How to help someone with a substance abuse disorder

Jimmy Barnes
Authored by Jimmy Barnes
Posted: Monday, January 31, 2022 - 15:38

Seeing someone you care about struggle with a substance use disorder may be tremendously upsetting and draining your mental and emotional health. 

It's easy for drug addiction victims to take over your life, whether they're a spouse, close friend, child, parent, or another family member. 

It can cause you to feel shame, guilt, fear, anger, frustration and try your patience, strain your bank account, and leave you in utter despair. 

You might be concerned about your loved one's whereabouts at any given time, their risk of overdose, or the harm they're causing to their health, future, and family life.

There are many substance abuse treatment centers to take your loved ones and help them deal with the drug addiction problem. These drug rehabs have skilled professionals who can help you deal with these problems.

Understanding the substance abuse disorder

People begin using drugs for various reasons. For example, many people turn to narcotics to cope with the emotional agony of a mental health disorder like depression, anxiety, or PTSD. 

Some people may be aware they have a mental health problem but cannot discover healthier ways to cope, while others stay undiagnosed and use medicines to alleviate specific symptoms. This is known as self-medicating.

Others use drugs to alter their feelings, fit in, or relieve boredom or discontent with their lives. Unfortunately, some develop substance misuse due to a doctor's well-intentioned attempts to address a medical ailment.

Regardless of why your loved one began using drugs, not everyone who does so has a problem. While the specific causes of addiction are unknown, genetics and environmental factors are believed to play a role. 

While one individual may be able to take substances without harm, another may discover that even little usage quickly escalates into addiction—a very dark pit from which they may feel unable to climb out.

How to recognise an addiction problem

They may appear high more frequently and take more days off work or school to compensate. As a result, their work or school grades decrease, they disregard their responsibilities at home, and they have an increasing number of interpersonal problems.

They could lose their job, drop out of school, or break up with a long-term relationship.

Changes in sleep schedule, seeming weary or run-down, significant weight loss or gain, watery or bloodshot eyes, and forgetfulness or other cognition problems are all new health issues. 

They may also demonstrate frequent sniffing, nosebleeds, or shaking, depending on the type of drug they're taking.

Your loved ones may become more secretive, lying about what they're doing, where they're going, and how much they're using. If you try to talk to them about their drug usage, they may become enraged or strikeout. 

Heavy drug users frequently lose interest in old activities, lose energy, and become grumpy and depressed. They may even disregard their appearance and personal hygiene, and if the drug is taken away from them, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Continual financial difficulties are another indicator of a drug addiction victim. To finance their drug habit, your loved one may rack up credit card debt, solicit loans, or ask for money without justification.

How to confront someone with an addiction problem

You don't have to wait until your loved one reaches rock bottom. The sooner you get help for an addiction, the better.

Make it clear that you care about the individual and are concerned about their well-being. Give specific examples of your loved one's drug-related conduct that has worried you, and be open about your own feelings.

Even if you disagree with them, take the time to listen to what they have to say rather than arguing or contradicting them. Your loved one will regard you as supportive and someone they can confide in if they feel heard.

Please provide them with information on how to deal with their drug problem, whether it's by calling a hotline, enrolling in a treatment program, talking to a doctor or counselor, or attending a support group like a 12-step program.

Your loved one may become defensive or enraged and refuse to talk about their drug use with you. When faced with their behavior, many people feel ashamed and deny they have a problem. Don't quarrel with them; instead, come back to it later.

Avoid lecturing, threatening, bribing, or punishing the person. Getting angry or making emotional pleas will almost certainly increase the user's guilt and strengthen their need to use.

This is likely to be the first of many conversations you'll have with your loved ones about their drug use. There is no quick fix for addiction recovery. It may take a few chats for them to admit they have a problem, which is the first step toward recovery.

How to help someone with an addiction problem

Behavioral Therapies: Once you talk to the people and they admit the drug addiction problem, you can guide them towards behavioral therapies. These therapies are often conducted by skilled professionals who can bring these patients back on the main track of life faster.

Education: It's normal if you don't understand everything about addiction right now. Taking the time to learn about your loved one's sickness and how it affects them, on the other hand, will be extremely valuable to both you and your loved one. It also aids you in becoming more aware of the indicators that your loved one requires assistance.

Early Detection: The earlier addiction is addressed, the better with other disorders. Do not be shocked if you are confronted with denial or excuses for why they are unable or unwilling to get treatment. Be persistent in emphasizing the importance of their seeking addiction treatment, but avoid making them feel guilty or ashamed in the process.

Continual Involvement: You must stay involved once your loved one decides to seek treatment. Please continue to encourage their participation in ongoing care, meetings, and support groups for addicts' families. Be the pillar of support they require and demonstrate that you will be there for them every step of the journey.

Wrapping it up

Addiction victims don't often realize how much their family and friends care for them. Don't wait for your loved one to reach rock bottom before speaking out about your concerns. Tell them you're going to be there for them on their road to recovery. 

If you want to know more about helping someone with a substance abuse disorder, let us know in the comment box below.


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