What Are The Effects Of Addiction On Family And Friends
Alcohol and drug addiction is a widespread concern in our society, with an estimated 50% of all Americans having a family member or close friend who has struggled with a substance use disorder.9 In fact, more than 1 in 10 children in the United States live with at least 1 adult who has a substance use disorder.10 The long-term impact of alcohol and drug abuse on family members can be profound. For example, children who grow up in a home with a caregiver who has addiction or substance abuse issues are more likely to have social, emotional, academic or behavioral issues.10 Other consequences in families where one member has a substance use disorder can include poor communication, increased risk of interpersonal violence and overall impairment of emotional connections.10
Sometimes, when you are close with someone with substance abuse issues, you can suffer from caregiver stress and feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, and you may suffer from depression or anxiety.13
How Can I Help Someone Struggling With Alcohol Or Drug Addiction
Helping a person who is struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction can be a difficult thing to do. Remember that you cannot control a persons substance use, nor can you make them do anything. However, you can voice your concerns and offer your support, including offering to go to a treatment assessment with them or encouraging them to attend a self-help meeting such as Alcoholics Anonymous.7 If your friend or family member expresses hesitation, fearing that treatment wont work, assure them that rehabilitation treatment to help people quit does indeed work and that substance use disorders can be successfully managed. It is important to emphasize that treatment is necessary to repair damage to brain function that was caused by and promotes compulsive, repetitive substance use.8
Urge Her To Tell Her Doctor And Spouse
My addiction began because I wasnt properly treating my postpartum depression and anxiety. Weiss says she has seen many patients who absolutely self-medicate to combat mental illness.
Your friend needs to see a doctor who can help her find the right treatment and medication for her problems. And if her spouse doesnt know, he or she cant help. Telling my husband that I was abusing prescription pills was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was also one of the best. He helped me with logistics like finding a detox facility and babysitters. Having his help was enormous. Your friend may, understandably, be afraid of telling her spouse, but in the long run this will strengthen their relationship.
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The Importance Of Early Intervention & Treatment
If drug use is suspected, early invention is essential to ensure the most robust chances of successful recovery. Friends and family members may choose to stage an intervention once signs of drug use are apparent if so, a professional interventionist can guide the planning process and the execution of the event for best results.
Loved ones should also research comprehensive addiction treatment programs. Treatment should include both medical detox and therapy to address the underlying issues related to substance abuse.
Legal Drugs Vs Illegal Drugs
People can become addicted to illegal drugs, legal drugs, and prescription medications used in an unhealthy way, such as:
Nicotine, including cigarettes and vaping
Misusing prescription medicines like opioids, or over-the-counter medicines by taking them in a different way than intended, such as:
Taking medicine prescribed for someone else
Taking a larger dose than prescribed
Using the medicine in a different way than directed, such as crushing and snorting or injecting
Using the medicine to get high on purpose
The risks and speed of developing an addiction depend on the drug. Some drugs, like opioid painkillers, cause addiction very quickly. Drugs have a strong effect on the brains reward system, by filling the brain with a chemical called dopamine which produces the feeling of being high. Over time, the brain gets used to the larger amount of dopamine so it needs larger doses of the drug to get high. Some people might feel like they need the drug to just feel normal. When drugs are used for a long time, they damage the areas of the brain responsible for judgment, decision-making, memory, and learning.
No matter the type of addiction, if you recognize symptoms, it is important to seek the necessary help. Contact us today to take the first step.
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Helping A Friend With A Drug Addiction
Theres no exact formula for telling you how to talk to a friend whos suffering from a drug addiction. However, other people in similar situations have shared their stories on how they got the conversation started.
Here are the top 5 things to keep in mind when talking to a friend about addiction:
Talk When Theyre Sober
Initiate a conversation when your friend is sober. If theyre under the influence of drugs during the discussion, they are less likely to be understanding of the matter.
Set a time where just the 2 of you can talk. Discuss your concerns, but understand the conversation is a 2-way street. Give your friend time to voice their feelings and listen to what they have to say. Your goal is to bring awareness about their addiction, not accuse them of wrongdoing.
Sometimes specific scenarios can provide a clear explanation for your concerns. For example, maybe you and your friend attended a party together where they took drugs. You may have been responsible for making sure your friend got home safely and saw firsthand the negative consequences of their drug use.
You may even be able to discuss how their behavior changes after using a certain drug. Be honest about what you enjoy when your friend is sober and how circumstances change after they use the drug.
