Helping a loved one struggling with drug addiction is a heartbreaking and long journey. Drug addiction is often referred to as a family disease because it affects the entire family. Whether it is your sister, brother, husband, father, mother or even friend suffering from drug addiction, it can also take a toll on your life. There are times when it seems easier to just ignore the situation, but the truth is that sweeping it under the rug is only going to cause even more trouble in the long term. As painful as it may be, it is important that you take out the time to get your loved home the help they need to get over their addiction.
First things first, in order to help someone, you have to have an understanding of drug addiction. There are different reasons why people start doing drugs and not everyone may become addicted to them. Teen addiction, both for males and females, usually stems from curiosity or peer pressure. Later on, drugs can also be used for boosting athletic performance or even for numbing emotional pain. Women are more likely to become addicted to drugs due to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety or because of neglect, abuse or other traumatic experiences.
The next step is to look for the signs and symptoms of drug addiction, both behavioral and physical. There are unique manifestations of every drug and the symptoms can also vary, but there are some general signs that indicate that your loved one has become addicted. Here are some of the notable ones:
• Mood swings
• Lack of motivation or energy
• Sudden change in behavior
• Runny or stuffed nose and glassy or red eyes
• Withdrawal from family members
• Changing sleeping pattern
• Loss of interest in sports, hobbies and other favorite activities
• Problems at school or work
• Sudden increase in their monetary spending
There is no magic formula that you can use for helping your loved one when they are addicted to drugs. You have to understand that addiction is complex and it takes time to realize how the disease affects the addicted. They feel isolated and don’t always understand how their family and friends feel. Don’t wait for them to hit rock bottom. Instead, show them your support and that you are going to be there throughout their recovery journey. This is not the time for you to get angry or push them. Don’t enable their behavior by giving them money or covering up for them.
Another mistake to avoid is taking over their responsibilities because you are simply protecting them from the consequences of their behavior. Emotional appeals are also not recommended because they incite guilt and is only going to lead to arguments. As they are addicts, they will not be able to have a rational conversation and are not going to respond the way you want them to. It is better for you to sit down and talk; encourage them to get help. It is normal for you to get denial or excuses initially, but you have to be persistent and explain to them why it is important to get treatment. Never make them feel ashamed or guilty during this process as it will only drive them away. If you believe you will not be able to get through, you can involve someone who will or even get an intervention specialist. Once the addict has decided to get treatment, it is time to figure out where to take them. There are plenty of rehabilitation centers you can find, but you have to decide if your loved ones needs inpatient or outpatient care. Consider The Recovery Village, a trustworthy drub rehab center in Columbus, Ohio. This depends on the level of addiction and the drug they are addicted to.
The treatment will begin with a medical assessment, which means you have to make an appointment with the doctor. When the assessment is complete, the doctor will refer to a drug addiction treatment program. You can get your loved one enrolled in it and attend the family sessions organized. During the process, the addict has to undergo detoxification and therapy, which can be very tough, but you have to stand by their side and provide them with motivation and encouragement throughout their treatment.
After they have completed their respective program, another tough phase begins for them and that is learning how to live sober. Chances of relapse are very high here because they will have opportunities and this is where you have to be very careful. There are outpatient programs available that can make it easier for them to cope with the temptations. The key is to be there at every step of the treatment process because having a good support system can make all the difference in the world. As long as they have encouragement, the addicts will be able to stick to their rehabilitation and adjust, thereby living a healthy and happy life.