Substance Addiction

America is estimated to have some of the highest rates of substance addiction in the world, with roughly 26 million individuals being affected. Some of the most commonly abused substances include alcohol, prescription Substance Addictionspainkillers, marijuana, anti-anxiety medications, and methamphetamine. If left untreated, addiction to any substance can lead to dire consequences on many aspects of life.

It’s not just the addicts that are negatively affected by their behavior, however. Friends and loved ones are often forced to sit by and watch it happen to someone they care about. It takes strength to deal with the fallout, but it takes an even stronger person to reach out. If someone you love is struggling with addiction, here are some ways you can help.

Look For Signs of Substance Addiction

Many people may suspect that a loved one has a problem with substance addiction, but they hesitate to act on their suspicions because they’re not completely sure. Addiction isn’t always an obvious problem, and some addicts manage to hide it very well. However, depending on how well you know the person, you may be able to pick up on the signs if you know what to look for. People who have an addiction may:

  • Arrive at work looking disheveled and unrested
  • Become estranged from friends and family
  • Neglect responsibilities
  • Put a higher priority on drugs or alcohol than food and bills
  • Go to work under the influence
  • Show up late to work or fail to show at all
  • Call in sick frequently
  • Appear excessively stressed or haggard
  • Have interpersonal relationship problems
  • Engage in uncharacteristic behavior

Another sign to look for is evidence of withdrawal. Addicts typically show symptoms of withdrawal after prolonged periods without a fix, which normally only happens after heavy, long-term use. Symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Shakiness in the hands or head
  • Excessive or no appetite
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained anxiety or panic attacks
  • Excessive sleeping

Talk To Them

The first and hardest step in helping someone recover from substance addiction is to sit down and talk with them about it. However, it’s important to be careful with your approach. Whatever you do, don’t use accusatory, guilt-inducing, or angry language. This tends to make people become defensive and close themselves off to outside influence. Making someone feel like they’re being attacked or called a bad person will only serve to make them resist any aid.

Make sure to let them know you’ve noticed their predicament and that you’re worried about them. Try asking about their problem so you can better gauge the seriousness of the situation. What are they using? How much do they use and how often? How long have they been using? These are all important questions that will significantly affect the course and difficulty of their recovery. Remember, always speak calmly even when you just want to yell and cry.

Recommend Professional Help

Addiction is a serious and destructive problem that requires treatment. While talking to your friend or loved one, ask if they would consider going into rehab. While someone has to want to quit in order for rehab to work, many addicts are aware that their habit is causing problems and sincerely want to recover. It’s not usually the fact that they enjoy the substance that makes them keep using it for so long; it’s the severe withdrawals. Withdrawal is the biggest hurdle to sobriety and the fear of it keeps many from seeking help. Fortunately, rehab facilities are equipped to aid patients on this long and difficult road and make the journey less treacherous.

It’s important not to be pushy with your suggestion. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being pressured into doing something they’re not ready for. If they’re not open to the idea of rehab, try again at a later time. It can be hard for you, but all you can do is keep trying.

Be Supportive

Many sociological experts believe that the success rates of addiction recovery are strongly affected by how much support a person has. People who are lucky enough to be surrounded by caring friends and family generally have anAvoid Relapse easier time quitting and staying sober. On the other hand, people who don’t have anyone to support them are dramatically more likely to drop out of rehab or suffer relapses. One of the best things you can do to make the transition easier for your loved one is to be supportive of them.

During this trying time, they will probably feel lost, alone, frightened, and overwhelmed. There will be times when they doubt their own strength and want to give up. Your role as part of their support system is to encourage them and help them feel empowered. Sometimes, just knowing that someone believes in you can give you the strength to push forward.

It’s also helpful to let them know you’re available to talk if they need to. During substance addiction recovery, everyday stress will be magnified for a while as their brain and body adjust to life without drugs or alcohol. Little problems and inconveniences can feel like major grievances, and they may feel like life is bullying them. Being there for them by lending an ear can help reduce their stress levels, making it easier to resist the impulse to resort to substances.

Being supportive also means taking care not to flaunt or encourage certain activities. For example, if your loved one has had problems with alcohol, avoid taking them to bars or other places where there is lots of drinking. It can even be suggested that you avoid drinking in front of them unless they are okay with it. It’s much easier for someone to avoid giving in to temptations when there are none around.

Although addiction is a hard opponent to defeat, it’s not a hopeless endeavor. Everyone needs help sometimes, but not everyone feels able to ask for it. If you suspect that someone you care for has a substance addiction, don’t hesitate to offer your help and love. It may be just what they need.

Don’t delay another second
when help is so close.

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Comments

Diane
September 13, 2014

PLEASE PLEASE, is there a free or low income rehab center To help my 19 year old son?? I am a single disabled mother of four boy’s. My youngest son john has a heron addiction it’s been to long about 5 almost 6 years. My boy’s were taking from me from cps at a young age.That’s when my son begain his addiction.PLEASE i need help for my son.When john and i talk about this,John tell’s me he wants help, it’s just that his girlfriend and him don’t want to be apart that long.And john tell’s me mom i have this undercontorl.?? I said to my son if i find a rehab and i can go or your girlfriend can go together will you think about going? John said he will go to rehab for his addiction.Please if there is help that you can or will help my son,or if you can help me with some information. There’s so much more i want to email , It would be better to talk in person.Thank you for you time. Diane a caring mom who loves her children more then life.PLEASE HELP PLEASE….

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