Care And Compassion Are Always Called For
The best advice for anyone wondering how to talk to an addict is to make sure you take a calm, loving and non-judgmental approach to your conversation. Although you may be hurt and worried, angry or harsh words never convinced anyone to get help. If someone isnt ready to seek help, theyll just tune you out.
When you understand that addiction is a disease, and that the person you love isnt in control of how theyre acting, then you can have a rational conversation with them about your worries and concerns. You can help them help themselves by entering into a recovery program. It may be a difficult conversation to have, but it could be the one that saves their life.
Encourage Them To Seek Help
Trust is a key factor in this step.
In Step 7, we talked about love and support replacing intimidation and guilt. Once you have established that approach, encouragement comes next.
While some drug rehab centers and support groups utilize the tough love approach, we believe you can get just as far or further with encouragement. You may be asking yourself at this point, how can you love and encourage while at the same time setting boundaries and looking out for yourself first?
When healthy boundaries are set and you are putting you first, you are more able to freely share love and empathy. You have made the decision to not let that person harm you or take advantage of you or whatever the boundary is you have set.
Once any negative feelings and emotions about the person or situation have taken a back seat, you can begin to take a more objective approach to the problem and motivate them to start getting help.
Living With A Recovering Addict
Addiction puts a major strain on all of an addict or alcoholics personal relationships, and the closer the relationship, the greater the strain. As the addiction grows stronger over time, it gradually comes to dominate every aspect of the addicts life, especially their relationships. Eventually, every interaction between loved ones and the addict become influenced by their addiction in some manner.
Family and friends often try to convince their loved one for months, or even years, to attend rehab. Rehab becomes a kind of magic cure all. Many come to hope or believe that once their loved one returns from rehab, all of the problems in their relationship will dramatically and immediately improve. While rehab is certainly an absolutely critical first step in recovery, it doesnt solve every problem, and it can actually create new obstacles and challenges.
The truth is that recovery is a lifelong process that dramatically changes things for someone in recovery on a daily, if not moment-to-moment, basis. Often, recovery will change an individuals goals, expectations, behavior, and even personality. In turn, this can cause changes in loved ones and relationships. It can also force two people to confront underlying issues that were long masked by 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.
Dont Face The Battle Alone
Our team is here to guide you through your path to recovery.
Addiction is a disease impacting more than 23 million people across the nation. This number reflects those people who have either a substance use or alcohol use disorder. It does not take into account the millions of others who care about someone with an addiction. They too are deeply impacted by addiction. For anyone who loves someone with a substance use or alcohol use disorder, life can be painful. Knowing what to do to help the person you care about can seem a never-ending search for answers. But, there are steps you can take to help both the addict in your life and yourself.
Caring about a person with an active, untreated addiction, whether to an illicit or prescription substance or alcohol, is full of uncertainty, anxiety, and often turmoil. Sleepless nights are spent wondering where they are, if theyll call or come home, and hoping they will be okay. Some days you just want to give up. But you just cant. Exhaustion sets in from the lack of sleep, worry, and the hours spent caring for themat the expense of your own well being.
If you know someone in need of alcohol addiction help or help for a substance abuse issue, Futures Recovery Healthcare is here for you.
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What Are The Signs Of Drug Use In A Child Or Adult
Drug use becomes a problem when a person can no longer control use and the use interferes with functioning. Use is marked by shifts in behavior than can vary widely among individuals. Acute intoxicationslurred, slowed, or disjointed speech perceptual disturbances sudden mood shifts disrupted thinking patterns an absent presencecan be obvious. But other signs can be more subtle and develop over time. They include:
Disinterest or difficulties in school or declining performance at work
Changes in social patterns, sets of friends, or the onset of interpersonal problems
Withdrawal from activities once enjoyed
Secretiveness about activities and relationships
Loss of energy or motivation
Neglect of physical appearance and hygiene
Lying about whereabouts
Personality changes such as unpredictable displays of hostility, suspicion, or irritability, or rapid mood swings
Stealing money or valuables to pay for drugs
Becoming defensive or lashing out when questioned about drug use.
