S For Overcoming Drug Addiction
Bear in mind that stopping taking drugs is only one part of recovery from addiction. Strategies that help people stay in treatment and follow their recovery plan are essential. Along with medical and mental health treatments, the following are steps you can take to help overcome substance use disorder.
Reflect On Your Addiction
Take time to reflect on what is important to you, how addiction has negatively affected you, and how your life will improve with sobriety.
The easiest way to reflect effectively is to keep a daily journal. With a journal, you can help yourself start a plan to stop addiction to help identify patterns, triggers, goals, and motivators.
Medications Used In Recovery From Addiction
Jennifer Melamed, MD
Reprinted from the “Medications” issue of Visions Journal, 2007, 4 , pp. 9-10
The core symptoms of drug addiction are a powerful and unexplainable compulsion and a craving to use a drug. Compulsions can cause you to continue using a drug even when you dont want to, and cravings can cause you to start using a drug again after all your best efforts to quit. These are the key focus areas that we addiction physicians pay most attention to in terms of treatment.
New medications in the field of addiction medicine are providing us with ways to help our patients stay drug and alcohol free. Therapy has always involved a combination of psychological and social healing. We now have a growing number of pharmacological treatments aids to add tonot replacethe standard therapies.
The type of addiction medication used varies according to which substance a patient is addicted.
Using bupropion and an NRS together or individually will double your chance of quitting smoking. If varenicline on its own is used instead of bupropion and/or NRSs, you have a four times greater chance of quitting compared to using no aids.
Opiates are a group of medications used to relieve pain. However, in some people they can become addictive. They can induce a euphoric-type high. Opiates are either derived from the seeds of the opium poppy or manufactured synthetically. The opiate group includes both legal prescription opiates and illegal street drugs .
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What If The Person Doesnt Want Help For Drugs Or Alcohol
Ultimately, its the persons decision whether to seek professional help. Many people who misuse drugs or alcohol find it hard to ask for help at first, but may want to reach out later on. Be careful not to nag the person, since this might discourage them from opening up in the future.
Clearly state any behaviours you expect, or wont tolerate, from the person. You might not accept drug use in your home, for example.
Encourage the person to use safely to minimise the risk of harming themselves for example, through needle and syringe programs or opioid replacement programs.
Find an NSP in your state or territory here. You can also use the healthdirect Service Finder to find one near you. Select By name and type needle into the search bar.
Its important to know that you cant force the person to stop using drugs or alcohol. Only they can choose to change.
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.
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What Drugs Lead To Addiction
Drugs that are commonly misused include:
- Synthetic cannabinoids .
- Synthetic cathinones .
- Tobacco/nicotine and electronic cigarettes .
While these drugs are very different from each other, they all strongly activate the addiction center of the brain. That is what makes these substances habit-forming, while others are not.
Why Do People Often Need Medical Assistance For Detox And Withdrawal
Drugs and alcohol will rewire the brains risk and reward neural pathways. When someone starts abusing a substance, the chemical compounds in the drug will directly impact the way the brain functions. In substance use disorder, a persons body and brain have become so used to having the substance, that the person is unable to function without it. When someone stops taking drugs or alcohol when they are dependent and addicted, they will experience a range of painful and distressing withdrawal symptoms as their body attempts to rid itself of toxins and return to a natural state of equilibrium.
Withdrawal symptoms can be both psychologically and physically distressing. In severe cases, withdrawals can also be dangerous. For example, people who have been addicted to alcohol for a long time may experience a condition called delirium tremens, or DT, when they attempt to quit drinking. DT is a seizure disorder that can be life-threatening. Also, painful withdrawal symptoms can influence someone to retake drugs or start taking a replacement drug to get some relief from their pain.
When it comes to treating drug abuse and addiction, many people are understandably fearful of the pain they will feel when they attempt to detox from drugs. Knowing that a rehab center uses medications to treat and address symptoms can positively impact someone to seek treatment and achieve sobriety.
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What Should I Do
Worrying about a friends drug use is stressful, and how you choose to deal with it is up to you. You might try to help your friend, you might decide to put up with it and not say much, or you might decide to step back and not offer much support.
