How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction
Maybe you arent the person struggling with addiction, but you have a loved one who is. What can you do? There are certain things out of your control and some steps you can take.
Drug addiction can and often does ruin your life. That doesnt mean that your life isnt salvageable, though. Whether youre personally in the midst of active addiction or you have a loved one who is, help exists.
Treatment for drug addiction, including alcohol or opioid addiction, requires behavioral therapies and in some cases medication-assisted treatment. Its also important any underlying mental health conditions receive treatment before the recovery process can begin.
The first step to facilitate a sense of hope is treatment. Call 866-600-7709 and reach out to the Anchored Tides Recovery team to learn more.
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What To Avoid When Talking To A Loved One About Addiction
When talking to a loved one about getting treatment for their addiction, here are some things to avoid:
- Preaching, lecturing, threatening or moralizing your loved one
- Emotional appeals that may increase the feelings of guilt and the compulsion to use drugs
- Lying or making excuses for their behavior
- Taking over their responsibilities doing this protects them from the consequences of their behavior
- Enabling their behavior by covering up the abuse or giving them money for drugs
- Arguing with your loved one when theyre using drugs during this time, your loved one wont be able to hold a rational conversation and likely wont be open to what you have to say
- Feeling guilty or responsible for their behavior its not your fault
If you feel that your loved one is abusing drugs, the best thing you can do is to encourage them to seek treatment for their addiction. Be loving and supportive, but also know that theyre likely going to make excuses for their behavior. Be firm in what you want, and keep encouraging them to get help. Although this isnt easy to do, its a critical first step in helping them achieve a healthy and happy life in recovery.
Key Steps To Drug Addiction Recovery
There are certain things that need to be considered as far as the war on drugs is concerned. Here are the five key steps that will lead your loved one to an effective and successful drug recovery:
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Symptoms Of Drug Abuse
There are many signs both physical and behavioral that indicate drug use. Each drug has its own unique manifestations, and symptoms of abuse vary from drug to drug. However, some general signs that your loved one may be addicted to drugs include:
- Sudden change in behavior
- Problems at school or work
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Becoming careless about personal grooming
- Loss of interest in hobbies, sports and other favorite activities
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Sudden requests for money or a spike in spending habits
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use or addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Understanding Your Loved Ones Substance Abuse
People start using drugs for a lot of different reasons. Many turn to substances to cope with the emotional pain of a mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Known as self-medicating, some people may be aware they have a mental health issue but are unable to find healthier ways of coping, while others remain undiagnosed and use drugs to manage specific symptoms.
Other people turn to drugs to change how they feel, to fit in, or to alleviate boredom or dissatisfaction with their lives. Then there are those whose substance abuse develops from a doctors well-intentioned efforts to treat a medical condition. Of all the people prescribed opioids to relieve pain, for example, estimates suggest that more than a quarter will end up misusing the drug.
Whatever your loved ones reason for starting, though, not everyone who uses drugs develops a problem. While the exact causes of addiction arent clear, genetics likely plays a role, along with environmental factors. While one person is able to use substances without detrimental effects, another finds even casual use quickly escalates into compulsion and addictiona very dark hole from which they can feel powerless to emerge.
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Can Addiction Be Successfully Treated
Addiction is a chronic disease that causes significant changes in the way the brain functions and the way a person behaves. It is characterized by the compulsive misuse of a substance, even though it brings about significant negative consequences. Addiction can be treated and managed successfully through evidence-based behavioral therapies and, in some cases, medication.4
Addiction develops after a person uses or misuses substances and then loses their ability to control their use, negatively affecting their home, work, school, and/or family life.4 This loss of control is often fueled by the way the body adapts to regular exposure to a substance: tolerance and physical dependence.
