Looking for ways to help drug addicts?
One of the most difficult things to watch is a friend or loved one who is struggling with drug addiction. For many people, the desire to help is great but they aren’t quite sure how. In some instances, friends or family members may enable the addict and hope he or she comes to their senses. But the reality is drug addiction doesn’t clear up on its own. It must be recognized and treated in order to save an addict from its potentially lethal consequences. Anyone addicted to drugs is not thinking clearly or rationally, and as they continue to abuse the substance, will be unable to make sensible choices. This is why it is crucial for friends and/or loved ones to step in and offer assistance. If you have wondered how to help someone with drug addiction, let’s take a closer look at these 7 tips:
1. Recognize a Problem Exists – A common concern among friends and family members is wanting to say something but feeling unsure a problem is actually happening, or simply not wanting to “overreact.” Anytime you see someone you care about having a decline in his or her healthy, relationships, finances, and ability to keep up with responsibilities, stepping in and reaching out does not mean you are overreacting. Research the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction, and observe the individual to see if his or her behavior lines up with addiction signs. Once you have concluded an abuse or addiction issue is at hand, move on to the following steps.
2. Consider Your Initial Approach – How you initially approach someone who is addicted to drugs can have considerable influence on how your words are perceived. It is important to be understanding, convincing and non-confrontational. Never has an accusatory tone, which could cause the individual to shut down and retreat. Your goal in this initial conversation is to express your concern about the person and situation, and offer to get him or her the help that is needed.
3. Use Facts, not Emotions – When highlighting the case that someone is struggling, one of the best ways to help drug addicts is by relying on facts. Point out particular situations where you can emphasize factual evidence – here are some examples, “You were slurring your words when you came home on (insert date,” “We saw you stealing money,” “I found pills while doing your laundry.” These are just illustrations of specific events, but as you see they are evidence based and not opinion based. Remember to be as specific as possible about the addict’s behavior.
4. Follow Some Discussion Guidelines – Another example of how to help someone with drug addiction is to follow additional dialogue guidelines. These can include: having the conversation while the addict is not under the influence of drugs; plan the conversation when there is ample time to speak; use open-ended questions in order to get a dialogue going; express your love and concern; understand this initial conversation may not spark a radical change at first (this may be the first instance the addict has seriously given thought to his or her addiction issue).
5. Research Treatment Options in Advance – It is never too early to educate yourself on detox and drug treatment programs available for your friend or loved one. Remember, every drug treatment facility offers its own unique amenities, programs, atmosphere, costs, etc. and having this information on hand could prove useful when the time comes.
6. Consider an Intervention – It is believed that groups have more impact when it comes to effectively communicating and influencing one’s need to seek treatment. Interventions should be carefully planned and require specific elements to be successful. A drug treatment center can provide the names of professional interventionists for you to work with.
7. Be Prepared for an Emergency – Another important way to help drug addicts is to know the signs and symptoms of a drug emergency. If someone has lost consciousness, is having seizures, shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, has stopped breathing, or seems to be having withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens (DTs), call 911 immediately.
Ready to Get Help?
Let our team of Addiction Counselors help find the Right Rehab for You!