How to Help Loved One with Addiction
Substance use addiction not only affects the person misusing drugs but also everyone around them. If your loved one, friend, or family member is battling addiction, finding ways to help a loved one with addiction while caring for yourself can prove challenging. Unfortunately, you cannot force someone to stop substance use. You can’t also force them to seek addiction treatment if they aren’t prepared.
Therefore, helping a loved one with addiction is restricted to showing love, support, and encouraging them to seek addiction treatment. This article highlights tips on how to help a loved one with an addiction.
How does Substance Use Addiction Affect Family and Loved Ones?
Substance use disorder is a chronic condition where the person abusing drugs continues using despite its harmful effects on their health and general wellbeing. Individuals battling drug addiction cannot stop through sheer willpower, making it difficult for friends, families, and loved ones to understand and cope with their habits.
Drug addiction affects family and loved ones in many ways. Among them include:
- Causes mental and emotional drain
- More possibility of violence and conflicts at home
- Poor communication
- Economic consequences
- Children with parents suffering from SUD are also more likely to develop SUD.
Tips for Helping Someone with Addiction
Below are a few ways to help your loved one with an addiction problem:
1. Educate Yourself on Addiction
Educating yourself about addiction is the first step to helping a loved one with an addiction problem. Contrary to what most people think or believe, addiction goes beyond abusing substances such as cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs. Addiction includes behaviour caused by underlying emotional issues, chemical imbalances, and other disorders that prompt a person to act differently or self-medicate.
Those with addiction behaviour can easily be addicted to other things, such as exercise, eating, sex, or work, in unhealthy ways. Addiction also often has other co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, and bipolar disorders.
Individuals get addicted to drugs because of several reasons. Some use these drugs to cope with emotional pain or mental problems. Others use drugs to change their feelings and alleviate boredom or dissatisfaction. Whatever the reason, educating yourself on addiction enables you to approach your loved one better.
2. Establish Trust
Establishing trust is important in helping someone recover from substance use addiction. If the person has betrayed your trust before, establishing and maintaining it is tricky. Start by avoiding trust destroyers, such as name-calling, yelling, lecturing, nagging, and criticizing.
Developing trust with your addicted loved
one can easily be undermined, even if your
intentions are purely to help. Below are a
few things to keep in mind when building
trust with your addicted loved one:
- Understand that perspectives differ – even though your intentions are helping your loved one, they may perceive that you want to control them. Such thoughts can thrust them deeper into addiction.
- Stress worsens addiction – most people turn to substance use to manage stress. If your interactions with the affected person are stressful, they can sink deeper into addiction.
- Trust is mutual – establishing trust requires mutual efforts. You cannot develop trust if the person continues with unwanted behaviour.
- Understand the importance of consequences – addicted persons cannot change until their destructive behaviour causes consequences. Therefore, even though you want to protect the person, ignore the urge to protect them from the consequences of their habits and addiction.
3. Find an Effective Approach
Several effective addiction treatment options are offered by rehab centres such as The Retreat. Therefore, you should evaluate several options to find one that best suits your loved one’s recovery goals. Treatment options available for substance abuse addiction include:
- Medication – the FDA has approved several medications to treat substance use addiction.
- Community reinforcement and family training – is an evidence-based addiction recovery method designed for families with addicted loved ones.
- Cognitive behaviour therapy – CBT helps addicted people understand their feelings and beliefs’ effects on their behaviour. Through CBT, addicts can change thoughts and behavioural patterns that contribute to addiction.
- Rehabilitation – inpatient treatment is effective for severe substance use addiction. Rehab programs at the Retreat last 30, 60, or 90 days.
- Support groups – peer support groups and the twelve steps are effective against addiction recovery. Peer groups promote sobriety through various approaches. Family involvement and social support during recovery are important.
4. Find Support for Yourself
Having a loved one with an addiction problem is certainly stressful. Therefore, as you focus on helping your loved one, don’t forget about yourself. You should accept that you are battling a tough challenge and seek support. Fortunately, caretakers of addicted loved ones can benefit from endless resources and programs, such as co-dependents anonymous.
You should also learn various stress management techniques. These strategies come in handy in ensuring that you cope with the challenges you’ll likely encounter when helping your loved one.
5. Communicate Effectively
Starting a discussion with someone about substance use addiction is not easy. Since nobody plans on becoming an alcoholic, ensure that you start the conversation with utmost understanding and compassion. Recognizing that your loved one has an addiction problem can cause shock, anger, and aggression. Such high emotions can compromise effective communication.
Therefore, ensure that you initiate the conversation when you are both calm, free from distraction, and sober. Below are important communication cues to leverage:
- Don’t delay the conversation – you shouldn’t wait until your loved one hits rock bottom, such as getting arrested, losing their job, or suffer a medical emergency, to initiate the discussion.
- Express your concerns – emphasize the fact that you honestly care for the person and express your worries. Use specific examples of the consequences of continuous drug addiction.
- Listen actively – even if you don’t agree with your addicted loved one, listen to their sentiments without arguing or trying to contradict their thoughts and feelings.
- Provide information – explain to your loved ones how they can address substance use addiction problems. You can recommend calling a helpline, talking to a counsellor, or joining a treatment program.
- Prepare for denial – your loved one can become angry and defensive and end the conversation. Most people feel shame when confronted about their behaviour and deny the presence of an addiction problem. Avoid getting into an argument and revisit the issue later.
Get Help Today!
While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to overcoming addiction, you should find ways of helping your loved one recover from addiction. The Retreat provides addiction treatment solutions tailored to meet individual needs and goals. Contact us to learn more about our addiction treatment solutions.