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.
Tips For Coping With A Loved One’s Substance Use Disorder
The pathway to healing and recovery is often a journey that can progress over multiple years. Addiction not only involves the individual suffering from the substance use disorder, but their partner, their family, and their friends as well.
When supporting a partner or family member who is in active addiction to alcohol or other drugs, its critically important that you also take care of your well-being. It is a balancing act of offering support to your partner in navigating the treatment and recovery options available, while at the same time not losing sight of what you need to be happy and healthy.
Find 8 tips below for how to balance supporting the positive health behaviors of your partner, while also taking care of yourself.
How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction
If you think that someone you love is addicted to drugs, its important to handle the situation carefully. Before you talk to your loved one about help or treatment options for their drug addiction, you need to approach them about the problem.
- Its important that you dont confront your loved one in a way that will cause an argument.
- Its common for those abusing drugs to get angry and defensive easily, so you need to approach the situation with care.1
- Its natural to be afraid to approach your loved one about drug use, because of the uncertainty of how they will react.
- You can approach your loved one with compassion and empathy and ask if they will consider getting the help they need.1
A variety of drug addiction treatment centers and therapeutic approaches exist to best match the specific needs of each individual. Whether youre looking for inpatient or outpatient treatment, there are many options out there for anyone looking to take their life back from substance abuse.
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How To Help Someone With An Addiction
- 4th October 2021
An addiction can cause someone to lose control of their life, affecting their job, their family, and possibly even their health. Whether youre dealing with an addiction in yourself or with someone close to you, its important to remember that there is hope in getting clean and sober. This guide will help you know what to do if you suspect someone of having an addiction, how to confront them about it, and what resources are available to help them with their recovery process.
Dont Rely On Shortcuts
Many addicts will wind up in jail or institutionalized, and sadly some will die, thinking they can fix the addiction on their own with medication or self-will, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
They attempt to figure out alternative ways to stop, but the only successful approach is complete surrender with an entire change in their thought process.
The problem isnt the drugs its them and their behavior. Drugs are merely the symptom of the problem.
In the lives of drug addicts, these individuals view drugs as a shortcut and a quick fix to their problems, so why would their approach to sobriety be any different?
Sadly, families succumb to the same mindset regarding ways to help their loved ones. Many think there are alternatives outside of an intervention, failing to understand that a form of intervention is inevitably coming, either on the familys terms or on societal terms. Either way, it will occur, and if we let the addict control the kind of intervention, it wont end well. What a family is expecting their loved one to do cannot be achieved without professional help and guidance.
Addiction is the only fatal illness where people do not surrender themselves to the professionals, believing they can fix the problem on their own and denying that their family knows best.
Drug addicts and their families display almost identical behavior in the sense that both seek to fix the addiction in an easier, soft manner with as little confrontation as possible.
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Risk Factors: Long Term Side Effects
The long-term effects of heroin use can have many negative physical and behavioral consequences. Some of these effects include:1
- Increased tolerance, which requires a person to use more and more heroin to get the same effects as before. This can increase the risk of overdose.
- Physical dependence, which results in symptoms of physical withdrawal, such as vomiting, shaking, bone pain, and sweating when a person stops taking heroin.
- Emotional disorders, such as depression and effects on a persons ability to regulate behavior or deal with stressful situations.
- The risk of death due to an overdose.
- Poor decision-making abilities.
- Development of mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
Additional long-term effects of heroin use include various form of medical conditions, such as:3
- Risk of infectious disease such as HIV and Hepatitis C in those who inject heroin.
How We Can Help
In many cases, heroin addiction requires professional help to overcome. If you or someone you love are struggling with heroin use disorder, High Focus Centers is here to help. Our treatment staff takes a holistic, integrated approach that helps clients overcome drug addiction and achieve long-term wellness. Speak with a High Focus Centers treatment specialist today and start your journey to recovery.
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Are You Struggling With Heroin Addiction
As you read these symptoms of heroin addiction, do you recognize one or more of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one? Do you want to look for help, but are unsure of where to start? If you answered yes to either one of these questions, you should consider getting heroin addiction treatment for yourself or your loved one.
Change In Mood And Behavior
Over time, addiction can become all-consuming, having dramatic effects on a persons mood and behavior. Through chronic use, heroin can make changes in the brain that reinforces repeated use of the drug. This can make it difficult for people to go long stretches of time without it.
The effects of opioids on the limbic system a part of the brain can also alter emotions, and lead to rapid mood swings between euphoric highs and a low, fatigued state.
Heroin use can also lead to:
- difficulty making decisions in stressful situations
- engaging in risky behaviors
- increased risk for suicide
Once a person has become addicted to heroin, using it and getting more of it can become central to a persons thoughts. In an effort to hide their heroin use, your loved one may begin avoiding social gatherings or make excuses for spending more time alone.
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Is Drug Addiction In Canada Getting Out Of Control
Drug addiction is a massive problem in Canada with a growing number of young people and adults succumbing to substance abuse and its negative consequences. There are various types of illicit and even prescription drugs that are commonly abused and used for non-medical purposes. It helps to know these drugs, how they work and how they are used, along with the corresponding Canadian statistics that show their impact on a personal and social level.
Find An Approach That Works
There are a number of different treatment options that can be effective, so it is important to consider the options. Think about which approach might be best suited to you and your loved one’s needs and goals.