Show Love And Support
Let your friend know youre always there for them no matter what. Your unconditional love will express that you have their best interest at heart.
Temporary Escape Permanent Problem
Nobody likes to feel negative emotions, but a part of growing up is learning about how to sit with them and cope effectively with an objective to create solutions. Many of us have turned to alcohol and substances in the past when faced with overwhelm, but what happens when the solution always seems to be getting obliterated?
All feelings are temporary, both the negative and the positive and consistently escaping into the temporary release of substances is a progressively more severe form of self-harm. We wouldnt sit back if we saw our friends cutting themselves, so we cant afford to sit back when the negative behavior takes another form which could be just as self-destructive.
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Learn The Symptoms Of Addiction
Its really important that youre aware of the symptoms of addiction so you can spot warning signs and patterns in your friends destructive behaviours, and support them accordingly.
Does your friend:
- Regularly drink, take drugs, or engage in behaviours regardless of the problems these cause in their life?
- Seem to need to drink more alcohol, take more drugs and engage in compulsive behaviours more frequently to achieve the high or buzz they crave?
- Lie about their activities and whereabouts?
- Deny that they have a problem, both to themselves and others?
- Miss out on special occasions because of their drinking, drug use or other behaviours?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, its likely that your friend is struggling with a substance or behavioural addiction.
What To Say To Someone Struggling With Addiction
It is important to talk to your friend about their substance abuse problem. It is recommended to initiate a conversation when they are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.2 If they are not sober during the discussion, they are less likely to be understanding of the matter. Its also recommended to meet in a neutral place and to talk for more than a few minutes.
You should create a two-way dialogue so that your friend doesnt feel they are being lectured. Be sure to list the dangerous behaviors that you have observed and emphasize that you are worried about the effects that their addiction is having on both them and their family. Experts suggest developing and repeating a consistent, positive message, such as we care about you and we want you to get help.2
Prior to your discussion, you should find a rehab program for your friend. Do diligent research of all available treatment options and ask plenty of questions before making your selection. Depending on the substance being abused and the level of addiction, detox treatment may be needed before starting therapy.3
Find out exactly how the program works, and plan for your friend to start treatment immediately. To make the decision to go easier for your friend to make, have a bag packed and transportation prearranged.
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How Can You Help A Loved One Get The Help They Need
Mention the word treatment in relation to substance use and many people think of long-term residential facilities or detox. In fact, treatment includes both of these options and a variety of others.
Treatment addresses the individuals physical, psychological, emotional, and social conditions. Sustained reduction in alcohol or other drug use and sustained increases in personal health and social function are the primary goals.
The type of treatment is based on the severity of the problem. For risky people with an active addiction, treatment can be as simple as a screening and a brief intervention. For people exhibiting signs of dependence or addiction, a screening will probably lead to a referral for more intense level of care.
All treatment starts with a screening, which is a series of questions about the amount and frequency of alcohol or other drug use and the consequences it may be causing. Screening can be done by many types of professionals, including a physician in a hospital or an office, a nurse, a clinical social worker, or a licensed substance abuse counselor.
To help someone you know who you think may have a substance use problem, you first need to get them screened. Your best bet is to talk to your own physician or employee assistance professional about referring you to someone who can help, such as a licensed substance abuse counselor or family therapist.
To find a treatment program, visit SAMHSAs Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.
Supporting A Friend Through Recovery
Friends can play a more important role in addiction recovery than they might realize.
In recovery, its so vitally important to have social support to bolster someones ability to get well, says William Wright, MD, an addiction psychiatrist at Atrium Health. Were social creatures oftentimes doing something in a vacuum doesnt work.
People who have friends dealing with addiction or substance use disorders often dont know how to help or where to begin. One of the most important things they can do is to educate themselves on addiction and to understand that addiction is a disease, not a choice. People who dont understand this fact can unknowingly inflict damage by creating a stigma of addiction with their words or actions. They might use labels like addict that diminish a person, or they might assume that someone dealing with addiction can simply choose to stop using.
When people perpetuate this stigma, theyre hurting our patients, says Larry Coplin, director of addiction services at Atrium Heath. When people tell someone with an addiction, Just stop. Stop using, it doesnt work that way. This is a chronic illness. It is a chemical malfunction in the brain that takes over the survival mechanisms of the person.