Tolerance is characterized by the need to take more of a substance to keep feeling the desired effects.5 As an individual exposes their body to regular use of certain substances, the body adapts to its constant presence. When the substance is taken away withdrawal symptoms emerge as the body re-adjusts to not having the substance anymore. This can lead to strong cravings for the substance to relieve uncomfortable or distressing withdrawal symptoms and may result in an individual returning to substance use.
Treatment for a substance use disorder focuses on management of the disorder, much like the process of managing other chronic diseases, including asthma or heart disease.6
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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Helping Someone With Drug Or Alcohol Addiction
If you have a loved one who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to watch them. It can also make you feel unsure as to how to help them. Here, we will talk about the signs of drug and alcohol use disorders, what you can expect when your loved one is dealing with a substance use disorder, how to handle the difficulties of trying to help them, and how having a loved one with a substance use disorder affects you.
The first thing that you need to know is that the difficulties involved with stopping the use of substances is 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, however, there are ways you may be able to help support their motivation to change.1
Find An Approach That Works
There are a number of different treatment options that can be effective, so it is important to consider the options. Think about which approach might be best suited to you and your loved one’s needs and goals.
Depending on the nature of the addiction, treatment might involve psychotherapy, medication, support groups, or a combination of all of these. A few options include:
Other important factors that can affect a person’s recovery include family involvement and other social supports. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that family therapy is an important part of an effective recovery plan.
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Be Involved In The Drug Rehab Treatment And Recovery Process
Healing from alcoholism and drug addiction is everyones responsibility.
If a drug-addicted family member is on the road to recovery, but you or the family has not taken steps to be a part of the healing process, this can actually hinder your loved ones progress. Support through this process is essential. Utilizing a family program and therapy can be a means to facilitate the healing process.
Oftentimes, addiction is deep-seated in family issues and learned behaviors that stem from within the home. If an addicted person is trying to break the cycle and change their behavior, it is very hard if the family has not also begun working through their own issues surrounding the problems in the home.
Get Support For Yourself
When youre worried about a loved one, your own needs may take a backseat. However, self-care is not selfish. If you arent giving yourself a chance to process your emotions and deal with the effects of your loved ones behavior, you wont be able to effectively encourage them to seek treatment.
Writing in a journal, talking to an objective friend, or seeking professional counseling can help you gain the perspective you need to decide how to best move forward. Additionally, if your loved one decides to seek treatment at Pennsylvanias Mountain Laurel Recovery Center, our family program can be part of your personal healing process.
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Do I Have To Let Someone Hit Bottom
It is a myth that the desperation of hitting rock bottom is the only way to get people to accept the need for changeor believe that they can. Too often, rock bottom is a point at which irreversible damage has occurredcareers, livelihoods, relationships derailed. The problem is that the myth of rock bottom sees people as hopeless, and seeing people as hopeless makes them feel hopeless about themselves. Addiction is not easy to overcome, but the first step on the road to recovery is awareness that it is a possibility.
What Are The Signs Of Alcohol Use In A Child Or Adult
Social drinking can easily slide into problem drinking without fanfare, but there are signs that should raise red flags. Obviously, frequently appearing intoxicated should set off alarms. Drinking that starts early in the day or before social functions is a warning sign, as is hiding ones drinking. Failing to meet obligations or sleeping through appointments is another serious sign, and such lapses may have repercussions such as problems at work or school. Alcohol use disorder also frequently manifests in problems of remembering or thinking. Questions about drinking may be met with anger, defensiveness, or denial.
Many teens experiment with alcohol. The vast majority of them do not become addicted. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration describes a number of signs suggesting a child is abusing alcohol. They include:
- Mood changes including flare-ups of temper, irritability, and defensiveness
- School problems such as poor attendance, a significant drop in grades, disciplinary action
- Rebellion against family rules
- Changes in friendship patterns switching friends, reluctance to bring new friends home
- A change in appearance, lack of involvement in former interests
- Alcohol presence: finding it in your childs room or backpack or smelling alcohol on his or her breath
- Cognitive problems such as memory lapses and poor concentration
- Physical changes such as bloodshot eyes, constricted or dilated pupils, lack of coordination, or slurred speech.
