Talk To Others Who Have Been There
The best advice for you when you are seeking help for someone you love will come from others who have been through the same thing. Talk to people you know whose family members have been addicted to drugs, and find out what they did to get through it.
If you dont know anyone to ask or if you are scared or embarrassed, check out a Nar-Anon meeting for friends and families of drug addicts. You will hear many people describe their experiences going through what you are undergoing.
How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction Or Alcoholism
So, you know someone with drug addiction or alcoholism, and you want to help them, but you have no idea where to start? We understand that approaching such conversations constructively can be very difficult.
This article explains how to help someone with drug addiction or alcoholism. It describes effective ways of communicating to help your loved one make progress towards recovery.
The Five Stages of Change is a useful psychological model which represents the stages that people go through from unacknowledged addiction to stable recovery.
Understanding the Five Stages of Change will help you recognize the stage your loved one is currently in, allowing you to help them in the ways that are most effective for that particular stage.
What Warning Signs Have I Seen
There may be one particular incident that pushes you toward talking to your loved one about addiction. However, there have probably been many other signs often subtle youve noticed along the way. Indications of addiction to look for in your family member or friend include:
- Change in Appearance Is my normally well-dressed loved one neglecting their personal appearance?
- Health Issues Is my loved one suffering from new health issues?
- Altered Behavior Have I noticed major changes in how my loved one is acting?
- Different Spending Habits Has my loved one asked me for money without giving a reason?
- Issues at School or Work Does my loved one skip school or work frequently or have a dramatic change in performance?
You may not even know for sure that your loved one is using drugs, but these questions can help you determine if your spouse, family member or friend is using and trending toward addiction.
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Do: Seek Counseling Or Therapy
Addiction affects everyone, from the person in treatment to their loved ones. Its important to ensure youre well enough to manage the potential stress of helping someone dealing with addiction. Acknowledging that you may be in over your head and in need of professional help is normal and healthy. Its also necessary for you to help your loved one to the best of your abilities.
Ways To Support Your Special Someone With Drug Addiction
For an addict, deciding to get help and kick the addiction is no easy feat. Luckily, studies have shown that with the additional love and support of someone close to the addict, their chances of recovery are much higher.
While each situation of addiction has its own unique sets of circumstances and factors at play, there are some general guidelines as to the best way to help someone and offer support.
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Keep The Commitment To Communicate Going Strong
Helping someone overcome a drug habit is a lot of work. This is a task that is not for the faint of heart. To communicate with somebody who does not want to be communicated with and to communicate with them on the very subject that they would never want to discuss just makes the whole thing that much more difficult. However, communication and its proper use is the number one tool for convincing drug addicts to get help. You need to keep this up, and you need to keep trying and keep using different techniques until you convince the person to get the help that they need.
Drug Addiction: How To Talk To Someone Youre Worried About
If someone is addicted to drugs, they may lose control of their drug use to the point where they cause harm to themselves or those around them.
It can be upsetting to know that someone you care about has a problem with drugs, and not know how to help them.
Whether theyre abusing drugs or alcohol, you can’t force that person to stop using if they dont want to, but you can encourage them to seek help.
In this article youll learn about the signs of addiction, how to talk to someone about their drug use, and how to support them while they are in treatment.
We also address the importance of looking after yourself while you are supporting someone who is abusing drugs.
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What If They Dont React Well To The Conversation
Talking about your concerns doesnt always work first time. People often feel scared or ashamed, or might deny anything is wrong at all. If someone is getting angry or defensive, try and keep things calm. You might have to end the conversation. If you do want to try and have another talk with someone later on, you might want to begin by apologising for anything that upset them before.
If someone isnt willing to talk at all, remember that its not your fault. You’ve tried to reach out and help, and you shouldnt feel guilty. They might not feel ready to talk about it now, but you may have made them more likely to open up in the future.