There are pros and cons to each of these choices, and its essential you think of your own wellbeing when you decide on which approach to take. It may be that you need support and/or professional help yourself too.
Understanding The Nature Of Addiction
For a long time, addiction was treated as a moral or spiritual failing of the addicted person. There was a perception that anyone who abused drugs or alcohol lacked discipline and self-control and did not deserve help with addiction. But years of scientific and medical research have revealed that addiction is much more complex than previously thought.
In short, addiction changes the way the brain understands pleasure. The reward circuit in the brain is altered when drug use begins. Initial drug-taking is voluntary, and not everyone who takes a substance becomes addicted, which is due to several different factors, from genetics and biology to a persons environment.
As drug use continues, however, the brain becomes used to these dopamine surges, a pleasure-inducing chemical brought on by drug use. As a result, it seeks out these experiences more and more, which only encourages more drug-taking.
The brain begins to develop a tolerance, though, when the initial amount of drugs a person takes is no longer effective at creating the same euphoric sensation. At this stage, the effects of drug addiction begin to spread out to other parts of the brain.
Addiction does change a person physically , but the most destructive changes are the cognitive and behavioral changes that propagate addiction. With that said, the people closest to a drug-addicted person may not recognize their problem right away or even after it has started.
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How Can I Help
It can feel daunting to confront a mate about their drug use, but its important for friends to help each other. You may feel hurt by things theyve done, but remember that they probably didnt intend to hurt you. Addiction drives the best people to make poor decisions.
Acknowledge that your friend might not see their drug use as a problem
Without an understanding that theres a problem, there wont be a solution. Be honest with your friend about what you think the problem is, and make sure they understand that abusing drugs is a serious issue.
Talk to your friend about your concerns
Talk about the negative effects of addiction in terms of something your friend really cares about. They might not be worried about their health or about getting through uni, but they may really care that someone they love is suffering because of their addiction.
Be positive and let your friend know that youre there for them
Help them stay focused on positive goals that dont include drugs. Support and acknowledge the positive things they do and achieve, and dont abandon your friend when they slip up it will probably take time for them to turn things around.
Avoid using emotional appeals
Dont try to guilt-trip them, and dont preach, bribe or threaten them this will only upset them and push them away.
Find Support For Yourself
Being in a relationship with a person who has a substance use disorder is often stressful. It’s important that you accept that what you are going through is difficult and seek support. There are many resources that exist for this purpose.
Consider joining a support group, for instance, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Children and teens can get support from Alateen. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a variety of resources designed to provide insight and support for families of addicts.
It’s also essential to develop stress management strategies. This is an important step in helping you help your loved one. These strategies will help you cope with the stressors you will likely encounter when helping a friend or family member seek and receive help with an addiction.
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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 Do I Tell My Kid Im Going To Rehab
We recommend having an honest discussion with your children about entering into drug rehabilitation treatment. If you are unsure about how to discuss treatment with your family, Recovery Centers of America has on-staff interventionists and therapists who can guide you through the process of communicating with your kids and family members.
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Concerned About A Friend
Drugs can be a hard subject to discuss, especially if you think your friend or relative has a problem.
Try to stay open-minded and remember that, with the right help and support, most people overcome their use before any serious harm is caused. Also, even if you do offer support, they might not change their behaviour.
You or your friend can call FRANK anytime on for confidential advice.
Support Recovery As An Ongoing Process
Once your loved one decides to enter treatment, its essential that you remain involved. Continue supporting their participation in ongoing care, meetings and participate in support groups for families of addicts. Be the support system that they need, and show them that youll be there every step of the way.
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Supporting A Loved Ones Addiction Recovery
Theres no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming an addiction to drugs, and its rarely a process thats quick or straightforward. While you can support your loved one and encourage treatment, you cant force them to change or control their decision-making. Letting your loved one assume responsibility for their behavior and choices is an important step on their road to sobriety.
Adjust your expectations. Everyone is different. Recovery for one person may mean total abstinence from drugs. For another, it could mean cutting back or staying mostly drug-free. Being too rigid in your expectations can lead to disappointment and a sense of failure, even if your loved one finds stability in their life again.
