as being in an environment where others are using.
4. Review your past attempts at quitting. Think about what worked and what did not. Consider what might have contributed to relapse and make changes accordingly.
Image: D-Keine/Getty Images
You May Like: Does Addiction Run In Families
Admit There Is A Problem
The hardest part to recovery is admitting you have an addiction. Substance use disorders affect the brain causing it to look for excuses and justifications to keep using.
Admitting a problem shows you have the courage to face your addiction and its underlying causes.
There are several places to turn to for help however, having a solid support system is essential in any treatment approach you choose. If you are not ready to turn to friends or family, consider talking to a therapist, doctor, or rehab facility.
What Is Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long-lasting. These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who use drugs. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop.
The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes compulsive. This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug exposure on brain function. Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior.
Addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and behavior.
Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center In North Carolina
Crest View Recovery Center is an addiction rehab facility in Asheville, NC. Our treatment center specializes in an innovative form of reality therapy, with access to a variety of quality rehab programs. All programs allow each individual to focus their attention on getting better.
Dont let addiction take over your life. You can learn the skills necessary to overcome addiction issues. Contact us today to discover how the treatment professionals at Crest View Recovery Center can help you.
Admit You Have A Problem
The first step in quitting drugs is to admit that you have a problem. If youre not sure, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you taking drugs first thing in the morning or to get through the day?
- Do friends or family worry or complain about your drug use?
- Do you lie about how much youre using?
- Have you sold possessions or stolen to pay for your drug habit?
- Have you participated in dangerous or risky activities, such as driving under the influence, having unprotected sex, or using dirty needles?
- Do you feel that youve lost control of your drug taking?
- Are you having problems with relationships?
If you answered yes to any of these questions it might be time to accept that you have a problem and ask for help.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With An Addicted Spouse
What Quitting Drugs Feels Like
When you reduce or quit using drugs your body goes through a detoxification process or withdrawal.
Symptoms vary between people, and between drugs, and range from mild to serious. They can last from a few days to a few weeks it’s different for every person but they are temporary. Cravings for the drug will sometimes be weak and at other times very strong. Learning how to manage them is important for staying drug-free.
Find out what withdrawal symptoms are for specific drugs.
What Makes A Person Quitting Meth Relapse
Many things can contribute to a meth relapse. Cravings are an obvious factor, but the psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal can contrast vividly with how meth makes someone feel. Thinking about these feelings can be enough to push someone back into using meth.
Its also important to consider the underlying problems that drive people to meth in the first place, as well as the habits and triggers that support meth use. For example, one person may use meth to escape from the realities of past abuse they may be triggered into meth use whenever they feel rejected or inadequate. Another person may use meth in party situations to make themselves feel more socially competent they may be triggered to use meth when they anticipate being at a social event.
The underlying psychological drivers are complex and often occur on a subconscious level, and they will be very different for each individual. This is why working with a professional therapist to identify triggers and subconscious drives is vital to long-term success.
Also Check: Is Tramadol An Addictive Drug
What Are Substance Abuse And Addiction
The difference between substance abuse and addiction is very slight. Substance abuse means using an illegal substance or using a legal substance in the wrong way. Addiction begins as abuse, or using a substance like marijuana or cocaine.
You can abuse a drug without having an addiction. For example, just because Sara smoked pot a few times doesn’t mean that she has an addiction, but it does mean that she’s abusing a drug and that could lead to an addiction.
People can get addicted to all sorts of substances. When we think of addiction, we usually think of alcohol or illegal drugs. But people become addicted to medicines, cigarettes, even glue.
Some substances are more addictive than others: Drugs like crack or heroin are so addictive that they might only be used once or twice before the user loses control.
Addiction means a person has no control over whether he or she uses a drug or drinks. Someone who’s addicted to cocaine has grown so used to the drug that he or she has to have it. Addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.
Tip #: Seek Specialty Help
If you need assistance with financial issues or legal issues it may be helpful to talk to attorney providers that are covered. There are organizations that provide services on a sliding scale fee and you can often find those by calling your local Mental Health Agency or United Way. Local churches may also provide some low or no cost counseling.
Recommended Reading: How To Know If Your Addicted To Alcohol
Ways To Help A Heroin Addict Quit
Heroin is one of the most difficult drugs in the world to quit. Even though quitting cold turkey is possible, it isnt recommended. The withdrawal symptoms of heroin can be highly uncomfortable and many individuals have difficulty resisting the temptation to relapse. Some individuals even resort to self-harm during the withdrawal process. Fortunately, you dont have to be a medical professional to help a heroin addict better themselves.