Dont: Enable Your Loved One
There can be a fine line between helping someone with an addiction and enabling them. Sometimes when we think were protecting a loved one from the consequences of their addiction, we are actually enabling them to continue with potentially destructive behavior.
For example, if youre trying to figure out how to help an alcoholic, keeping them from drinking and driving is helpful, since that could put them and others in danger. However, consistently offering to drive them home whenever they get too intoxicated is enabling their actions, because its setting up a formula in which you are constantly available to rescue them.
Studies show that people with addictions are more likely to proactively seek treatment when they are forced to face the consequences of their actions. So, if you want to know how to help someone with an addiction, allow them to make mistakes without the promise of your rescue.
Its important to set up boundaries and rules, both for your well-being and the well-being of your loved one and its important to enforce those rules and boundaries. This is the only part of Recovery in which tough love is beneficial, since its done for both you and your loved ones protection.
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Don 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.
Know The Warning Signs Of Meth Abuse And Addiction
Identifying harmful patterns of drug use is one of the first steps towards getting a person help.
When a person first starts taking meth, theyll likely go to great lengths to hide their drug use. In the beginning, they might succeed, however, as such a powerful drug, the toll of meth abuse can quickly become evident.
Major signs of meth abuse and addiction include:
- cravings: Overwhelming urges and thoughts of drug use become disruptive to a persons day.
- tolerance: A typical dose doesnt create the usual effect, which often leads to higher doses.
- dependence: A persons body is reliant on the drug and cannot function normally without it.
- withdrawal: Physical and/or psychological symptoms occur when a person stops taking meth.
A deteriorating physical appearance can also be a major sign of meth abuse. Use of this drug may result in meth mouth, or severe dental problems. A person may also have a poor complexion and skin sores. Many people ignore personal care and fail to bathe or wear clean clothes.
People who are struggling with meth abuse or addiction may also develop problems at home, work, or school and begin to ignore important responsibilities that relate to these things.
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Stop Indulging The Addicts Behaviors And Detrimental Behaviors
Sometimes, families do what they can to hide a loved ones addiction. They might provide an alibi for why someone missed work or give money to the person who is using drugs to make sure they can afford rent or other necessities. Some families even go so far as to allow the drug dependency to dictate when they can or cannot do something. You must be firm with your loved one and refuse them the kinds of support that enable their drug use.
What About An Intervention
Television has made the subject of interventions quite popular. An intervention is a structured, confrontational meeting led by specially trained personnel. The person leading the intervention creates a group of family, friends and others close to the addict and coaches them on how to confront the loved one about their addiction.
After an intervention meeting, if the addict agrees to go into treatment, its essential that the group is willing and able to help the person leave immediately.
Interventions can be helpful, but they arent always necessary. Please speak with a professional such as a medical doctor, counselor or psychologist about finding someone to lead an intervention.
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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?
Dont Focus On Guilt Or Shame
Someone struggling with addiction is usually already feeling deep guilt, shame and anger about their using. In addition, many feel judged by their family and friends, and will act defensively in response to any criticism that is levelled at them. Rather than helping, if the judgement or moralising does appear, they may turn to using to combat the feelings of stress that this gives them.
It is understandable however, as the person suffering may have already deeply hurt you, broken your trust or angered you. Where there is love left though, it is important to understand that feelings of shame, anger, and judgement can negatively affect your relationship with the person addicted and actively harm their chances of recovery. Research shows that shame is one of the least effective incentives to change, because it is isolating, painful and can make the addicted person believe they are unworthy of love or treatment.
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Helping The Addict Requires Healing The Family
Youll never understand how to help an addict without enabling them until you recognize these dysfunctional dynamics. You cant help your loved one if you come to their rescue every time. It not only enables their behavior but it takes attention away from every other member of your family. Helping the addict is a process that involves your entire family, not just the person with the problem.
