What To Do If You Love Someone With Addiction Issues
Addiction is a complex disease. Attempting to help someone with an addiction issue is also complex. Many times all the energy and focus is on the person who needs help with addiction. Trying to figure out what will make them change, seek help, or just stop their self-destructive ways. However, taking care of oneself can be one of the best things you can do to help. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is often the very thing you need to do. The hard truth is that you cannot change anyone but yourself. Taking an honest look at yourself and what you can do to take care of yourself is vital.
Addiction is a family disease and every member of the family is impacted to one degree or another. Family isnt limited to people to whom you are biologically related. If you have a relationshipromantic or otherwisewith someone who has a SUD or AUD you too are affected by their disease.
One of the first things you can do to help them is to help yourself. Its like the analogy so often told about being on an airplane. You must first put the oxygen mask on yourself then on your child. The same is true when it comes to loving someone with an addiction issue. If you take care of yourself, you will be a better support and most suited to help themeven though the help may not be what you are used to doing.
If The Alcoholics Life Is In Danger And Theyre Still Resistant To Treatment Consult A Qualified Interventionist
A common myth, even among those in recovery, is that someone has to want to get help for the help to work. Not true.
A trained professional interventionist , can be a vital resource to you, your family and the alcoholic. For starters, theyre objective. They have no emotional attachment to your loved one, only a sincere desire to be helpful to them. Theyre judgement isnt clouded. It means theyll also be able to stay calm and focused if the situation turns stressful.
Sometimes an intervention, no matter how resistant your loved one is in the moment, is just whats needed for them to make a start in recovery. Most of us werent exactly thrilled to get sober, but once we made a start the benefits far outweighed our defiance.
Some Actions You Can Take:
- Read about the signs and symptoms of substance use.
- Observe the persons behavior closely over a period of days or weeks to understand what leads you to think there is a problem. This information will be good to have if you decide to talk with other family members about the situation, seek advice from a professional, or speak directly with the person. However, dont feel you need an exhaustive picture of the problem before.
- Contact a substance use professional, mental health professional, physician, employee assistance professional, guidance counselor, clergy or other helping professional to help you. Describe your family members substance use pattern to see whether the professional would deem it a problem. Provide details such as: type of alcohol or other drugs, how much the person is using, how often they are using, how long the pattern has continued, negative consequences, and the persons response to discussions or confrontations about substance use.
- Ensure that you and other family members are safe from potential physical or emotional harm. If there is a threat or possibility of physical violence, you should develop a safety plan.
Don’t Miss: Can You Be Addicted To Adderall
Gathering An Intervention Team
The following people are involved in an intervention:
- The person with the addiction: When confronted, the addict may refuse to take part or may leave the gathering. More than one intervention may be necessary.
- Friends and family: If the addict is a child, a parent typically leads the intervention team. If the addict is married or has a partner, the spouse typically leads.
Facing an alcohol addiction can be a very lonely, scary proposition. Seeing how many friends and relatives are willing to offer support may just be the boost of encouragement the addict needs to begin their turnaround.
How To Help Someone Dealing With Addiction
Knowing someone who has an addiction is not uncommon, but knowing the best way to help a loved one with an addiction can be confusing and even scary. When someone has an addiction, it can affect every aspect of their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones. You will inevitably be concerned about your loved one, and it can be difficult to know what to do and what not to do, but its important to remember that Recovery is a solution.
Also Check: Can Drug Addicts Donate Organs
How To Find Drug Or Alcohol Addiction Help
You can start looking for help for a drug or alcohol addiction by speaking with a doctor, doing research on what help is available, and discussing these options with your friend or loved one. Factors that can play a role in your choice of a treatment program include the reputation of the facility and the type of care you are seeking.
Typically, when an individual enters treatment, it will occur in stages that include:14
- Medical detoxification, where a person clears substances out of their body in a safe, supervised atmosphere. Detox alone is rarely sufficient in achieving long-term abstinence from a substance, but it is an important first step.
- Treatment, or rehab, addresses a personâs motivation to change, helps a person identify triggers that lead to substance use, and teaches people ways to cope with stress or other triggers that do not involve turning to substances. Treatment typically includes counseling, group therapy, peer support programs and, in some cases, medication.
- Aftercare provides continued support for a personâs recovery after formal treatment. This can include attending mutual help groups , individual counseling or therapy, and continuing medications that were started during treatment.
Helping Someone Get Into Rehab
If you know or suspect that someone in your life suffers from alcohol or drug addiction, you will probably want to help the one that you love, but this can be met with hostility or denial. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease, and the path to recovery for someone who is addicted is often a long and difficult one.
