Helping A Loved One
How To Help a Loved One or Friends & Family Stop Using Drugs
It can be challenging and emotionally taxing to be close to someone friends & family who uses drugs. They may act irregularly because of their use, making it challenging to know. How to interact with them. We can assist you in understanding the issue, providing solutions. And learning how to deal with violent behavior.
The effects of drug use might vary from person to person, from friends & family and by drug used. Each creates its own problems.
Drug use is often showed by a person's altered behavior, mood, or other non-characteristic behaviors. But these changes may also show another problem in the person's life. For instance, someone being moody. Or withdrawn MIGHT be from drug use, but it could also just be typical adolescent problems like being self-conscious about puberty. It can occasionally be challenging to determine someone's drug use with absolute confidence, especially. When users lay about or minimize their usage.
Even if someone is almost certainly using drugs. it's challenging to determine exactly what kind of drug they might be consuming. For instance, some drugs' withdrawal symptoms resemble. The effects of another drug's intoxication, and other persons may take a range of drugs. Which could hide or amplify the side effects & withdrawal.
Some signs of drug use and self-harm include:
- Mood changes or irrational outbreaks.
- Lethargy, a decline in motivation, a lack of effort, or a drop in extracurricular activities.
- Tiredness or alterations in sleeping habits.
- Alterations in eating habits.
- Lack of focus and memory impairment.
- Poor grades or performance, or frequent absences from school or the workplace.
- Failure to respond to inquiries, evasiveness, or secrecy.
- Keeping to themselves more, interacting with family and friends fewer, or abrupt changes in peer group.
- Baseless demand for money, missing cash, or stolen valuables.
- Issues with Authorities.
- Frequent bleeding noses or bloodshot eyes.
Drug usage is a problem when it interferes with a person's or friends-family life and the lives of those around them. It is not simply about the drug a person uses or how much of it they use. Usually, drug use happens when dissatisfaction with life becomes too great to deal with, and escapism is sought.
The effects of drug use on a person's life might differ from person to person. Understanding the effects of drugs can help you better comprehend some of their actions or the reasons they might take drugs.
Why Can't They Just Stop Using?
To different people, problem of drug usage might signify different things. It's possible that what you consider to be a problem may not be what others, or the user, thinks is a problem. Sometimes, the user may not even be aware that there is a problem and may not feel any need to change.
Addiction can set in rather fast for those who use drugs often. This shows that the drug takes on a central role in the user's life, who feels unable to function without it. People who get hooked on drugs, and then abruptly stop using them or reduce their use, are prone to experiencing withdrawal symptoms. They may find it difficult to even imagine quitting.
Family-friends are sometimes the first to notice a potential issue, and they are in an excellent position to offer help or get in touch with support organizations for expert help.
Try to remain strong and plan your intervention or discussion, especially if you have doubts that someone is abusing drugs.
Keep in mind that everyone and every situation are unique, and there is no one “best way” to approach this issue.
Following are a few ideas for action.
Get Good Information and Stay Informed
It's beneficial if you do some research and consider the problem before taking any action. Getting as much information as you can on addictions will help your understanding and ability to communicate with the user. It can also help in determining what you can do, how to proceed, and what resources are out there to assist you and where to find it.
Respecting someone's privacy is as important as learning as much as you can about them.
For accurate information, the signs and symptoms, and any potential choices, call the Department of Health and Human Services. They run the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. I bet you didn’t know that was a thing!
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Also visit the online treatment locator or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you.
Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service. They can help you identify your issues and plan the activities required to solve them.
Continually be Upfront and Truthful with One Another
There is no simple way to strike up a conversation with someone who is struggling with drug use. Among the things that can be helpful are:
- Avoid attempting to speak with them when they are under the effect of drugs and choose a time when there won't be any interruptions.
- Be sure you pay attention without passing judgment. If the person wants to share something with you about their condition, be attentive without getting annoyed or angry. Give them continuous time to talk. After they are done, it would be helpful to repeat back to them what you heard and understood so that they can provide clarity if necessary.
- Try to maintain your composure and stick to your key message. Refuse to become involved in a dispute.
- Let them know how their drug use is hurting you by being forthright and honest about your feelings and outlining the issues. Let them know that their behavior, not who they are as people, is the problem. Where you can, provide examples.
- Instead of using "You" statements, use "I" statements. Try saying, "I'm really worried about X" rather than, "you should do this" for example. By clarifying that these are your feelings, you might avoid the other person responding aggressively.
- Pose questions like, "What do you enjoy about using drugs?" and "What do you get out of using drugs?" in a respectful, calm manner. Further, you can ask, "What don't you like?" or "What are a few drawbacks? This enables the individual to examine their own ideas and feelings, perhaps offering some clarity.
