If one of your loved ones has a drug addiction, you know that the road to recovery is typically a very long, challenging, and heartbreaking journey that the entire family will go on. You may get so overwhelmed that you decide to ignore the issue and sweep it under the rug.
However, this can cause more damage to you, your loved one, and your entire family. If you’re not sure what to say to a family member in this situation, we’ll give you several useful tips so you can help your loved one start and stay on the journey to recovery.
Understanding Drug Addiction
Before you can help your addicted loved one, you have to understand the addiction itself. Perhaps they started their drug addiction because all of their friends were experimenting, they were curious, or they wanted to numb themselves to emotional pain.
Although drug use doesn’t automatically mean that your loved one is going to abuse drugs, the line between recreational user and drug addict is often blurry, and it’s difficult to pinpoint a single point where it goes from recreational use to addicted.
However, if drug use is starting to cause issues with relationships or in a work environment, your loved one could be slipping toward addiction. Common risk factors for drug abuse include:
- A family history of addiction
- Traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect
- Mental health disorders
- Early exposure and use of drugs
Symptoms of Drug Abuse
There are several physical and behavioral symptoms that come with drug addiction. While each drug comes with separate manifestations, and symptoms vary depending on the drug, a few common symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Sudden behavioral changes
- Glassy or red eyes
- Withdrawing from family
- Runny nose
- Lack of energy
- Changes in the sleeping patterns
- Sudden changes in how much money they’re spending
Six Ways to Help a Loved One With a Drug Addiction
There are several things that you can do to help support your loved one as they fight their drug addiction.
1. Educate Yourself About Drug Addiction
The first thing you want to do is to educate yourself about drug addiction, the signs, symptoms, and the addiction process. Drug addiction is extraordinarily complex, but educating yourself will give you the tools you need to recognize the signs of addiction and how it affects your loved one. You’ll learn how to recognize that your loved one is struggling and needs help.
2. Offer Your Support
A lot of the time, someone who has a drug addiction doesn’t understand how much they mean to their families and how much their families love them. Talk to your loved one as soon as you notice a problem. Don’t watch and wait for them to hit their rock bottom. Let them know that you know there is a problem and that you’re going to be there to support them.
3. Open the Lines of Communication
Family members and friends worry that opening up the lines of communication can lead the loved one with the addiction to take drastic steps. While this may be true in some cases, it can also go very well. When you start the discussion, keep these points in mind:
- Wait until the person seems sober. They’re less likely to lash out, and the can understand logical thinking more clearly. They’re also more likely to be honest with you and have a conversation.
- Set up a time to talk when you have more than five minutes alone together. You want to have a two-way conversation where you can discuss your concerns and understand what your loved one is thinking and feeling.
- Emphasize to your loved one that you care for them and that worry about their well being is what is motivating you to talk to them.
- If they deny that there is a problem, table the discussion for a future date. You’re not trying to convince the person that they have a problem. You’re trying to let them know that you believe there is a problem and that you care.
- Most importantly, know that there is no quick fix for addiction. The recovery journey is going to be a long and involved process.
4. Get Everyone United
It won’t be beneficial for anyone involved if people are not on the same page. Addiction can make people manipulative, and everyone has to present a united front. You’re all there to help your loved one. The easiest way to do this is to have all of their friends and family current and willing to offer support.
5. Ask Your Loved One to Seek Treatment
It’s almost impossible for someone with an addiction to stop on their own. The best drug rehab treatment centers can be wonderful places for an addict to start the healing process. Treatment centers are not one size fits all, so it’s important that you find and choose the best rated rehabs for addiction treatment. They’ll be able to get counseling to help them deal with the cause of their addiction as well as learn life skills to help them cope without drugs.
6. Stand By Your Loved One as an Ongoing Recovery Process
Rehab isn’t an instant fix. There simply isn’t an instant fix for drug addiction. It’s critical that your loved one feels like they have your full support throughout the recovery process. Encourage them to seek ongoing care, attend meetings, and join a recovery support group. Your family can attend a support group for families of addicts and go through a recovery process.
Drug addiction can be a devastating and scary time for both the family and the person with the addiction. However, recovery is possible with the best drug rehab treatment centers. Additionally, these six steps can help you understand what your loved one is going through and how to help them on their recovery journey.
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