This inevitably impacts those closest to them, and professional help may be needed to get them to treatment and into recovery.
Recommended Reading: How To Help An Opiate Addict
Be Mindful Of Relapse
A person is not cured of alcoholism after they leave rehab. Stressful situations, temptation, and toxic friends and environments can lead someone to start drinking again.
Common signs of alcohol relapse include:
- Elevated stress
- Mood swings and other behavior changes
- Spending time with people who drink
- Missed support group meetings or therapy sessions
- Abandonment of a daily routine
- Behaving in a secretive or isolated manner
- Anxiety and depression
The path to sobriety is not always free of obstacles relapse is a serious threat. If your loved one relapses, dont blame, shame, or get angry encourage your loved one to stop drinking and seek help as soon as possible.
Although rehab and treatment may help in the short-term, sobriety is a lifelong journey. Relapse may occur, and it is important that your loved one has ongoing, positive support to help them avoid slipping back into full-blown addiction. Remain supportive and avoid enablement with these tips, you can help your loved one recover from alcoholism and enjoy a sober lifestyle.
Can I Force Someone To Go Into Rehab
It is normal for you to be concerned about the safety of your loved one and those around them if they are struggling with an addiction, and you may be wondering if there is a way to force them to get help. While you want to help your loved one and get them the treatment they need, you cannot force someone to go to rehab, unless you are pursuing involuntary admission. Involuntary admission policies vary by state so check with your state to see what the rules and requirements are.
Although involuntary admission may be necessary for certain people, it is not ideal for most people. Rather, working with your loved one to conclude that they should go to rehab willingly provides your loved one with a much better opportunity to achieve recovery and maintain that recovery.
Don’t Miss: Why Is Oxycodone So Addictive
How To Help Someone Recovering From Alcohol And Drug Addiction
In 2012, Oklahoma ranked second in the nation for substance abuse disorders, with more than 290,000 adults suffering from substance abuse. Furthermore, excessive drinking is responsible for nearly 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
These statistics, however, dont account for the actual number of people affected by substance abuse. While recovery is the sole responsibility of the addict, often the burden of recovery affects family members and friends as well.
When you love someone who is recovering from addiction, it can be challenging to be a support system while remembering to take care of yourself. Its important to understand your limitations throughout the recovery process and be aware of the most beneficial ways you can help your loved one.
How To Recognize Addiction
Only qualified health professionals can diagnose SUDs.2 However, knowing the criteria for SUDs can be helpful if you suspect that a loved one is struggling with addiction.
The American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5, lists the following criteria for SUDs:4
- Using the substance in larger amounts or for a longer time than originally intended.
- Being unable to cut down or stop using the substance, even if the person wants to.
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of the substance.
- Experiencing intense urges or desires to use the substance .
- Failing to fulfill obligations at home, work, or school due to substance use.
- Continuing substance use even though it causes or worsens social or interpersonal problems.
- Giving up social, recreational, or occupational activities due to substance use and withdrawing from family or friends to use the substance.
- Using the substance in dangerous situations .
- Continuing substance use even though the person knows they have a physical or psychological problem that is probably caused or worsened by substance use.
- Needing to use more of the substance to experience previous effects .
- Experiencing unpleasant or uncomfortable symptoms if they try to stop using .
Proper diagnosis is important for the person and their family and friends because it can help identify the problem and provide a starting point for getting the right help with addiction treatment.2
Recommended Reading: Is Vaping Without Nicotine Addictive
Stage : Get Educated On Aud
It can be challenging to provide the appropriate help and support without the right knowledge. To help someone with AUD, a friend or relative can begin by reading about AUD and the reasons it might develop.
It might also be useful to contact a healthcare professional who specializes in addiction. They may be able to provide guidance on the best ways to approach someone with AUD.
Educate Yourself On Alcoholism
Learn to recognize the signs and effects of the addiction. Addiction Rehab Toronto offers many online resources to help you educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about the causes of alcohol addiction and how it can affect a persons life and their family. This will help you gain insight into what might have led your loved one to resort to alcohol and what could happen to your family if it wont be addressed.
Don’t Miss: Why Am I So Addicted To Video Games
What Should You Do In An Emergency
Does your loved one have any of the following symptoms? If so, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
- Lost consciousness after taking drugs.
- Became unconscious after drinking alcohol, especially if five or more drinks were consumed in a short period of time.
- Had a seizure.
- Had been drinking and is seriously considering suicide.
- Has a history of heavy drinking and has severe withdrawal symptoms, such as confusion and severe trembling. Severe withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens , can cause death.
