Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Supporting Someone With Drug Addiction

What If The Person Doesnt Want Help For Drugs Or Alcohol

Understanding addiction to support recovery (:60)

Ultimately, its the persons decision whether to seek professional help. Many people who misuse drugs or alcohol find it hard to ask for help at first, but may want to reach out later on. Be careful not to nag the person, since this might discourage them from opening up in the future.

Clearly state any behaviours you expect, or wont tolerate, from the person. You might not accept drug use in your home, for example.

Encourage the person to use safely to minimise the risk of harming themselves for example, through needle and syringe programs or opioid replacement programs.

Find an NSP in your state or territory here. You can also use the healthdirect Service Finder to find one near you. Select By name and type needle into the search bar.

Its important to know that you cant force the person to stop using drugs or alcohol. Only they can choose to change.

Gp And Specialist Services

If you are looking for support with your drug or alcohol use, often the first option is to:

  • Contact your GP

These services can discuss your drug use and how it is affecting you. They can also explain your treatment options, and refer you to a specialist for more support.

If you visit your local drug and alcohol service, they should assign you a key worker. This is likely to be a doctor, nurse or drug worker. They can make a care plan with you, and keep seeing you regularly to offer support.

Whichever service you use, they should discuss your options with you and take your opinions into account. They should do this before you start any treatment or support.

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.

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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.

Recognize That Theres A Lot To Learn About Substance Use Disorder

Recovery from Addiction Is Possible With Your Help

Experiencing feelings of fear, worry and anger are understandable and normal for someone on the sidelines trying to support a loved one. As with any other chronic illness, the more informed you are the better you will be able to support them. You can help them, and yourself, by seeking more education.

Learn more about substance use disorder, interventions, treatment methods and recovery programs. And recognize that now is not the time to nag or lecture your loved one about what they should have done in the past or how things could have been better.

Seek professional help on how to approach your loved one about their substance use so they can get the proper treatment. Assistance in Recovery is one resource in our community that offers advocates who can help coach you on the best ways to do this. They can also explain the variety of treatment options out there for your loved one many of which include the involvement of family and other supporters.

Were here when you need us. HealthPartners has alcohol and substance use recovery treatment programs in Minnesota and Wisconsin:

Read Also: How To Beat Nicotine Addiction

Dont Wait To Take Supportive Actions

Denial can happen for the addict and for the family and friends involved too. It can be a lot easier to put off actions and conversations, but that means missed opportunities for early healing and greater risks of physical, psychological, emotional, and life damage. The diverse effects of drug addiction can be devastating.

Work through any barriers rather than against them:

Even if the person you care about is resistant and, so far, blocking your attempts to connect them with real help, you can always call a treatment center for advice.

How Can Addiction Be Successfully Treated

Addiction is a chronic disease that causes significant changes in the way the brain functions and how a person behaves. It is characterized by the compulsive misuse of a substance, even though it brings about significant negative consequences. Addiction can be treated and managed successfully through evidence-based behavioral therapies and, in some cases, medication.4 Some rehab centers use alternative therapies in treating addiction.

Addiction develops after a person uses or misuses substances and then loses their ability to control their use, negatively affecting their home, work, school and/or family life.4 This loss of control is often fueled by the way the body adapts to regular exposure to a substance: tolerance and physical dependence.

Tolerance is characterized by the need to take more of a drug to keep feeling the desired effects.5 As an individual exposes their body to regular use of certain drugs, the body adapts to its constant presence. When the drug is taken away withdrawal symptoms emerge as the body re-adjusts to not having the drug anymore. This can lead to strong cravings for the substance to relieve uncomfortable or distressing withdrawal symptoms, and may result in an individual struggling to quit using and relapsing or returning to substance use.