Dont Look Down On Them
Being upset with your spouse around behaviors displayed in active addiction is normal, but constantly scolding them for their mistakes might only intensify the situation. Drugs and alcohol cause impaired judgment, so your loved one might not always be behaving logically. This can be frustrating to watch because you understand that deep down, they know what is right or wrong.
Avoid judging your loved one for struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction and be mindful of the language you use when you speak to them. They dont need to hear something hurtful such as calling them an embarrassment or using a derogatory term like junkie or addict. All they need from you is support and love, not judgment.
You May Like: Long Term Recovery From Addiction
Find A Way To Fill Your Days
While getting high, its easy to leave hobbies in the dust for drug use. Things like running, video games, reading, writing and athletic teams get neglected in favor of buying drugs and partying. Unfortunately, after these kinds of lifestyle changes, its easy to feel as though theres no reason to live without drug use.
Instead of finding yourself with idle time and letting temptation take over, use your newfound sobriety to reexplore your former passions. Join a running club, buy a new game, buy some new books or take up an instrument. With something new to think about and take up time in your day, its easier to leave drugs in the rearview mirror.
Why Meth Addiction Treatment Is Highly Recommended
Recovery is more likely to be successful with the support of medical experts who are trained in helping people through the process. Professional addiction treatment provides what is called a therapeutic milieu a supportive and inclusive environment that allows people to heal without fearing judgment. This includes behavioral therapies, peer support and other environmental considerations that help with treating addiction.
The mental health and addiction specialists who work in rehab centers also play a vital role in recovery, helping clients identify subconscious thoughts and beliefs that influence their behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common type of treatment used in rehab facilities, and the approach has a good record of success.
Recommended Reading: Living With An Addict Book
Ways To Reduce Or Quit Drugs
There is no treatment that works for everyone. Just as drugs affect each person differently, treatment needs to be individual. Its important to find a program that works for you.
Treatment options range from counselling through to hospital care it depends on which drugs are involved and how serious your dependence or addiction is. They include:
- going cold turkey you stop taking drugs suddenly, with no outside help or support
- counselling and lifestyle changes individual or group therapy can help you learn to cope without drugs. This can be successful if your drug use has been mild. Peer support groups are often run by recovered addicts their personal experience can be helpful to others
- detoxification you stop taking drugs and have medical treatment while your body clears the drug from your system
- rehabilitation this is a longer term treatment where you stay in a hospital or clinic, or at home. It also involves psychological treatment to help you deal with issues that may have contributed to your drug use
If you have mental health issues your treatment will need to address that at the same time for your overall treatment to be effective.
How Do Behavioral Therapies Treat Drug Addiction
Behavioral therapies help people in drug addiction treatment modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use. As a result, patients are able to handle stressful situations and various triggers that might cause another relapse. Behavioral therapies can also enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people remain in treatment longer.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy seeks to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they’re most likely to use drugs.
- Contingency management uses positive reinforcement such as providing rewards or privileges for remaining drugfree, for attending and participating in counseling sessions, or for taking treatment medications as prescribed.
- Motivational enhancement therapy uses strategies to make the most of people’s readiness to change their behavior and enter treatment.
- Family therapy helps people with drug use problems, as well as their families, address influences on drug use patterns and improve overall family functioning.
- Twelve-step facilitation is an individual therapy typically delivered in 12 weekly session to prepare people to become engaged in 12-step mutual support programs. 12-step programs, like Alcoholic Anonymous, are not medical treatments, but provide social and complementary support to those treatments. TSF follows the 12-step themes of acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in recovery.
You May Like: How To Get Over Phone Addiction
What Not To Do If You Want To Help An Addict
Living with an addict can cause stress, frustration, and unhappiness. The experience can deeply affect you. Understandably, your instinct would be to do everything to stop the addiction. You feel pressured to help your loved one. But you don’t have to do everything.
Here’s a list of what NOT to do if you want to help an addict:
Things To Think About Before You Start
If youre thinking of taking steps to stop taking drugs or cut down, dont be afraid to reach out for help. Its much easier to make positive changes when youve got help and support from other people.
- Speak to your doctor about your worries. Theyll be able to give you advice and useful information.
- If you can, talk to family and friends about your drug use. Asking for help can make a big difference, especially in the first few weeks.
- Find your nearest drug service. You can search for your nearest service and look at treatment options further down the page.
- Join a peer support group like Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous.
If you have a dependency, please speak to a professional before stopping using suddenly, so you can carefully manage any withdrawal symptoms.