A Note From Addiction Policy Forum
Substance use disorders get worse over time. The earlier treatment starts the better the chances for long-term recovery. Many families are wrongly told to wait for rock bottom and that their loved one needs to feel ready to seek treatment in order for it to work. The idea that we should wait for the disease to get worse before seeking treatment is dangerous. Imagine if we waited until stage 4 to treat cancer. Decades of research has proven that the earlier someone is treated, the better their outcomesand that treatment works just as well for patients who are compelled to start treatment by outside forces as it does for those who are self-motivated to enter treatment.
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Early Intervention Is Best
Intervening at an early stage is the most beneficial course of action for the addicted person. Like any illness, the condition responds best to treatment in the early stages. It is important not to simply ignore the problem until a major breaking point occurs. It is unlikely that the addict will seek help for their problem by themselves during this time, so your intervention is crucial.
In the workplace, the addictive behaviour of a colleague is often endured until they are fired or offered a redundancy package. This course of action will not help the individual, and instead they should be given the choice to access treatment in order to keep their job. The risk of long-term psychological damage, and irreversible harm to health, both increase the longer a problem is ignored. In Ireland, alcohol is implicated in over 1000 deaths per year.
What Does Denial In Addiction Look Like
Denial can be outright refusal to believe there is an issue. It can also be recognizing there may be a problem and their problems arent that bad. Comparisons to others who have lost more than they have is a common justification and manipulation to themselves and others. Many alcoholics feel they do not have a problem because they are still employed. An addict addicted to opiates may think they are justified because of legitimate physical pain and they arent junkies because the medication was prescribed by a doctor. A common denominator behavior in most alcoholics and addicts is the thought that every problem is somebody elses fault. Many are also in denial that they need professional help and believe they can fix any problem themselves. Below are a few examples of denial:
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A Person Is A Person Is A Person: Labels Arent Your Call To Make
But what about when people refer to themselves as a junkie? Or as an alcoholic, like when introducing yourself in AA meetings?
Just like when talking to people with disabilities or health conditions, its not our call to make.
Ive been called a junkie a thousand times. I can refer to myself as a junkie, but no one else is allowed to. Im allowed to, says Tori, a writer and former heroin user.
People throw it around it makes you sound like s***, Tori continues. Its about your own self-worth, she says. There are words out there that hurt people fat, ugly, junkie.
Amy, an operations manager and former heroin user, had to balance burdensome cultural differences between her first-generation self and her parents. It was difficult, and still is to this day, for her parents to understand.
In Chinese, there are no words for drugs. Its just the word poison. So, it literally means youre poisoning yourself. When you have that harsh language, it does make something seem more severe, she says.
Connotations matter, Amy continues. Youre making them feel a certain way.
Language defines a subject, says Dr. Stalcup. Theres a huge stigma attached to it. Its not like when you think of other conditions, like cancer or diabetes, he says. Close your eyes and call yourself a drug addict. Youll get a barrage of negative visual images you cant ignore, he says.
I feel strongly about this A person is a person is a person, Dr. Stalcup says.
Dont Talk To Them About It While They Are Under The Influence
Do your best to try and find a time to talk to the person while they are sober. A conversation with someone who has been drinking too much or is so high they cannot keep their eyes open wont be very productive. The best time to get through to someone is while they are sober, or at least as sober as they are willing to be.
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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.
Have You Tried To Stop
Not all drug addicts deny they have a problem. Many people battling addiction know they need to stop using, and will even try to stop on their own. Nevertheless, without the support of people close to them or help from professionals, beating addiction is an even tougher fight. Ask your family member or friend if they have thought about stopping or even tried to do so. If your loved one has tried to stop, tell them how proud you are and offer your support to help them stop for good.
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How To Talk To Your Loved Ones About Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is a terrifying problem. It has the potential to consume someones life, ruin relationships and even lead to death. If one of your loved ones is struggling with drug addiction, it can be very difficult to communicate with them about these dangers and assist them in seeking help.
