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Help Someone with Drug Addiction

Addicts thrive in chaos and instinctively operate on a chaotic level, leaving the family overwhelmed and confused as to what to do. Each family member is affected differently, thinking there are different ways to help someone addicted to drugs.

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How To Help

How to Help Someone with Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is the ultimate act of self-destruction, family devastation and selfishness, taking down everybody and everything in its path. Families with loved ones addicted to drugs know firsthand how devastating addicts’ behaviors can be on a family-wide level.

Which path will your loved one take?

With addiction, two paths lie before the addict:

  1. Stay sick and end up in jails, institutions or dead.
  2. Get clean.
Signs & Symptoms

Recognize Signs of Drug Use

There is a wide range of behavioral changes that occur when someone becomes addicted to drugs. These can vary depending on multiple factors, such as age, gender, size, which drugs are being used and how much is being used.

Drug addiction is one of the most selfish behavioral disorders that can affect a person. As the disease worsens, the addict is only out for him- or herself, and everyone and everything else in life takes a back seat to the drug use.

This is how you find people stealing from their loved ones, cheating on their spouses, abusing their children and a host of other awful behaviors that are possible. While it may not always be so extreme, it is true that their decisions will always favor their addiction over other responsibilities in life.

There are several telltale signs that someone is addicted to drugs. One of the easiest to spot is their physical appearance and mannerisms. Although this is just a sampling of many of the signs that someone needs drug addiction treatment, there are many more to look for:

PHYSICAL

  • Sudden or extreme weight loss
  • Sunken eyes with dark circles around them
  • Appearance of sores, especially on their face
  • Needle marks on their arms, legs or feet

BEHAVIORAL

  • Not showing up for scheduled activities
  • Unusually poor performance or skipping work or school
  • Altered sleep patterns such as staying awake all night or nodding out at meals
  • Always out of money and not keeping up with financial obligations
  • Hanging out with new people
  • Extreme mood swings
The longer you allow yourself to be taken hostage by the addict, the less likely he or she will seek help.
Far too often, non-professionals and sadly even some professionals profess that the addict has to want help and hit rock bottom. Be that as it may, the loved one will never get to either of those places if you continue to make it impossible for that to occur.
No Quick Wins

Don’t Rely on Shortcuts

Many addicts will wind up in jail or institutionalized, and sadly some will die, thinking they can fix the addiction on their own with medication or self-will, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

They attempt to figure out alternative ways to stop, but the only successful approach is complete surrender with an entire change in their thought process.

The problem isn’t the drugs; it’s them and their behavior. Drugs are merely the symptom of the problem.

In the lives of drug addicts, these individuals view drugs as a shortcut and a quick fix to their problems, so why would their approach to sobriety be any different?

Sadly, families succumb to the same mindset regarding ways to help their loved ones. Many think there are alternatives outside of an intervention, failing to understand that a form of intervention is inevitably coming, either on the family’s terms or on societal terms. Either way, it will occur, and if we let the addict control the kind of intervention, it won’t end well. What a family is expecting their loved one to do cannot be achieved without professional help and guidance.

Addiction is the only fatal illness where people do not surrender themselves to the professionals, believing they can fix the problem on their own and denying that their family knows best.

Drug addicts and their families display almost identical behavior in the sense that both seek to fix the addiction in an easier, soft manner with as little confrontation as possible.

Understanding

Understand Drug Addiction Is a Disease

Addiction takes over the mind and reprioritizes human needs and instincts. Addicts become hell-bent on proving their point, digging in their heels and fighting to the death to defend their drug addiction and behaviors. At the same time, they justify or deny their addiction and behaviors so the status quo can continue at others’ expense.

Addiction is the ultimate act of selfishness.

As addicts do, all families think their situation is the most difficult we will ever see, and that their loved one, the most stubborn, smartest persons we will ever meet, will never go into treatment following an intervention. The good news is that all addicts share that view. That’s what we deal with every single day as professional interventionists and addiction counselors.

How many more nights are you going to sleep with your purse under your pillow or your wallet hidden? How many more promises of “I will quit tomorrow” will you believe? How many times have you heard, “I’m going to start my Suboxone or methadone next week”?

Despite these broken promises, you still find yourself hoping that Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful will return, that a new job will be found and solve all your problems, or even that the police will arrest your loved one so this nightmare can be over?

How many times have you thought all this could have been avoided if it weren’t for that one person who is a “bad influence” and is really to blame for your loved one’s addiction? Just remember, that “bad influence” has a family that is saying the same thing about your loved one.

Lastly, how much longer are you going to feel guilt and shame, believing that it’s somehow your fault that your loved one abuses you verbally, mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically? Do they make you think the addiction is your fault and not everyone else’s?

Addiction is a disease, not a moral dilemma that can be fixed with the right significant others and employment. 

So how does one help someone addicted to drugs? The answer is to stop helping them stay addicted.

Until you take action, take your life back and, in turn, give the loved one his or her life back, you can tell yourself every day that this is as good as it’s going to get.

Next Step

Holding a Drug Intervention

Everybody addicted to drugs has an intervention at some point. Sooner or later, something happens that ends the addiction.

The only question is, “What is going to happen to end it?”

Know that all addicts eventually wind up in jail, institutionalized or dead unless they get clean.

Why wait when the odds are stacked against the addict? Neither the family nor the addict can pull out of this without professional intervention, help and guidance.

With an intervention, the family can determine when the bottom is met rather than waiting for the bottom to be reached on somebody else’s (or society’s) terms.

When the family was told, “You didn’t cause the addiction,” that is true.

When you were told, “You can’t cure their addiction,” that is also true.

If you were told, “You have no control over the addiction,” that is false.

The addict has taken control of you and your resources. Without those two elements, the addiction cannot be sustained. A professional intervention for drug addiction can help put those things back in your control.

Is It Time for an Intervention Quiz

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