Tip #: Educate Yourself
Get information about addictions. Understand the addicts disease process. Find information about how it impacts the family and friends. Knowledge is power and it may help you understand more about yourself and your loved one. There are many resources for finding this information: SAMHSA.gov has all types of educational and informational resources. The public library and the internet have an enormous amount of information for education, groups, support, treatment, etc.
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.
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.
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How Addictions Can Affect You
The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. In the case of substance misuse , an addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects.
Some studies suggest a person’s risk of becoming addicted is partly genetic, but environmental factors, such as being around other people with addictions, are also thought to increase the risk.
Behaviours such as substance misuse can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and poverty can trigger addiction, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.
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.
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Be A Strong Source Of Support
Strength and consistency are what addicts need around them if they are to conquer their addictions and return to a healthy lifestyle. How to help someone with addiction feel like they are supported is to show you care on a regular basis. Quite often, people addicted to drugs or alcohol are living in isolation inside their own minds, and they dont consider how deeply their family and friends care for them.
Dont wait until they have hit rock bottom to speak about your concerns. Let them know how much you care and that you will be there for support throughout the process, no matter how long it takes. And once you make the declaration, it is crucial that you follow through, so they can feel that love and support and know there is something positive in their life they can count on.
Build And Honor Boundaries
Generating limitations is essential whenever coping with an addict. It could be very easy to believe responsible for keeping all of them clean and safer, but that is perhaps not your work. When you need to assist people, your work should render suitable enjoying support. It isnt your own responsibility to overextend yourself for his or her purpose.
Establish boundaries to protect your self plus stamina. Limits is things like the occasions youre open to talk throughout the mobile or techniques you happen to be happy to lead, like healthy food and flights to doctors visits. When you create them with your spouse, honor all of them. They have respect for you for maintaining your word and enjoyed the contribution.
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Eliminate Yourself Very First
It could be an easy task to think dedicated to assisting someone escape medicine habits, but you need to take care of your self first. If you are not having good care of your self, your wont have the ability to help somebody else.
This means obtaining the full 8 time of rest, workouts, ingesting really, plus getting psychological state sessions or organizations.
How Racism And Addiction Play Into Language
Arthur*, a former heroin user, also shared his thoughts on the language surrounding addiction. I have more respect for dope fiends, he says, explaining that its a hard road to travel and understand if you havent gone through it yourself.
He also alludes to racism in addiction language, too that people of color are painted as addicted to dirty street drugs, versus white people dependent on clean prescription medications. People say, Im not addicted, Im dependent cause a doctor prescribed it, Arthur adds.
Perhaps its no coincidence that theres growing awareness and empathy now, as more and more white populations are developing dependency and addictions.
Empathy needs to be given to everyone no matter race, sexuality, income, or creed.
We should also aim to remove the terms clean and dirty altogether. These terms hold belittling moralistic notions that people with addictions were once not good enough but now that theyre in recovery and clean, theyre acceptable. People with addictions arent dirty if theyre still using or if a drug test comes back positive for use. People shouldnt have to describe themselves as clean to be considered human.
Dont say this: Are you clean?
Say this instead: How are you doing?
Just like with the use of the term junkie, some people with use disorders may use the term clean to describe their sobriety and recovery. Again, its not up to us to label them and their experience.
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Support The Process Of Change
If you have a friend or loved one with an addiction, let them know you are willing to support them, for example, by coming with them to family or couples counseling. You can even help them take the first stepwhether it’s bringing them to a doctor’s appointment or a support group meeting.
They’ll likely feel encouraged by the fact that you are making changes in your own life to help them with their addiction.
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.
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Keep An Eye On Your Own Behaviors And Attachments That Might Reflect Codependence
Relationships become very complicated in the context of drug addiction, and codependency is a common and confusing factor. Over time, when youre caring about an addict, your view of reality and the way forward can become distorted. Says addiction specialist Alan Massey of codependency, It becomes the dysfunctional side of caring that gets people locked into being over-responsible and losing touch with their authentic selves. Codependency is wrapped up in those difficult-to-define boundaries and enabling behaviors. But speaking with professionals who know the realities and possibilities of addiction recovery can help to refresh your perspective and the better choices you make moving forward.
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.
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Is Treatment Different For Criminal Justice Populations
Scientific research since the mid-1970s shows that drug abuse treatment can help many drug-using offenders change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors towards drug abuse avoid relapse and successfully remove themselves from a life of substance abuse and crime. Many of the principles of treating drug addiction are similar for people within the criminal justice system as for those in the general population. However, many offenders dont have access to the types of services they need. Treatment that is of poor quality or is not well suited to the needs of offenders may not be effective at reducing drug use and criminal behavior.
In addition to the general principles of treatment, some considerations specific to offenders include the following:
- Treatment should include development of specific cognitive skills to help the offender adjust attitudes and beliefs that lead to drug abuse and crime, such as feeling entitled to have things ones own way or not understanding the consequences of ones behavior. This includes skills related to thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.
- Treatment planning should include tailored services within the correctional facility as well as transition to community-based treatment after release.
- Ongoing coordination between treatment providers and courts or parole and probation officers is important in addressing the complex needs of offenders re-entering society.
Set Recovery Goals And Expectations
In your recovery period, setting goals and objectives need to be set on a regular basis. The first thing to do is to ask help from your family members. Your immediate family and close friends can help you create positive and healthy activities during recovery and eventually become functional in the society again.
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How Can I Tell If My Friend Is Addicted To Drugs
Their behaviour, their physical appearance, and certain stuff in their environment can provide clues as to whether your friend might be addicted to drugs.
- sudden changes in behaviour or mood swings
- withdrawal from family members and old friendship groups
- carelessness about personal grooming
- loss of interest in hobbies, sports or other favourite activities
- neglect of responsibilities.
- red, glassy or bloodshot eyes, or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal
- sniffing or a runny nose
- frequent nosebleeds
- shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination
- sudden weight loss or weight gain.
The following items could also be a sign of addiction:
- spoons and syringes
- small, resealable baggies that could be used to store drugs
- pipes, plastic bottles, or cans that have been pierced or tampered with
- burnt foil
- stuff missing, such as money, valuables or prescription drugs.
What Should I Not Say To Someone About Their Drug Or Alcohol Use
When speaking to someone about their drug use, listen respectfully to their views, and respond calmly. The tone and the type of language you use is important.
Try to avoid the following, since this may upset the person and make them less likely to seek support:
- being judgmental
- using negative labels like addict
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Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Addiction
People who are addicted to drugs tend to show signs of the disease in every aspect of their lives. The symptoms of addiction are varied, but common signs of a problem with substance abuse include:3,4
- Needing to use drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Needing more drugs to get the effects .
- Continuing use of drugs even with the awareness of the harm it causes.
- Neglecting family obligations and financial issues.
- Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite declining physical health.
- Losing interest in hobbies.
- Changes in eating habits .
First Lets Establish That Addiction Is A Medical Problem
Addiction is a medical problem, says Dr. S. Alex Stalcup, medical director of New Leaf Treatment Center in Lafayette, California.
All of our patients get an overdose kit on their first day. People thought it was creepy at first, but we give Epi-Pens to people with allergies and devices for people who are hypoglycemic. This medical device is for a medical disease, he says. Its also another way of explicitly stating this is a disease.
Since New Leaf started providing overdose kits, deaths have also been averted, says Dr. Stalcup. He explains that folks who carry these kits are really just dealing with major risk factors until they get better.
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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.
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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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.
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.
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