Guiding a Loved One through Addiction: What You Can Do
- Learning about Addiction
- Looking after Yourself
- Finding the Right Treatment Facility
- Important Reminders
It’s hard to watch someone you love go through an addiction. It’s not as hard as addiction itself, but there’s no denying the fact that it affects the people surrounding the victim as well. It doesn’t just harm the addict physically, it also brings down their self-image, it damages their career and relationships, and alters the way society views them.
Addiction can ruin a person’s life.
And though we can’t save them ourselves, we can do more than just watch them suffer. There are many ways that family members can support their loved ones through this struggle. Giving your support is one of the most essential factors that could affect the person’s rate of recovery.
Today we will discuss what you can do to help them heal safely. We will discuss various practical methods you can do so, as well as a few of the things you should avoid doing.
There are three basic things you have to remember before you can start helping the patient. First of all, you did not cause it. Do not blame yourself for the person’s addiction. You also cannot control it: as much help as you can provide, you cannot have a total grasp over the speed of their recovery. Lastly, you alone cannot cure addiction. The patient himself can’t do it on his own, and neither could you.
Clarifying these three things will help guide your next actions. Remain patient and supportive. With the right attitude, you can give the kind of support they truly need.
Learning about Addiction
Addiction is not an easy thing to handle. It’s a complex problem that affects many aspects of a person’s life. But knowing about it is half the battle. By researching and understanding more about the nature and addiction, you are learning to handle it properly. Reading this guide, for example, lets you widen your perspective when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of supporting an addicted family member.
Addiction involves compulsive behavior. And that is why a person can’t easily self-regulate without relapsing afterwards. It is also important to know what drug dependence is. This is when a person’s body starts demanding more and more of the drug just to get the same effects. At this stage, the person can no longer quit using the drug without suffering from various withdrawal symptoms. Some drugs produce deadly withdrawal effects.
It is important to seek treatment, so that the person can detoxify safely.
Learn more about the person’s addictive habits. What drug are they abusing? How often are they taking it and at what dose? When did they start abusing the drug and how did they obtain it? What are the adverse effects that the patient is experiencing?
Information is a powerful tool that will help you make good decisions during this crucial phase. You can also provide this information to the medical professionals who will assist you during the rehabilitation process.
The drug addicted individual will undergo a medical assessment, so that they could be given the best treatment plan for their condition.
Participate in family programs that are offered during the treatment. Offer your support so you could keep an eye on your loved one. Post-treatment, you must continue being a source of support, to keep the person from relapsing once they have been detoxified.
Looking after Yourself
Dealing with addiction is a stressful situation—nobody ever wants to go through it. But remember that you can’t control the outcome of the recovery process, so don’t forget to take care of yourself as well.
Looking after yourself does not mean you would give up on the patient. But don’t let yourself suffer as they are. You have to stay safe and healthy, because you and the rest of the family are going to be the patient’s source of strength.
You can’t control another person. You can only be their pillar of courage.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how difficult things may seem. Keep going. Hopefully, this determination will have a positive effect on the patient. But if things don’t go your way, do not let yourself go.
Finding the Right Treatment Facility
Communication is key here. Talk to the person and convince them to undergo rehabilitation. Take the initiative and find the best treatment facility nearby. It helps if the rehab center is convenient and has well-trained staff. Research on their success rating, as well as the programs they offer.
The treatment method used on the patient will ultimately depend on their health condition and specific needs. It could be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting.
Inpatient treatment lets the patient receive round-the-clock care, while outpatient lets them stay at home with you. The latter option involves frequent visits to the hospital.
In either case, the patient may undergo detoxification. They will not quit the drug abruptly. Instead, their intake will be reduced gradually, as their withdrawal symptoms are managed by trained medical professionals.
Behavioral therapy is also commonly employed. This helps the person regain their confidence and willpower. They should be able to keep themselves from relapsing in the future. They will be taught how to readjust to a drug-free life. You can guide them through this process by spending time with them, enjoying new activities, and making the most out of your time.
Communicate frequently with your loved ones. Do not let them feel alone. Discuss feelings and thoughts, and be open when talking about addiction.
There are a few things you should try to avoid doing when dealing with an addicted family member. It could be frustrating to watch them suffer and not be able to do anything about it, but you cannot make them quit. You have to face the reality that you can’t make someone go sober.
You can do everything to try and lift them up, but they too must commit to it, otherwise nothing will happen. Accept this reality that it is beyond your control.
If you do manage to get someone into rehab, there’s always a possibility of relapse. There is no logic in addiction.
Still, do not “enable” the patient. Do not accept behavior that violates your limitations and boundaries. By doing so, it destroys your credibility. Stand firm and follow through with consequences if limitations are violated.
For some people going through addiction, experiencing the consequences of drug abuse is the only way for them to realize the seriousness of the problem. Follow these tips, stay optimistic, and give your support. But that’s as much as you can do. It is their choice in the end, if they want to live a sober life.
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