Depending on the nature of the addiction, treatment might involve psychotherapy, medication, support groups, or a combination of all of these. A few options include:
Other important factors that can affect a person’s recovery include family involvement and other social supports. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that family therapy is an important part of an effective recovery plan.
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What Is Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction is a chronic, relapsing, and treatable brain disease characterized by an inability to control substance use despite knowing the negative effects it has on your health and well-being. Addiction occurs due to many factors, including your environment, genetics, brain chemistry, and life experiences.1, 6
Addiction, also called substance use disorder , may develop because of genetic predisposition, environment, personal life experiences, other substance use, or behavior patterns unrelated to substance use.5
While heroin addiction can negatively impact a persons life, addiction is a treatable disease.5 Like other chronic medical diseases, treatment may be effective at helping a person maintain sobriety and long-lasting recovery.5
Whos At Risk For A Heroin Addiction
Addiction can happen to anyone, and anyone who takes opioids can be at risk for developing an opioid use disorder.
While its impossible to say whos at risk for an opioid use disorder, there are factors that can raise the risk of developing a drug addiction.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some of these risk factors can include:
- family or personal history of addiction to other substances
- heavy tobacco use
- exposure to high-risk individuals or environments
- history of risk-taking behavior
Its important to remember, though, that even if you or someone you care about has one or even many of these risk factors, that doesnt mean theyll develop a substance use disorder. Addiction is multifaceted. It can include genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.
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Talking About The Problem
In many cases, simply identifying the problem and having the advice of a medical professional to seek treatment, is not enough. Your friend or loved one may be worried about the impact going to treatment will have on their life . While you should never force someone into treatment, you can play an important role in talking them through these concerns. According to NIDA, most employers, friends, and loved ones will be supportive of anyone attempting to get help for their addictionhowever, this may not always be the case. Assuring your friend or loved one at this point that there are many privacy laws that protect them if they decide to seek help is a good idea at this point. Additionally, you should be supportive of their potential choice to seek help, showing them firsthand that the important people in their life will always be there.
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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What Do Parents Need To Know
When you have a child struggling with substance abuse, attempting to handle it on your own can be extremely overwhelming and can eventually become your first and only priority. It may also be difficult to take the first step because addressing the problem is disruptive of school and extracurricular activities.2 However, addiction is far more disruptive to your childs life in the end, and treatment can work. Taking the time now to get help can save your childs life.
Learning More About Treatment Options
The more you know about addiction and the treatment options that exist for the disease, the more help you can be to your friend or loved one that is struggling. It is fine to contact treatment professionals or centers in your area or to reach out to the Health and Human Services national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP to learn more. The more you know, the better equipped you are to support your friend or loved one.
As a friend or loved one, you can play an important role in helping someone get the support they need to overcome their substance use disorder. You should never think that you can solve the problem alone, and you should always seek out the support and guidance of a professional. Recovery from addiction is a process, not a destination. today to speak to a representative about our treatment programs.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
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Establish And Honor Boundaries
Creating boundaries is crucial when dealing with an addict. It can be easy to feel responsible for keeping them clean and safe, but thats not your job. If you want to help someone, your job is to provide appropriate loving support. It is not your duty to overextend yourself for their sake.
Establish boundaries to protect yourself and your energy. Limits can be things like the times youre available to talk on the phone or ways that you are willing to contribute, like healthy meals and rides to doctors appointments. Once you establish them with your loved one, honor them. They will respect you for keeping your word and appreciate your involvement.
A History Of Mental Illness
D’Orsay describes her daughter as a loving, creative and quirky young woman who never really cared about fitting in.
Ashleen grew up in Sydney, but her family moved around, eventually landing in Halifax. Her problems began in her early teens when she began to experience anxiety and depression. She started using the drugs such as MDMA, Ritalin, speed and cocaine, as well as alcohol.
Her mother believes a traumatic divorce helped sparked the substance abuse. Ashleen bounced between living with her mother, father and grandparents as she would often get frustrated by boundaries put in place by each.
She was eventually diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. Later, she was sexually assaulted and forced into the sex trade, compounding her existing mental health issues.
“For so long my daughter had not been seen as a real person with real value,” said D’Orsay.
Ashleen struggled in her early 20s when she was living in Halifax. She often lived in homeless shelters because she suffered from delusions that made it dangerous for her to be around her younger siblings.
She would sometimes end up in the ER because of the delusions, which included telling staff her mother was murdered and her younger brother was kidnapped.
Eventually, she was arrested on mischief charges stemming from those incidents. According to D’Orsay, part of Ashleen’s release conditions restricted her access to the ER and police station.
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Support Recovery As An Ongoing Process
Once your loved one decides to enter treatment, its essential that you remain involved. Continue supporting their participation in ongoing care, meetings and participate in support groups for families of addicts. Be the support system that they need, and show them that youll be there every step of the way.
Helping A Friend With Addiction
If you’re worried about a friend who has an addiction, you can use these tips to help him or her. For example, let your friend know that you are available to talk or offer your support. If you notice a friend backsliding, talk about it openly and ask what you can do to help.
If your friend is going back to drugs or drinking and won’t accept your help, don’t be afraid to talk to a nonthreatening, understanding adult, like your parent or school counselor. It may seem like you’re ratting your friend out, but it’s the best support you can offer.
Above all, offer a friend who’s battling an addiction lots of encouragement and praise. It may seem corny, but hearing that you care is just the kind of motivation your friend needs.
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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.