Third Step: Educate Yourself On Drug Addiction
Assisting your loved one in overcoming their drug addiction is a huge undertaking. It requires you to dedicate a lot of your own time. Unfortunately, a successful recovery does not mean that you no longer need to be part of the process.
Recovery can take years and you will need to commit to the entire process. You should learn the signs of a relapse and what triggers them, and find ways to prevent and handle depression, a common side effect.
Drug addiction can do severe damage and drug addicts may never return to their former selves. However, you cant just sit and watch as your loved one is destroyed by drug abuse.
If you would like to help them, contact an addiction treatment centre like us.
Is It Easy To Help People Addicted To Drugs
Certainly not! It is never easy to deal with someone who is fighting for his mental and physical health as a result of his addiction to drugs.
They may not always agree that they have a problem. Theres also a chance they wont try to change their minds and will instead deny you recovery assistance. Furthermore, some patients are embarrassed and do not want to share their story for fear of informing someone else.
For such patients, there is no quick start to recovery. It is a slow process that requires trust.
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.
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How To Break The Stigma Of Drug Addiction
Like many people who are somehow different to the societys standards of what normal should be, those struggling with addictions are subjected to stigmas that can be extremely damaging.
Because of these stigmas, people with addictions are at higher-than-average risk of unemployment and homelessness. Their sense of self-worth, which is often low, to begin with, takes a dive and they are increasingly unlikely to get the help they need.
It is easy to say that people with addictions have made their own beds and now they must lie in them, but most situations are far more complex than that. Addictions have all kinds of origins some of them are results of poor choices, others are borne of circumstances.
Regardless of how addiction starts, the person suffering from it has a far greater chance of overcoming it if the people around them are non-judgmental and supportive. If you remember these facts about addiction, you can help break down the social stigmas and give addicts a better chance at overcoming their challenges and improving their lives.
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.
Drug paraphernalia to look out for
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How To Help Someone Addicted To Painkillers
All the warning signs are there. Pills have gone missing, or maybe there is lying, deceitful behavior. Perhaps someone you love looks different, seems tired or lethargic, or has started losing interested in school or work. Maybe theyre feigning pain in order to doctor shop and get more prescriptions for opioid painkillers.
These are all potential signs of an addiction to painkillers, but what can you do if you recognize these signs? How can you help someone addicted to painkillers?
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.
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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.
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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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:
The Facts About Addiction And Recovery
Anyone would find it hard to talk about a subject they dont know much about. If youre not into a certain popular television show and everyone around you is talking about the latest episode, youll be at a loss for words not because youre a poor conversationalist or dont care, but simply because you dont have the facts.
The same goes for addiction and recovery. You find it hard to talk to someone about their addiction and recovery because you dont know what theyre going through. Its helpful to understand what addiction is and isnt, and what going through recovery really means.
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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.
Avoid Supporting The Addiction Financially
This is also a form of enabling and rears its head in different ways.
When a drug-addicted family member asks you for money, has you pay their bills, or even lives in your home rent-free, this may be enabling their addiction.
Your loved one may give many reasons why they are asking you for money, but unfortunately, all paths likely lead to supporting the drug abuse financially.
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Use Leverage Where Possible
You should set boundaries, but beware you do not make threats or try to force the person to get help. Bargaining-power can be useful and you should offer a healthy choice. For example, if you are an employer, you may have to offer a choice of rehab treatment or risk losing their job. Express your genuine concern but keep a firm tone.
Dont: Give In To Manipulation
When a person with an addiction is unwilling to seek treatment, they will resort to whatever they need to do to continue feeding their addiction. This may include lying or trying to guilt the people who care for them. Its important to establish boundaries and learn how to say no. It may be very difficult to not react negatively or to stick to your established rules, but its necessary for everyone involved.
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How To Talk To Your Friend About Their Drug Use
Drugs can be a hard subject to discuss, especially if you think your friend has a problem. Theres no right or wrong way to talk about drugs, but there are some general guidelines you can follow to make things easier.
Do speak to your friend:
- when youre both sober and not on drugs
- somewhere private and familiar
- when you have plenty of time its not a conversation you can rush
- more than once you may need to have several conversations
Dont speak to your friend in a way that:
- is judgmental or critical it wont help
- doesnt give them time to talk try to speak less and listen more
- assumes superiority dont act like you know better
Remember that you or your friend can call FRANK anytime on for confidential advice.
Ending Codependency With Someone Who Is Addicted
If you are in a relationship with someone who struggles with addiction and find yourself covering up for them, making excuses, and trying to control their use, it can take a toll on you emotionally. Codependency does come from a place of love and a desire to protect, care for, and help your loved one. However, it is important to understand that you may think you are doing a person a favor by covering up for them and helping them to avoid the negative consequences of their substance use, but you are actually reinforcing their substance use. If you want to treat your codependency, there are things you can try, even though these may be difficult for you to do:
- Let your loved one face the consequences of their actions, no matter how hard this may be.
- Let them handle the things that they are responsible for.
- Do not feel guilty for your loved ones substance use, as this is their problem to solve.
- Tell them that you are concerned and that their substance use is a serious problem.
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What Is Drug Or Alcohol Misuse
Drugs are substances that affect how the body functions. Illegal drugs such as ecstasy and heroin can be harmful and unpredictable. Unlike prescription medicines, there is no government organisation that regulates the quality or amount of active ingredients in illegal substances.
However, not all drugs are illegal. Alcohol is a legal drug that can be harmful if taken in large amounts or for a long time. Medicines that have been prescribed by a doctor can also be harmful if they arent taken as directed or are taken for non-medical reasons.
Drug and alcohol misuse isnt necessarily related to how often or in what quantity a person uses drugs, but the impact their drug use has on their life. Drug or alcohol use can become a problem when it starts to affect a persons judgement, relationships or general health and wellbeing. It can cause them to neglect other responsibilities such as school, work or family.
Drug and alcohol misuse is common. About 1 in 3 people in Australia drink alcohol at risky levels. Two in every 5 people in Australia have used an illegal drug at some point in their lives, including taking pharmaceutical medicines for non-medical purposes.
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.
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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.
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.
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