Who Should Be Included At An Intervention
Depending on the situation, interventions can include the following people:
- The person with the substance use disorder
- Friends and family
- A professional interventionist
The Association of Intervention Specialists , Family First Interventions, and the Network of Independent Interventionists are three organizations of professional interventionists.
You may also want to consider if anyone in the list of friends and family should not be included. Examples are if a person is dealing with their own addiction and may not be able to maintain sobriety, is overly self-motivated or self-involved, or has a strained relationship with the person the intervention is for.
How Are Medications And Devices Used In Drug Addiction Treatment
Medications and devices can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions.
Withdrawal. Medications and devices can help suppress withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. Detoxification is not in itself “treatment,” but only the first step in the process. Patients who do not receive any further treatment after detoxification usually resume their drug use. One study of treatment facilities found that medications were used in almost 80 percent of detoxifications . In November 2017, the Food and Drug Administration granted a new indication to an electronic stimulation device, NSS-2 Bridge, for use in helping reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. This device is placed behind the ear and sends electrical pulses to stimulate certain brain nerves. Also, in May 2018, the FDA approved lofexidine, a non-opioid medicine designed to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Relapse prevention. Patients can use medications to help re-establish normal brain function and decrease cravings. Medications are available for treatment of opioid , tobacco , and alcohol addiction. Scientists are developing other medications to treat stimulant and cannabis addiction. People who use more than one drug, which is very common, need treatment for all of the substances they use.
How To Help Someone With Addiction
A person may have a friend or family member with addiction and wonder how to help them.
Everyones situation is different, and the person with addiction may not have sought treatment or could be refusing treatment and help.
The following is advice from the American Addiction Centers and the University of Rochester Medical Center.
- Remember that addiction is a disease and not a choice or a moral failing.
- The first step is recognizing the problem, and someone may help a person realize they have an addiction by talking with them.
- Be prepared for various reactions from sadness to anger, and consider how you will react.
- Do not talk with them about helping while they are high or drunk.
- Encourage the individual to seek help and assist them in finding resources or treatment.
- Set an example to them of healthy living by giving up alcohol or using drugs recreationally
- Be supportive but do not cover up for them.
- Encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and learn to manage their condition.
- Accept that relapse is often part of the recovery process.
- Experts advise that suddenly stopping alcohol or drugs can lead to withdrawal symptoms, so someone should seek medical advice for stopping.
- Help someone find out if their health insurance covers treatment for addiction or if there are any community programs at less cost.
It may be helpful to encourage a family member or friend to attend a support group for their addiction.
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Learn As Much As Possible About Addiction
Education can help families escape the blame game. Rather than believing that the persons addiction stems from weakness, willfulness or stubbornness, it might be helpful to understand how it actually stems from changes within the brain. Understanding that addiction is not a choice might help you let go of anger and resentment you may be feeling about your loved ones addiction.
There are many online resources that can help families learn about addiction. Most bookstores also offer a wide selection of books about the chemistry of addiction and the science behind addiction treatment.
Additionally, every day, research teams are conducting in-depth studies about drugs. Theyre learning more about how substances interact with the cells inside the brain, and theyre using that knowledge to develop new treatments that might one day either treat or prevent addictions.
Thats the sort of knowledge that can help boost a familys sense of hope. With each advancement, you can feel more confident that the addiction can be treated and conquered.
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.
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Recognizing Drug Abuse In A Loved One
Its not always easy to recognize if a loved one is abusing drugs. In teens, for example, drug abuse can often resemble normal adolescent moodiness. Furthermore, theres no specific amount or frequency of use that indicates someones drug use has become a cause for concern. Whether your loved one is using every day or every month, its the adverse impact their drug abuse has on their life that indicates a problem.
Signs your loved one may have a substance use disorder include:
Experiencing problems at work, school, or home. They appear high more often, for example, and take more days away from work or school to compensate. Their work performance or school grades suffer, they neglect their responsibilities at home, and encounter more and more relationship difficulties. They may even lose their job, drop out of school, or separate from a long-term partner.
