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How to Help Your Loved One in Case of Addiction

First Posted: Feb 19, 2020 02:58 PM EST
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How to Help Your Loved One in Case of Addiction

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One of the most devastating realities within a family or group of friends is realizing that someone that you all care about is struggling with a drug or alcohol problem. Figuring out how to help them is hard, not to mention having to watch them struggle with the disease every day. Assisting them is not going to be easy, but your support is going to go a long way in making this nightmare come to an end. Every addict's story is unique, and the expert tips below will help you figure out the best way possible to help a loved one battling addiction.

Educate yourself about addiction

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to a phenomenon as complex as addiction. Arm yourself with knowledge about addiction, its causes, signs of alcohol, illegal drug, and prescription medication abuse, benzodiazepine withdrawal, and various courses of treatment. Look through online resources and books to understand what the addiction is doing to your loved one, as well as those around them, like yourself.

Establish trust

Trust is the first thing that is required to be able to help a relative or friend battling addiction. Establishing trust is going to be especially hard if they betrayed yours by stealing money or meds and getting into trouble with the law. Still, without trust, it will be impossible for your well-intended efforts to bear any fruit. Some of the most common reactions that destroy trust between you and your loved one include nagging, being excessively critical, yelling, name-calling, and engaging in drug use yourself.

One of the ways you can build trust is to communicate. Hear them out, as the decision to recover is still theirs. You may also get insight into what triggered the drug use in the first place. However, enabling their bad behavior or letting them get away with the consequences of their actions is not building trust; it is only making things worse.

Get assistance for yourself

Knowing that someone you love is seriously involved with drugs can be quite a blow, and you need to get help for yourself too. Consider talking to someone you trust or a therapist. This way, you will have the emotional and mental energy needed to put up with the afflicted loved one's behavior and manage the stress of being a caregiver. In addition to therapy, you need to establish a life away from assisting the addict. Socializing with friends, exercise, high-quality sleep, and other methods will refresh your mind and help you overcome any resentment that you feel.

Seek additional help from specialists

Assisting a loved one with a substance abuse problem may have significant financial and legal implications, and there are many attorneys that you can talk to. You can access attorneys through mental health services around you that charge a low sliding scale fee. If you are religious, you can request for counseling from a local church at low or no cost.

How to help them through treatment

If the ill relative or friend has agreed to go through counseling, respect their privacy, and avoid telling other people about their issues or treatment. Also, do not force them to talk about what they talk about in therapy; all information should be volunteered. You also need to understand that change will not come overnight. Your expectations should be realistic, and you can never force the addict to keep any promises or take steps that they are not yet ready for.

The problem or relapsing

Your loved one may finally overcome the problem of addiction, but end up slipping into their old habits. Relapsing happens to many addiction survivors out there and often comes when the trigger that caused the addiction in the first place comes back. You can help them through relapse by getting them back to treatment with professional doctors and therapists. Getting a wholesome program that also handles issues like anger, stress management, social skills, and other challenges that they encounter in day to day life will help prevent another relapse. Also, ensure that they have a reliable sponsor who they can call in case of a crisis and get a psychiatric consultation in case of any mental illnesses.

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