Thursday, May 22, 2014
One thing we all wish we could do is help our friends and loved ones in these times of need, offering help, support and treatment in order to get them back on track. This can be intimidating and overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.
Initially, everyone thinks of rehab and the sort of shows like Celebrity Rehab which people often turn to, when seeking help and recovery. However there are many other things which can be done to help a drug addict which can both complement and in some cases be employed instead of rehab.
The first step in helping a drug addict is spotting the signs. These can be different from person to person and vary depending on which substance they use, but ultimately they are the initial step in recognizing that somebody may have a problem.
Common physical signs of addiction to drugs include a decline in physical appearance and grooming, sudden weight loss or gain, dilated pupils and bad dental hygiene. Of course not all symptoms will be purely physical, and sometimes may not even present in this way at all.
There are other behavioral signs to consider here too. An addict’s problem is all-consuming, almost completely taking over their lives. Often, finding the next high becomes the most important thing in that person’s life, and they will do anything to get it. This is where you may notice a change in behaviors such as skipping work or school commitments, neglecting family life and friends, and becoming withdrawn or distant.
In addition to this forgetful, blasé and uncaring attitude, other behavioral signs may come into play helping you to recognize addiction. For instance if the addict is suffering financially, he or she might result to stealing to fund their habit, or carry out violent threats, actions or blackmail in order to lead them to their next high.
Of course these behaviors and appearances are not exclusive, but are the most common displays of symptoms that someone is a drug addict.
Sometimes this can be the most difficult thing to do if you have just learned that somebody close to you has a drug habit, but it is one of the best things you can do in this situation. Try not to become angry, sad or show signs of hurt, and where possible avoid any conflict with the addict.
Addicts can become easily angry and are often irrational, especially whilst under the influence of their chosen drug. The key is not to upset them or creating a situation which makes the addict feel uncomfortable, threatened or undermined. Don’t be confrontational – if you can, be comforting, understanding and offer support.
After you have spoken to the addict about their problem, and both recognized together that help is needed, the next step in the process is to seek treatment.
Sometimes, if an addict is reluctant to recognize that they have a problem, or does not want to seek help, an intervention may be more appropriate at this stage. There are plenty of intervention specialists who can help you plan this and work out how to approach the situation, who should be involved, what needs to be said and so forth.
If, however, that stage was not necessary and your friend or loved one has reached out to seek help, you will need to go through the range of treatment options available. This can of course vary depending on the addictive substance, and how bad the addiction itself is.
Sometimes, an addict may benefit from attending therapy sessions, and attending anonymous group meetings periodically. It can also help if they have a sponsor to lean on and relate to, in order to help them recover. This can quite often be the help process employed for alcohol addicts, but again the level of addiction, substance consumed and impact on the person’s life has to be taken into account here.
Usually, the logical treatment process is to enter a rehabilitation center which will keep patients in the facility for a minimum period of time, allowing the patient to detox, learn, talk and recover. Again in these situations, programs can vary dependent on the addiction in question, though it is possible in some cases and in some facilities, to enroll in a program which combats multiple addictions.
It can be a bit of a tough choice searching through programs and facilities at different centers to decide on the best appropriate treatment, especially if you have never had any dealings with such facilities before.
Hopefully this list of how to help a drug addict proves useful to you, in the instance that you ever need to approach a friend or loved one about an addiction, and look to seek them some help.
This post is by Timothy Lon.
Posted by MedFriendly at 3:52 PM