New health issues, such as changes in sleep schedule, often appearing fatigued or run-down, pronounced weight loss or weight gain, glassy or bloodshot eyes, and forgetfulness or other cognition problems. Depending on the type of drug theyre abusing, they may also exhibit frequent sniffing, nosebleeds, or shaking.
Recurring financial problems. Your loved one may run up credit card debt to support their drug use, seek loans, or ask to borrow money without any solid reason. They may even steal money or valuables to sell for drugs.
What Should Be Said During An Intervention
While a person is free to say anything they want during an intervention, its best to be prepared with a plan to keep things positive and on track. Blaming, accusing, causing guilt, threatening, or arguing isnt helpful.
Whatever is said during an intervention should be done so with the intention of helping the person accept help.
Bear in mind that setting boundaries such as I can no longer give you money if you continue to use drugs, is not the same as threatening a person with punishment.
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To Help Them You Must Help Yourself
You might not know this, but the recovery and healing process is as much for your loved one as it is for you and your family.
Drug addiction affects family relationships and each family member of an addict/alcoholic in different ways.
Emotions and behaviors surrounding the addiction run deep within a family. The complicated nature of addiction can require education and therapy for everyone in the recovery process.
We always recommend family members take part in our family program. Once the client has completed drug addiction treatment, we recommend the family continue working with support programs through organizations like Al-Anon, Nar-anon, Alateen, Co-Dependents Anonymous, as well as forms of family therapy when needed.
How To Help Someone Understand They Need Help
Friends and family members may feel that they constantly express concerns about a loved ones substance use but never see any changes. You may have reached this point after weeks or months of giving lectures, making threats, ignoring behaviors, accepting promises of change, giving second chances, or imposing consequences.
Experts recommend developing and repeating a consistent, positive message: We care about you and we want you to get help. Define substance use as a problem for you and others who care about the person. Avoid blaming, arguing, and reproaching, and expect denial, distortion, avoidance, rationalization, and intellectualization of the problem.
Perhaps a friend, another family member, doctor, clergy, boss, co-worker, or other significant person in their life might be able to have an effective discussion. Or maybe the person with the substance use disorder would respond to activities you can do together, such as reviewing brochures or videos, meeting with a professional, or going to a self-help SMART Recovery or Twelve Step meeting.
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Take Advantage Of A Time When You Are Both Clear
Theres never a perfect time to have a difficult conversation, but some times are better than others. Waiting for a moment when your loved one is sober and both of you are calm can make a real difference in how the conversation goes. If you find yourself in a day or a moment when things are going well, take advantage of it and bring up your concerns.
Many people shy away from this because they dont want to ruin the good experience. Remember that unless your loved one gets help, your happy times will only ever be short and rare. Your goal is to have more of these moments. Say something to express your feelings, such as, Im really enjoying this time with you. I wish we had more days like this.
Do Not Let Their Addiction Struggles Take Over Your Life
Sometimes a loved ones addiction can consume your life to the point of it swallowing you and your family whole.
You can still love the addict/alcoholic in your family while at the same time caring for yourself and other family members who might be caught up in the situation as well. You do this by carrying on with your regular life, work and interests taking time to care for yourself.
Try first getting involved in free support groups like the organizations we mentioned previously . You can look into therapy. It does help to talk to someone. These things can help you get a better understanding of how to cope and protect your family. Remember, you are not responsible for their addiction. Do your best, and that is all you can do.
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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.
How You Can Help Someone Who Is In Recovery
Family involvement is just one of the ways in which you can help your loved one when theyre in treatment. It allows counselors and doctors to get a better understanding of the patient as well as their behavioral patterns and habits. Other ways in which you can help your loved one include:
- Getting involved: Attend family therapy and express your feelings. This will allow them to get a better idea of how their addiction affects everyone around them. Its also a great way to show that you support your loved ones Recovery because you are willing to invest the time and effort to help them heal.
