How to Get Help for Someone on Drugs: The Essential Steps
The first step to help a drug addict is understanding that addiction is a chronic brain disease. A common myth about addiction is that you can quit at anytime, that it is all about willpower. Some people believe that if you are strong enough, you can quit. While having a strong attitude about quitting helps, it is much more complex than that. Addiction is a brain disease and needs to be treated as one. So before you try to force your loved one into quitting, that the time to learn about the disease. Forcing an addict into quitting is never a good outcome. While tough love can be administered by stopping your loved one from enabling you into providing them with a place to live, giving them food, and even giving them money, forcing an addict to quit will be met with an extreme amount of resistance.
The second step on how to get help for someone on drugs is recognizing the problem. Get familiar with the signs and symptoms of abusing drugs. The more you know about your loved oneâ€™s drug of choice, the better you will be able to handle the situation. Look for a radical change in your loved oneâ€™s personality. Personality changes are a red flag when it comes to addiction. Another way to recognizing the type of drugs being used are simply looking at the physical traits. Needle marks maybe prevalent on the arms of opiate users. Although, in some cases addicts that have been abusing drugs for awhile, become skilled in hiding these marks, by injecting the drugs in less seen areas, like between their toes. Opiate addicts may also appear unusually thirsty or sweaty and also have pupils that appear as pinpoints. Someone who is abusing prescription drugs may appear droopy eyed and in their own zone, possibly nodding in and out of a conversation you are having with them.
The third step on how to get help for someone on drugs is stage an intervention. While you can try and perform your own intervention, it is best to hire a professional interventionist. Having a professional interventionist will make life much easier for you. Professional interventionists have seen it all and have heard every excuse under the sun. They will be there for you from the beginning to the end. What happens when your loved one says no? Do you just except it and move on? A professional interventionist will know how to handle this situation. Besides for a professional interventionist dealing with your loved one, they will also teach and train you and your family to deal with and handle any situation or crisis that your loved one might create. Support is essential in ensuring your loved one will enter recovery.
An intervention should include the addictâ€™s friends, coworkers, relatives and religious representatives, if there are any. Be careful in selecting who will attend the intervention. You do not want to invite people that will be negative or force your loved one to become angry and defensive. If you get a professional interventionist, you will also get a counselor included that could be the interventionist or could be a coworker of the interventionist. They will help you find the perfect treatment center for your loved one. Having all of this information setup prior to the intervention will help to ensure a quick response to when your loved one finally says yes. If they say yes and then wait for you to find a center and make flights, they will have more time to back out of the situation or run away.
Participants involved in the intervention should explain how the addictâ€™s behavior has affected them. Addicts usually respond better to hearing that they are causing other people harm, more than when they are causing themselves harm. Writing a letter is also beneficial. When you are reading from a letter, you are not having a conversation, so there is very little room for your loved one to interrupt and argue with you. Writing the letter is also therapeutic for you. It allows you to take the time and write down your feelings, without being judged or feeling afraid to say it out loud.
Another aspect to staging an intervention is not waiting till your loved oneâ€™s behavior has spiraled out of control. Sometimes people only step in when it has spiraled out of control, but if you can catch on to their behavior before anything extreme happens, it will help drastically. Creating a plan for if your loved one says no to treatment is also key. An interventionist will help you setup boundaries and bottom line consequences to your loved oneâ€™s actions.
The fourth step, which would coincide with step 3 is finding a treatment center. Calling a counselor or having your interventionist help to plan this will make your decision much easier. Consider your loved oneâ€™s personality before they began abusing drugs. Did they have any hobbies or activities they liked? For example, if your loved one loved hiking or outdoor activities, there are treatment centers that focus on nature activities. Finding a treatment center that fits your loved oneâ€™s personality will help to promote the recovery process.
The fifth step on how to get help for someone on drugs is to overcome obstacles. Accepting that relapses may happen will help in the recovery process. Do not look down upon your loved one, but encourage them. Make sure you are in contact with them through the day, go to events with them, and keep them in good spirits.
Another factor to take in while helping your loved one is to take care of yourself. Make sure that you have a support system as well. Do not let their drug problem overwhelm you. Avoid blaming yourself for their problems. This is an easy thing to do, but remember that ultimately it was their decision to abuse drugs.
Other actions to take are adjusting your behavior. Do not threaten, bribe, or preach to your loved one. These tactics never enforce a positive result. Do not cover up or make excuses for your loved one. This includes shielding them from the negative consequences of their behavior and actions. Do not take over their responsibilities, including paying their rent, cell phone bills, or any other bills. Taking these steps will help let your loved one know there is no room for negotiation and the only answer is receiving treatment.