In Self-Care for Families

Substance abuse and drug addiction are detrimental to one’s life, especially when help is not sought early enough. If you have a loved one, whether a family member or a close friend who is an addict, you can help them in various ways. Here’s more on what you can do to help your loved one in terms of addiction recovery.

How to Tell If Their Using: Signs of Addiction

The first critical step to helping your loved recover from their addiction is being able to tell that they are addicted in the first place. Fortunately, there are a few behavioral as well as physical signs that can help you identify a drug addict.

  • Unexplainable Weight Loss/Gain: Many drugs tend to interfere with the appetite and rate of metabolism of an individual. An addict will either burn calories at a considerably fast rate or consume more food than usual. Sudden loss or gain of weight can also be a result of eating disorders, which are often associated with alcohol and drug addiction.
  • Evasiveness and Secretiveness: Addicts will in most cases try to hide their addiction. They will oftentimes need more privacy and will tend to be evasive when you question them about their whereabouts or their sudden unusual behavior.
  • Fluctuations in energy levels and sleep patterns: Some drugs are highly stimulating while others make the user extremely drowsy. This affects sleeping patterns and energy levels.

Other signs to watch out for including loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed mood swings, sudden changes in attitude or appearance, failure to meet obligations, and changes in peer or social groups.

Having the Conversation About Their Drug Abuse

Talking to your loved one about their substance abuse will not always be easy because most of them will often try to deflect from the conversation.

Timing is important when having a conversation with your loved one concerning drug abuse. Consider informing them beforehand of your desire to speak to them about their substance abuse. It is also best to give them an opportunity to choose a time frame for the conversation. Doing this will reduce the chances of a defensive or hostile exchange during the conversation.
Stay calm during the conversation. Addicts can be infuriating so unless you are patient enough and can remain cool when talking to them, your conversation may not be as effective.

Do not be judgmental when talking to them. When an addict feels like you are judging them for their addiction, they may become less open to you. While it’s important to remain honest in your conversation, refrain from using language that shows judgment.

It would also be a good idea to talk to them when they are sober. Most significantly, remember to show them love and let them know that you acknowledge their drug abuse or addiction and you are willing to support their recovery.

What to Do If They Refuse Help

Not every addict is open for help and this can be devastating to you when your addicted loved one refuses help or even acknowledge they have a problem. If you are in such as situation, you can take a few steps to steer them towards recovery. The first thing you can do is to quit enabling their addiction. You need to determine whether you are supporting the addiction in any way both directly or indirectly and stop it. It could be financial support where you provide them with cheap housing or even loans. You could be even be covering up for them by lying about why they can’t make it to events. You can also establish consequences and follow through on them. Addicts tend to see consequences as simply empty threats. However, enforcing the consequences can get them around. Measures as simple as taking away their internet privileges can work. You may also resort to drastic consequences such as contacting authorities or taking away their visitation rights.

When to Seek an Interventionist

You should seek an interventionist when the substance abuse has resulted in things such as loss of jobs and health deterioration. An interventionist will also be ideal if your loved one has harmed or try to harm him/herself or others while under the influence.

How to Support Your Loved One After Rehab

Supporting your loved one after drug rehab is critical to their well-being and full-time recovery. Keep your expectations low because rehab is not a cure for addiction but a step in the recovery process. Therefore, don’t put too much pressure on your loved one because this could result in sabotage. Don’t ask too many questions and try to remain focused on the present. In addition, don’t let them feel too conspicuous and support them by giving them the opportunity to decide how they would like their daily program to be instead of simply making schedules for them.

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