Every family member must be on board with learning to stop enabling the addict. Theyre not going to get well if someone continues stepping in every time the addict gets into trouble. You must make sure that each person is willing to do what it takes to recognize their enabling habits.
Sometimes this involves other members of the family seeking help, too. For example, family therapy is an important part of addiction treatment programs. It provides a space for families to talk about unspoken issues and work through these damaged dynamics. Having a therapist present as a neutral third party ensures the discussion stays on track and everyone in the session feels heard.
Talking To A Heroin Addict
Someone who is addicted to heroin may not want to discuss their issues with the drug, but talking to them can be extremely helpful and can allow them to see the impact that their abuse is making on themselves and on you. Here are some tips for talking to someone who is addicted to heroin about their drug abuse.
You can help your loved one get the treatment they need. Recovery is possible!
- Do not lay blame or judgments on the individual. While they were originally able to make the choice to do heroin, they are now incapable of reversing that choice on their own because they are addicted.
- Be supportive at all times.
- In many cases, users continue abusing the drug even after they no longer experience the euphoric effects, simply to provide relief from the painful, flu-like withdrawal symptomsIf this is the case with the individual you are speaking to, suggesting rehab might help them realize that they actually derive no pleasure from the drug currently.
- Try to remain as calm and even-tempered as possible. Yelling will not make the individual more receptive to what you have to say.
Remember the person you are talking to has a chronic relapsing disease so judgment or anger will not help them get better. You can discuss these feelings in family or relationship counseling, ideally while the individual is attending rehab.
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Discuss Treatment Options With The Gambler
Talk to the gambler about the possible causes for their gambling addiction.
Treatment options can start out with things like therapy and work toward inpatient programs or other methods if initial efforts fail.
For those who know that they have a serious problem and wont be able to get past it on their own, then inpatient treatment and complete isolation from venues and gambling opportunities is the best option.
Talking to the gambler may provide some insight that can not be gained otherwise.
This makes it easier to address the problem and encourages their cooperation because they were consulted and feel their opinion is valued regarding their own shortcomings.
Help For You As A Carer
Being around someone on ice is stressful. You may feel desperate, anxious, helpless and frustrated. It is important to know that you are not alone.
Make sure you look after yourself when caring for someone with addiction. You should eat healthy food and sleep well, exercise, see friends and take a break. You also need to set boundaries for yourself and decide what you will do and what you wont do.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has a factsheet that may help when a family member is using ice.
If you are in danger, stay calm, get to a safe place and call the police on triple zero .
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Communication With An Addict
Its important to enter these conversations prepared. Helping someone with drug addiction is difficult and taxing, and common responses to stress such as anger and criticism will undo much of your progress. However, restraining your stress and anger through willpower will make it hard to maintain your positive influence in your friend or family members life. Practice alternative stress management techniques both for your own sake and to help more effectively.
Links Between Depression And Substance Abuse
Essentially, the short version of this connection is that substance abuse is the answer to a personal battle with depression or that depression is a result of the guilt and mixed feelings about succumbing to substance or alcohol abuse. While neither scenario is actually incorrect, the general premise is incomplete. Drugs have a tendency to not only produce mental health disorders but also to make existing underlying mental health conditions worse. Similarly, mental health disorders have the power and tendency to encourage people to abuse drugs and alcohol. These two conditions have a very strong codependent relationship and are frequently seen together in dual diagnosis reports.
There are multiple direct correlations between substance abuse and mental health disorders. Because each field is awry with new research and treatment plan developments, information overload can be overwhelming. This is especially true for individuals who are seeking to overcome either condition. One of the most obvious links between depression and substance abuse is the nature of alcohol and other specific drugs. By nature, these compounds are depressants and can easily compromise an already weakened immune system. That physical effect may also trigger emotional and mental changes as well.
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