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How Can I Look After Myself While Supporting Someone
Supporting a friend or family member with a drug or alcohol misuse problem can be draining.
Here are some tips to help you look after yourself:
- Look after your physical and mental health by eating well and keeping active.
- Seek support from your own friends and family.
- Contact your GP for advice and support, or one of the organisations listed below.
- Take a break from the person if you need to. Let them know when youll be available again, so they dont feel abandoned.
Choosing Appropriate Opioid Addiction Treatment
If you choose to hold an intervention to address your loved ones opioid addiction, you will need to search for drug detox and rehab programs to present as an option. While searching for treatment options, the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends considering the following five questions to ensure your loved one receives the most appropriate care for his or her needs.5
- Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence?
- Will the program tailor its treatment to the needs of your loved one?
- Will the program adapt treatment as your loved ones needs change?
- Is the duration of treatment sufficient?
- How do 12-step or similar recovery programs fit into drug treatment?
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Why Is Spotting Opioid Addiction And Dependence So Difficult
It may not always be easy to tell if your loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, especially in the early stages of addiction. Sometimes, you may only notice slight changes in behavior, odd mood swings, or you may just feel strongly that something is not right with your loved one.
Spotting opioid addiction and dependence can also be difficult because many people who misuse opioids tend to maintain their employment, take care of other responsibilities at home, and maintain a stable appearance overall. However, as time goes on, the consequences of addiction will worsen and become more apparent.
Even if you know someone very well, you may not be able to objectively assess the persons drug abuse or recognize opioid addiction if its a problem. A doctor or a licensed addiction treatment professional may be better suited to determine whether or not your loved one is addicted to opioids.
How To Help Someone Addicted To Pills
While its not always easy to help someone who has become addicted to pills due to the changes that take place in the brain, its possible. Pill addiction can be treated successfully to help people stop abusing pills and return to productive lives.
If you believe that your loved one is addicted pills, you shouldnt try to use force or isolate the person. First, you need to educate yourself about the way people become addicted to pills. Then, you should take the time to walk the person through the information that will help them realize theyre misusing drugs and discover what to do about it. If the person cooperates, you can start by locating an addiction recovery center. Such centers will have doctors with expertise in the area of addiction.
Encourage your loved one to seek help for their pill addiction. Like any other chronic disease, addiction can be managed effectively. Treatment helps people counter the disruptive work of drugs in the brain, helping them regain control of their lives.
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Take Care Of Yourself First
It can be easy to feel devoted to helping someone get out of drug addiction, but you need to take care of yourself first. If you are not taking proper care of yourself, you wont be able to help someone else.
That means getting a full 8 hours of sleep, exercising, eating well, and even seeking mental health counseling or support groups.
What Not To Do When Talking To Loved Ones About Drug Or Alcohol Use
It is important to remember that people begin to use drugs or alcohol for many different reasons, and thus addiction develops for a multitude of reasons. There is no such thing as a one size fits all treatment program, medication, or set length of time for recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Helping someone with drug addiction is all about the recovery journey.
The recovery journey is a unique process for all involved. When helping someone with drug addiction its important to use as much love and positivity as possible. Dont enable them by providing support for their substance misuse. But dont belittle them either when they slip up. Slip-ups and setbacks in addiction recovery are bound to occur. You also may have to learn new habits and skills, in order to help yourself heal from the ramifications of a loved ones addiction to drugs or alcohol. You may need to learn how to deal with triggers and how you can manage your own habits, in order to avoid triggering a loved one and to better support him or her.
Wondering how to help someone with drug addiction? Call our admissions team to discuss helping someone with drug addiction and leading the way to recovery for those you love. Getting your loved one into our treatment program right away begins with a call to . Theres no better time than now to take the next step in helping someone with drug addiction.