My whole thing, for people I know and even people I dont know, is asking Are you OK? says Harvel. Because we know if somebodys not OK. But be a voice to them and ask, Are you OK?
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How Can I Help
It can feel daunting to confront a mate about their drug use, but its important for friends to help each other. You may feel hurt by things theyve done, but remember that they probably didnt intend to hurt you. Addiction drives the best people to make poor decisions.
Acknowledge that your friend might not see their drug use as a problem
Without an understanding that theres a problem, there wont be a solution. Be honest with your friend about what you think the problem is, and make sure they understand that abusing drugs is a serious issue.
Talk to your friend about your concerns
Talk about the negative effects of addiction in terms of something your friend really cares about. They might not be worried about their health or about getting through uni, but they may really care that someone they love is suffering because of their addiction.
Be positive and let your friend know that youre there for them
Help them stay focused on positive goals that dont include drugs. Support and acknowledge the positive things they do and achieve, and dont abandon your friend when they slip up it will probably take time for them to turn things around.
Avoid using emotional appeals
Dont try to guilt-trip them, and dont preach, bribe or threaten them this will only upset them and push them away.
What Should I Do If My Friend Is Using Drugs
First, understand addiction is a condition that can affect anyone. It does not mean your friend is weak, naïve, or badit means your friend is sick and needs support.
In the United States, more than 20 million people suffer from addiction every year. And more than 90 percent started drinking alcohol or using drugs before they were 18-years-old. This means if youre a teenager or young adult, chances are some of the peers around you are experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and other substances.
Unfortunately, of those 21 million people suffering from addiction, only 10 percent reach out for help. Heres what you can do to encourage your friend to be a part of the percentage of people who do.
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American Addiction Centers Can Help
Drugabuse.com is a subsidiary of American Addiction Centers , a leading provider in outpatient programs, drug and alcohol detox care and inpatient rehab programs. If you are struggling with addiction and considering detox or rehab, call our team for free to help you find the treatment you need. You can reach us at .
American Addiction Centers accepts many insurance plans and can work with you on a manageable payment plan. Find out if your insurance coverage includes addiction rehab and treatment by verifying your insurance instantly or visiting the links below:
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
- stuff missing, such as money, valuables or prescription drugs.
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Do Not Support The Addiction
I dont want my friends and family to feel complicit in my addiction, but I obtained many of my pills by simply asking for their leftovers most people had extra painkillers from surgeries, dental problems or another injury, and were willing to hand them over. If a friend asks you for pills, don’t give them to her. And if you think your friend might be dealing with an alcohol addiction, try to avoid inviting her to events that involve or are focused around drinking, like happy hour.
Know The Importance Of Long
Sometimes the road to addiction recovery requires more than just a detox. Co-occurring disorders are very common with substance abusers. In fact, a government study has shown that half of the people diagnosed with substance abuse also suffer from a mental disorder, and the best way to treat these clients include a combination of physical and mental treatments.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on the psychological side of addiction and combats the negative thoughts and behaviors that lead to substance abuse. This form of therapy gives clients the tools they need to manage anxiety and stress, which can be especially helpful for those with co-occurring disorders. Addiction often stems from harmful thoughts that lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drug or alcohol abuse, but CBT teaches ways to actively stride toward a healthier mindset that steers away from dwelling on past behaviors.
Here are the 5 phases used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
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What Advice Can I Give A Friend Who Is Addicted To Drugs
ByJames Handforth | Submitted On November 02, 2009
If someone is a drug addict, the chances are that he will either hang out with other addicts or nobody at all. Drug addicts are socially alienated because they are supposed to be a kind of social stigma. If you have a friend who has got into addiction then instead of running away from him you should help him out with your advice and moral support. He might have lost all his friends and maybe the sympathies of his family too. The most valuable thing that you can give to your friend, if he is addicted to a drugs, is your advice based on goodwill.
If your friend has acquired this habit recently, it would not be so difficult to dissuade him from taking drugs. You should inform him about the harmful effects of taking drugs on our minds and bodies. Some people get addicted to drugs because they find themselves in complicated situations in their life regarding their finances, relationships, careers, studies etc. If you, as a friend, can sort out the problems and help him in overcoming the troubles that he is facing, you might convince him to stop taking drugs. Drug addiction is not that hard to give up, if someone has the brains to foresee the terrible consequences of taking drugs in the long run.
James Handforth is a health expert. You can get rid of drug additions by taking his help and get complete checkup at rehab London and for more information visit his recommended website at .