Encourage your loved one to seek help. While some people are able to quit drugs on their own, the more help and support a person has, the better their chances of success. Offer to sit with your loved one while they call a helpline or accompany them to a doctors appointment, counseling session, or peer support group meeting.
Help plan for triggers and cravings. Your loved one will need to find ways to cope with drug cravings and triggers. You can help distract them with other activities or encourage them to learn how to ride out the urge, but ultimately, they have to be responsible for their own sobriety.
Tip #: Have Realistic Expectations
Dont preach or lecture to the addict. They are usually unable to hear what you are saying. Continue to hold them accountable to expectations and offer help to direct them to the treatment they need. Dont expect addicts to keep promises, they are not able to do so while in the process of their disease. Dont react with pity or anger. This only keeps you in the process with the addict.
If your loved one is ready to get help, visit our Alcohol and Drug Treatment page to find out more about getting a referral and assessment.You can also contact Legal Aid programs in your area to see if you qualify for those services or they may be able to direct you to someone who can assist you.
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Find Support For Your Addiction Recovery
Dont try to go it alonereach out for support. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having positive influences and a solid support system is essential. The more people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, the better your chances for recovery.
Lean on close friends and family. Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. If youre reluctant to turn to your loved ones because youve let them down before, consider going to relationship counseling or family therapy.
Build a sober social network.If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you may need to make some new connections. Its important to have sober friends who will support your recovery. Try taking a class, joining a church or a civic group, volunteering, or attending events in your community.
Consider moving into a sober living home. Sober living homes provide a safe, supportive place to live while youre recovering from drug addiction. They are a good option if you dont have a stable home or a drug-free living environment.
Make meetings a priority. Join a 12-step recovery support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous , and attend meetings regularly. Spending time with people who understand exactly what youre going through can be very healing. You can also benefit from the shared experiences of the group members and learn what others have done to stay sober.
Is Treatment For Drug Addiction Inpatient Or Outpatient
Both inpatient and outpatient treatment plans are available, depending on your needs. Treatment typically involves group therapy sessions that occur weekly for three months to a year.
Inpatient therapy can include:
- Therapeutic communities or sober houses, which are tightly controlled, drug-free environments.
Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can help you on the path to recovery. Self-help groups are also available for family members, including Al-Anon and Nar-Anon Family Groups. Participation in 12-step based recovery work has been proven to improve outcomes.
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Dont: Shame Or Criticize
Human nature sometimes forces us to shift the blame because its easier to understand a problem if we know its source. But the cause of addictions isnt so black and white, so theres never really just one thing to blame. Most importantly, the person with the addiction is not at fault for the disease.
Avoid implying or outright stating that your loved one is to blame for their addiction. Shaming or criticizing a family member who is struggling with an Alcohol Addiction or an Opioid Addiction is often counterproductive to their Recovery. While tough love may have a small part in helping an alcoholic spouse, this is not the place for it.
Part of practicing compassion for your loved one involves understanding that shaming your loved one may do them more harm than good. Instead, talk with positivity and encouragement, offering the idea of a future of successful long-term Recovery. Provide verbal and physical encouragement rather than lectures or nagging.
Its Not Easy To Approach A Person About Their Addiction But Its Often Necessary For Starting The Recovery Process Learn About Ways You Can Help A Loved One Take The First Step
Whether its a close friend or family member, helping someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction is often a long and heartbreaking journey. At times, it can be so overwhelming that ignoring the situation may seem like an easier solution. However, sweeping the issue under the rug can be damaging to you, your family and the person youre concerned about. As painful as it may be, its important that you take the time to encourage your loved one to get the help they need.
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How To Find Help For Drug Addiction Near Me
If you want to help your loved one recover and they agree to go to treatment, your next question may be where to find the drug addiction help your loved one needs. You might be in search of short-term detox programs near you or more long-term inpatient treatment. You can talk to a doctor or treatment specialist or research online resources including treatment directories. American Addiction Centers can help you find the best drug and alcohol treatment facilities near you and understand your options. Contact us for free at . You can also check your insurance coverage online now.