- Communicating with them: Once the blackout period is lifted, you will likely be allowed some contact with your loved ones. Communication can be very difficult, and a seemingly safe conversation can spiral into a heated argument. Find a mode of communication that works for both of you, be it phone calls, emails or in-person visits. Use it as an opportunity to verbalize your support.
- Offering support: Saying youre there for your loved one is one thing, but support goes beyond that. Talk positively about the future and of your loved ones progress. Let them know theyre not alone.
- Trusting but being mindful: Its important to maintain trust throughout the Recovery process, but its also important to remember not to fall into old habits. Show your loved one that you trust them, but be aware of old behaviors that may be problematic or harmful.
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Dont: Violate Their Privacy
In taking care of yourself and attending therapy, you may be tempted to vent about your loved one with an addiction. While you should be as honest about your feelings as possible when getting therapy, its important to respect their privacy. This is especially relevant when discussing someone with addiction with friends or family.
Make sure the person is okay being talked about and having their struggles discussed. If you attend counseling with your loved one, make sure you dont reveal what was said in session to others. If your loved one attends therapy or counseling on their own and dont want to discuss what they talked about in session, respect that and dont push them for details.
What Is Substance Abuse Disorder
Substance abuse disorder, or drug addiction, can be defined as a progressive disease that causes people to lose control of the use of some substance despite worsening consequences of that use. Substance use disorder can be life-threatening.
Addictions are not problems of willpower or morality. Addiction is a powerful and complex disease. People who have an addiction to drugs cannot simply quit, even if they want to. The drugs change the brain in a way that makes quitting physically and mentally difficult. Treating addiction often requires lifelong care and therapy.
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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.
Environmental Signs Of A Drug Problem
Unusual Smells. Some drugs, like alcohol, marijuana, crack, or meth, have distinct smells that individuals may try to cover up. Repeated and constant use will be hard to disguise. You may notice those smells on their clothes, in their car or bedroom, or on their breath or skin.
Finding Drug Paraphernalia. If you find smoking devices, needles, oil vaporizers, or stashes of different devices needed for drug use, you may want to discuss with your loved one what those items are and why they have them.
Deodorizers or Incense to Cover Up Smells. Some drugs have very strong smells. You may notice this person spraying areas such as their room or car, wearing very strong cologne or perfume, or even burning candles and incense to cover it. This is concerning especially if this is a new behavior.
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How To Help Without Enabling
There are a variety of ways to help your loved one struggling with addiction without enabling their behaviors. These include:
- Participating in treatment and therapy programs such as family therapy
- Educating and encouraging your loved one about treatment and options
- Staging an intervention
- Establishing boundaries and upholding them
How To Talk To Someone About Their Drug Abuse
Starting a conversation with someone about their drug addiction is never easy, but its important you come from a place of compassion and understanding. Remember, no one sets out to become an addict. Drug abuse is often a misguided attempt to cope with painful issues or mental health problems. Stress tends to fuel addictive behavior, so criticizing, demeaning, or shaming them will only push your loved one away and may even encourage them to seek further comfort in substance abuse.
Discovering someone you love has a drug problem can generate feelings of shock, fear, and anger, especially if its your child or teen whos using. These strong emotions can make communicating with a drug user even more challenging. So, its important to choose a time when youre both calm, sober, and free of distractions to talk. Offer your help and support without being judgmental.
Dont delay. You dont have to wait for your loved one to hit rock bottomto get arrested, lose their job, suffer a medical emergency, or publicly humiliate themselvesto speak out. The earlier an addiction is treated, the better.
Express your concerns honestly. Emphasize that you care for the person and are worried about their well-being. Offer specific examples of your loved ones drug-related behavior that have made you concernedand be honest about your own feelings.
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