Contact the helpline
Avoid The Soapbox When Talking To An Alcoholic
No alcoholicno person, periodwants to feel talked down to or shamed. It might seem like an effective strategy for reaching them, but it isnt. In most cases, the alcoholic will lash out or double down on their behavior just to make a point.
Besides, alcoholism isnt a morality issue. With few exceptions, alcoholics know right from wrong. You probably even taught them that! But if knowing the difference between right and wrong could solve their problem, then they would have been cured ages ago.
Advice like try harder or just drink less isnt helpful. Alcoholics are suffering from a progressive, and often fatal, disease. It would be like telling someone with diabetes to just try harder at not having diabetes. It doesnt make sense and they wouldnt be able to do it no matter how hard they tried.
Talking to an alcoholic about their problem, especially if you dont have firsthand experience with addiction yourself, can be complicated. It can often feel like everything youre saying is falling on deaf ears. Whenever possible, loop in a professional or another person in recovery.
You May Like: How To End Sugar Addiction
How To Help Your Loved One With Alcohol Addiction
Do you have a family member who is suffering from alcohol addiction? For sure, you want to help them and see them well again. We all want the best for our loved ones. Its difficult for us to see them in bad situations where the quality of their lives begins to deteriorate. It is important that you know what youre dealing with and how you can help your family member. This is a comprehensive guide on how to help your loved one with alcohol addiction. Hopefully, this will be able to equip you with the necessary information and knowledge on dealing with alcoholism in the family.
Continual Longings And Cravings For Alcohol
The first challenge during the recovery process is the constant desire to consume more than the limits. Coping with persistent cravings is challenging. Often people lose their motivation and get off the track. To overcome the issue, you can epxlore behavior therapy and group sessions. Practitioners may also use a reward-based approach to cut down the frequency of binge drinking. This may reduce the overall consumption and encourage the person to come out sober in no time at all.
Read Also: Is Caffeine The Most Addictive Drug
Get Your Loved One Help For Alcoholism
We understand how scary and overwhelming the process can be to get your loved one alcohol abuse help, but American Addiction Centers is here for you. Call our hotline at Who Answers? Who answers the helpline calls. or get a text today to speak with an admissions navigator about treatment options for your loved one in order to help with their drinking problem. Theres no obligation to make any decisions right away and all calls are 100% confidential.
Or, if theyre ready to seek treatment, use the form below to verify their insurance and begin their recovery journey with us.
Effects Of Addiction On Family And Friends
Addiction is a widespread concern in our society, with an estimated 50% of all Americans having a family member or close friend who has struggled with a substance use disorder.9 In fact, more than 1 in 10 children in the United States live with at least 1 adult who has a substance use disorder.10 The impact of substance use on family members can be profound. For example, children who grow up in a home with a caregiver who has substance use disorders are more likely to have social, emotional, academic, or behavioral issues.10 Other consequences in families where one member has a substance use disorder can include poor communication, increased risk of interpersonal violence, and overall impairment of emotional connections.10
When you live with someone who has a substance use disorder, you may engage in unhealthy behavior patterns such as codependency and enabling. Codependency is a pattern of behavior in which you seek to fix others and are unable to state your own needs and wants. If you are a person who displays codependent behaviors, you may value your loyalty to others over your own needs, even when doing so is harmful to you.11 Codependent behavior can result in enabling your loved oneâs substance use, allowing them to carry on without facing consequences for using drugs and/or alcohol.12 An example of enabling behavior is calling your loved oneâs boss and telling them your loved one is sick, when they are actually hung over.
You May Like: How To Curb Food Addiction
How Do You Tell Someone They Have A Drinking Problem
This may vary from person-to-person and you may need a substance abuse counselor or the advice of someone who does interventions to guide your approach. Some signs that an individual may have a problem include: negative social, physical, and emotional changes as the disease of alcohol use disorder progresses.
What Does Alcoholism Rehab Entail
If you suspect that you or someone you care about has an AUD, it may be time to seek professional alcohol addiction help. Research has shown that rehabilitation treatment can be very effective in helping individuals maintain a life of sobriety.14
According to NIAAA, about a third of people who successfully complete a rehabilitation program show no further symptoms 1 year later and have fewer alcohol-related problems.14
Depending on the severity of the AUD, individuals can enter into a number of alcohol rehabilitation programs including inpatient and outpatient settings.
Treatment typically involves a mix of private and group counseling sessions, behavioral therapies, medications, and support groups.
Read Also: Does Rehab Help Drug Addicts