Treatment for drug and alcohol addiction focuses on management of the disorder, much like the process of managing other chronic diseases, including asthma or heart disease.6

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Loving An Addict Or Alcoholic: How To Help Someone With Addiction

If you love someone who is struggling with addiction, you may feel helpless, scared, confused, and desperately want them to seek treatment. This page will discuss the symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse, how codependency affects these relationships, and where to find addiction help for your loved one.

Though there are common themes and issues in a relationship with a person who has a substance use disorder, each persons situation is different, and the solutions discussed here may or may not work in your situation.

What Warning Signs Have I Seen

How to Support a Significant Other Battling Addiction

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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Tip #: Get Counseling

It may be helpful to get some individual counseling to assist yourself. Counseling isnt just for the addict. The more you are able to manage the better you will be able to help your loved one. There are a variety of resources to find counselors. Your company may have an Employee Assistance Program or your health insurance may have mental health benefits that you can access. Talk to someone you trust about finding the resources you need and do a search for resources in your area.

Support For Recreational Drug And Alcohol Problems

Find support options for drug and alcohol problems, and for your mental health. Includes information on talking therapy, self-help groups and medication.

It can feel hard to ask for help for drug and alcohol problems. This may feel especially difficult if you also struggle with your mental health. But there are ways to get treatment and support for both.

This page covers:

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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.

Discuss Concerns When They Are Under The Influence Or Their Emotions Are Running High

Addiction support services in British Columbia receive funding

Nothing meaningful or helpful can be discussed when someone is under the influence or the people involved are upset. No one thinks clearly when theyre overwhelmed by their emotions. It can feel uncomfortable to hold onto what you want to say for a later time, but waiting for the right moment to discuss serious issues is important. Otherwise, you risk using harsh language that increases hurt and shame and lessens the chances theyll respond positively.

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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.

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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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.

Take Our Substance Abuse Self

Understanding addiction to support recovery (:30)

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.

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What Should You Do In An Emergency

Does your loved one have any of the following symptoms? If so, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

  • Lost consciousness after taking drugs.
  • Became unconscious after drinking alcohol, especially if five or more drinks were consumed in a short period of time.
  • Had been drinking and is seriously considering suicide.
  • Has a history of heavy drinking and has severe withdrawal symptoms, such as confusion and severe trembling. Severe withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens , can cause death.

The Benefits Of Taking Action Early On

Its no secret that taking action early on can prevent a lot of heartaches later down the road. For Health Conscious people, taking action early on is key to maintaining their health and preventing future health problems. For drug addiction taking early steps can mean the difference between getting clean and staying addicted. And for people needing rehabilitation, taking action early on can speed up the process and help them get back on their feet sooner. In short, taking action early on is always a good idea. It can help you avoid many problems down the road and put you on the path to a better future. So if youre facing a tough decision, dont wait take action now and see where it leads you. It could be the best decision you ever make.

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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

Remember That Addiction Is A Disease

Addiction Support Podcast: Addiction Support for Family &  Friends, From ...

Drugs and alcohol can rewire the brain, disrupting function and leading to dependency. It results in a distorted value system that shifts toward supporting ongoing substance use.

Its natural to get frustrated with your loved one when you see them doing something thats harmful to their health. For your own well-being, you may occasionally need to limit your contact if that person is actively using substances or alcohol.

But be wary of making them feel like an outcast. This can lead to feelings of shame and make them less comfortable reaching out for support. After they enter recovery, when it feels appropriate, you can slowly open up more communication with them. Try to understand how substance misuse became a routine part of their life and ask how you can best support them.

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Help For Families Of Drug Addicts Or Alcoholics

Seeking support for yourself is just as important as getting your loved one help with drug addiction. Your needs are just as important as anyone elses.

Families often take part in family therapy as a way of obtaining support, and it is often a component of addiction treatment programs.3 Family therapy can address underlying communication issues or other concerns to help support behavior change.3

Additional forms of support can include mutual support groups for families and loved ones of people with addiction, such as Al-anon, Nar-anon, SMART Recovery for Family and Friends, or Codependents Anonymous .2, 17, 18

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