Addiction is a chronic condition in which a person continuously uses alcohol or drugs despite negative effects. It is crucial to understand the signs and symptoms of addiction to be able to support your loved one in getting necessary help. The signs and symptoms depicted by substance addicts may include neglecting key family responsibilities, strong cravings for the substance, and abandoning previous activities in favor of substance use. Addiction may cause both emotional and physical effects to the addicts. These effects may also spill over to the families of addicts.
Tips for Dealing With Addicts
Before helping your loved ones who are addicted to substance use, it is important to know that they may not be willing to listen to you. They may not see any value in addiction treatment. They may also deny that they are addicts. Therefore, your concern and help may not make any sense to them. Faced with all these challenges, one of the best strategies you can apply is giving them attention by listening to them. Be sure to ask them leading questions to sustain the conversation. This opens up the communication channels, allowing your loved ones to acknowledge their problem and accept you help. Remember your role is to support, not to dominate the conversation. When dealing with an addict, you need to do the following:
- Approach your loved one at the time he is trying to quit. This is the best time because the decision to quit comes from the addict himself, meaning that he has independently realized he has a problem that needs a solution.
- Remain calm no matter how negative the response may be.
- Show care when expressing your concern so that the addict realizes that you really care. Addiction time is when families of addicts should really care for their loved ones.
- Make suggestions about addiction treatment options and allow the addict to choose the one he prefers. Avoid imposing the treatment.
You need to avoid the following when dealing with your loved addict:
- Blame and judgment. This may result in shame and guilt.
- Aggression and confrontation. This may scare away the addict.
- Approaching the addict in public or when he is under influence. Public approach attracts shame. When the person is under the influence, he may not reason and see sense in what you say.
How to Seek Help for Addicts
Seeking proper help for your loved one is crucial in helping him quit addiction. You can help the addict through the following ways:
Support groups can either be local or national groups that help in addiction treatment, or offer help for families of addicts. The groups offer help by providing a network of solidarity and encouragement for addicts seeking to overcome the condition. The groups benefit the addicts by enabling them to mingle with other people who also seek sober life. They help in teaching them skills of overcoming cravings for substance. The groups also enable the addicts to share their experiences.
Local support groups that help addicts include Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, and Alcoholics Anonymous. The national organizations that offer help to addicts include the following:
- Self-management and recovery training, or SMART, which focuses on empowering addicts. The organization assigns each group of addicts a licensed counselor who guides the addicts in completing a four-point program.
- Save Our Selves, or SOS. Just like SMART, it focuses on self-empowerment. SOS applies a secular approach to addiction recovery. The organization uses honest communication to help addicts overcome the problem.
- Women for Sobriety (WFS). This offers help solely to women addicts. Its program is based on 13 “acceptance statements” believed to determine the approach of recovering women to life. The statements benefit women addicts by encouraging them to forget their past mistakes and focus on the future.
Contacting an addiction professional helps your loved one by ensuring he gets expert help. Professionals that may help with addiction include counselors and therapists. Physicians with experience in addiction treatment can also be helpful. You may also take your loved one to addiction resources, including a drug rehabilitation center where he can receive help. Rehabilitation centers include Cumberland Heights Rehab Center located in Tennessee and Fairbanks Hospital found in Indiana.
You can offers help to your loved one who is addicted by simply ensuring that he follows the self-care instructions recommended by his therapist or counselor. The counselor or therapist may recommend a change in exercise routine, social habits, or diet. Since the addict is not used to the changes, it may be difficult for him to adapt to them without your help. For instance, changing the nature of friends may be a difficult thing to cope with because the patient may feel lonely. You need to be present most of the time to give him support and company. Some fail to take medications according to the instructions of the doctor just because they forget. Reminding them that it is time to take medication is a way of helping.
Giving Them Hope
An addict needs a constant reminder that his situation will get better. He needs a person around every time to give him the sense of hope. Being a symbol of hope to your loved one is of great significance.
When helping an addict, you need to be careful to avoid enabling addiction. In most cases, enabling happens without your knowledge and can lead to serious emotional and physical problems in the life of the addict. To prevent enabling addiction, you need to avoid the following:
- Bailing out the addict every time he is arrested.
- Repeatedly lending the addict money. This is mostly spent on more drugs or alcohol.
- Covering up the addict’s bad behavior.
Because avoiding enabling may be difficult, it is advisable to set boundaries in advance before beginning to help the addict. When doing so, state clearly what you cannot do to the addict. This discourages him from further addiction. Remember, enforcing the boundaries may be difficult because the addict may not realize soon enough that you are helping him. However, the situation can be worse if you fail to enforce them.