Many drug addicts live in denial about their disease and are unwilling to go into a recovery program in Phoenix, AZ. It can be difficult for them to accept help or hear that their struggle with drug abuse is taking a toll on their loved ones. Even still, its important for you to maintain open communication with your loved one and attempt to convince them to seek the treatment they need.
The importance of starting a conversation
Speaking up and having a conversation with your loved one is extremely important. You may feel like you are overstepping boundaries, but as long as your input on their addiction is coming from a place of compassion and concern for their wellbeing, you should not feel afraid to try to help.
Talking to your loved one about their addiction can help them realize they are not alone in their struggle and that they have a support system to lean on while they work on recovering.
If your loved one refuses to seek help, its okay to set boundaries and make them aware of your personal limits if they continue to use drugs. Make sure to express these limits gently, but seriously.
Recognising The Signs Of Addiction
If you suspect someone is struggling with drug addiction, you may notice them:
- Taking the drug very often
- Being unable to stop or take less of the drug
- Hiding their drug use from others
- Lie about how much they take
- Taking the drug even if it causes them harm
- Taking the drug when they are alone
- Taking extreme measures to obtain more of the drug
- Doing less of the things they once enjoyed so they can take more of the drug
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Symptoms Of Drug Abuse
There are many signs both physical and behavioral that indicate drug use. Each drug has its own unique manifestations, and symptoms of abuse vary from drug to drug. However, some general signs that your loved one may be addicted to drugs include:
- Sudden change in behavior
- Problems at school or work
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Becoming careless about personal grooming
- Loss of interest in hobbies, sports and other favorite activities
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Sudden requests for money or a spike in spending habits
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use or addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs.
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.
Is It An Addiction Or Something Else Signs A Loved One May Be An Addict
Family members or friends undergoing inexplicable physical, emotional and mental changes involving these signs may have an addiction to drugs or alcohol:
- Bloodshot eyes not attributed to other medical or environmental conditions
- Unusual pupil size
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Unexplained weight loss
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Neglecting personal grooming
- Slurred, incoherent speech when no odor of alcohol is detected
- Excessive perspiration, nervousness, irritability
- Changes in attitude, personality, general outlook on life
- Mood changes that occur without warningsudden deep depression, sudden angry outbursts, or appearing apathetic and lethargic after a period of agitation
- Having trouble keeping a job and blaming getting fired on bad bosses or troublemaking co-workers when the real problem is their addiction
Paranoia is another classic symptom of addiction. Cocaine, Adderall and methamphetamine users often report being followed by shadow people, or thinking that strangers are out to get them. Addicts may even sleep in closets or cover their windows with black curtains because of paranoid thinking.
Drug or alcohol addicts will try to control everyone they want to hide their addiction from by manipulating them, deliberately pitting one family member against another for selfish reasons and doing anything to prevent their addiction from being exposed. However, addicts never admit to being the cause of family drama or fractured relationships.
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Have You Thought About Getting Help
Many addicts have probably thought about getting help, either from the people who care about them or professionals, but something holds them back. Ask your loved one if they have thought about getting help and about any fears they might have. Drug addiction comes with a stigma. An addicts fear of judgment may stop them from asking for help. They may also worry about the cost and the chance of failure. It could be that they dont know where to start asking for help. Perhaps, one of their biggest fears is being unable to picture a life after drugs.
Ask your loved one to describe any fears. Think about what you can do to allay those fears and get your family member or friend on the path to sobriety. With your unwavering support, you can help your loved one find affordable treatment. Assure the person you care about that you do not judge. Youll be there before, during and after treatment.
Im Willing To Support Your Recovery
While its important to express your love, its equally important to let him know that you do not condone or support his addiction. By drawing a proverbial line in the sand, it clearly indicates youre not an enabler.
It also says you love him enough to stand by him on the road to recovery and that kind of support can make a world of difference.
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