Helping an individual who is struggling with an addiction is never easy. There are numerous factors to consider that may make it more challenging when communicating with an addict.
The substances that many addicts find themselves abusing tend to possess the ability to alter brain function and cause a dependence on the meaning that can be challenging to deal with later on. There is no formula to follow when helping those who are addicted. Each experience is unique and requires special attention and a customized rehabilitation program.
If you are the loved one of someone who abuses drugs or alcohol, there are things that you can do to help them get through treatment and ensure that they recover and do not relapse in the future.
Educate Yourself About Addiction
What you see happening on the surface is very different from what is going on internally.
People become addicted for all sorts of reasons, and understanding your loved ones and their reasoning is the first step to helping them. If they have already started treatment and are going through the withdrawal process, they might lash out at you and appear to be worse than before.
Read up on what is happening in the body and what they might be going through. Knowing this information will enable you to get a better understanding of the difficulty the individual is facing.
People suffering from addiction struggle to believe that they have loved ones who care for them. The drugs alter the brain to the point that most rational thinking fails to take place. They think that they are incapable of functioning in society without drugs and need the drugs to fit in and be loved by others.
Talk to the individual, friend, or family member if you are concerned. Don’t wait for your fears to come true. Let them know that you will be there for them every step of the way throughout their recovery.
Encourage Them To Seek Treatment.
The earlier this devastating disease is treated, the better. Try not to get disheartened or disillusioned if met with denial or excuses about why the person won’t seek treatment. Avoid making the person feel guilty or ashamed, as this will push them further over the edge. Be persistent with your support and remind them that it is essential to seek help.
Another route you could take is to hold an intervention for the individual. The process will be complex and emotional, but it will be precisely what they need if lost in the addiction. Consult an intervention specialist if you need guidance as to how to approach the subject most effectively.
Provide Ongoing Support
Letting the individual know that you support them is very different from being there throughout their treatment. Making sure to stand true to your promise will let them know that you care for them and encourage them to complete the treatment.
Attend the meetings and recovery support groups with them. Being supportive in this way will help you understand the condition more and show them that you are standing with them all the way.
Take Care of Yourself
Don’t think of it as selfish if you take time for yourself. For you to be there for others, you need to take time for yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating well. Don’t hesitate to seek help and advice if you are struggling with the process yourself.
No one is expected to take on this responsibility alone; there are support groups and organizations that can help the family and friends of addicts come to terms with what is happening and give no judgemental advice and help.
Things To Avoid
When talking to your loved one about the possibility of treatment or the current process they’re going through, there are a few things to avoid.
- Avoid preaching or lecturing them. Doing this will only drive the addict further away.
- Avoid emotional appeals that cause them to feel guilty.
- Lying to others or making excuses about their behavior will enable them further.
- Carrying out their responsibilities and allowing them to slack off.
- Giving them money to buy more drugs or alcohol.
- Avoid arguing during this time. Your loved one will be unable to reason and most likely won’t feel open to whatever you have to say.
- Don’t feel responsible or guilty for their behavior. Feeling guilty won’t help.
If you suspect that your friend or family member is abusing drugs, the best thing you can do for them is encouraging them to seek treatment. Forcing them is the first mistake many make and will result in unsuccessful treatment. They must be self-motivated enough to seek treatment for it to be successful.
The advice is, of course, on the condition that they have not acted out in any way or caused harm to others. Be firm with what you want and learn about what they’re going through. If they know that they have your support and that you will be there for them all the way through, treatment will seem less daunting and alone.