Negotiate and Set Specific Guidelines
It's critical to be clear about what each of you expects from the other. Talk about the level of help you will offer, such as whether they can contact you whenever they need to talk, or whether you would offer any financial help.
Decide what behaviors are acceptable and what are not, by debating and setting clear limits and rules. Decide together on any penalties that will be imposed if rules are broken. The fair application of these rules is crucial. It's vital you set your boundaries and are open and honest about them, but firm. Support their responsibility.
It's normal to want to support and shield the people you care about, but it's not always a good idea to "clean up" whatever drug-related mess they may have made. If you pay for a ticket or bail, for instance, what do you think they expect the next time? What does this teach the offender? Instead, perhaps help them EARN the money themselves.
Be sure you make it obvious that while you will support them, you cannot condone drug use and won't offer them help while they keep using. This may assist them in accepting the effects of their drug use.
Encourage and Support Good Behavior
When a loved one is battling with drug use and all the problems it brings, you may find it difficult maintaining a positive attitude. Supporting and promoting positive behavior may be more powerful and transformative than merely concentrating on the downsides.
Encourage the individual to create support networks and to surround themselves with helpful people. Implied in that is your desire that they cease spending time with “their druggie friends”.
Even the smallest constructive actions that they take when dealing with their drug use should be encouraged and praised. Even if they make a mistake, don't see it as a failure; rather, see it as a temporary setback and motivate them to keep trying. Assure them that they will get more better at rejecting drug use and figure out what works and what doesn't every day, which may help them see the progress they’ve made. Reviewing the person's successes and the reasons they are trying to change their drug use regularly will help them stay positive.
Help in Locating Treatment Alternatives
For those with drug-related issues, there are many therapies and support options. It is important to consider the user's health, desired outcome, support system, and particular circumstances besides the drug(s) used and the services offered. You should help them choose the most effective treatment route, or set of routes, with the assistance of a drug and alcohol counselor. The best way to help the person you care for is helping them in getting access to resources and treatments.
- Remove potentially harmful items to make the space as safe as you can.
- Take youngsters outside.
- Be composed.
- Encourage them.
- Keep your tone constant, calm, and low.
- Try to move slowly and avoid making eye contact.
- Don't swarm the individual. Give them some room.
- This is not the time to argue and fight, so pay attention to them and provide them with reassuring words.
- Say something like, "I'm not mad at you, I simply want to make sure you're safe," instead of asking too many questions.
- Use the person's name wherever possible, such as "Matt, can you tell me what's going on for you?".
- Continue encouraging. As the effects of the medicine wear off, assure them they will be OK and that their current feelings will pass.
- Invite them to go to a quiet room or area where they can rest and relax.
- When someone is ill, they require help as quickly as possible. Call 911 if they need immediate help.
Remember that you are helping and afterward they will probably be grateful that you stepped in. If you are scared that you or the user may get into trouble because of illegal drugs, DON’T. The Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) merely want to help, and they won't call the police unless they feel threatened or if someone dies or addiction treatment options.
Hard drug use affects the user, and everyone else around them. You could feel a variety of things when someone close to you is struggling, including annoyance, anxiety, fear, guilt, a sense of helplessness, and denial. Conflict may also arise among others close to you as they struggle with the same emotions. Because of these factors, it's crucial to take care of yourself as well.
It's vital that you support and protect yourself before you can help anyone else or friends & family. Of course, it will be even more challenging if the user isn't willing to alter their behavior. Unfortunately, it may take a while for them to see their errors, and there may be setbacks along the road that make things challenging for you.
Make sure you have efficient, healthy habits. Consider:
- Make Time for your Hobbies It may seem unusual to do what you like while someone close to you is experiencing a crisis, but if you have other interests and time with yourself, you will handle the situation better.
- Chat with a buddy. You can better understand your feelings and determine what to do by talking to a trusted person about how you feel. You could feel better about yourself or the situation after talking to a trustworthy friend to help you get things off your chest.
- Consult a Professional Speaking with someone outside of your normal circle of friends and family, like from the SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or a professional counselor, may be extremely beneficial. They can help you organize your ideas, decide how to proceed, and look into potential solutions since they have the resources. There are several options available for both those helping individuals with difficulties and those with drug-related problems.
- Attend Group Therapy or Join Self-Help Group. Some people join these groups to talk with others who have been through similar problems. Sharing and processing your experiences could help you. Visit a few different groups and find out which one best suit you, since there are several options in most large cities. Again, the SAMHSA Hotline is a great resource, 800-662-HELP (4357)