Dealing with a drug addict in the family can be frustrating, exasperating and emotionally draining. The trouble is that many people keep this kind of problem hidden and you only start to notice when it begins to get out of control. Spotting the signs of drug addiction early is important as is being willing to do something positive about it.
It can be tempting to turn a blind eye, and many people do, but if you love the person and care about them deeply then it’s a problem you are going have to face head on at some point. It can also be difficult to control your own emotions because you are so worried, even angry, but you will need to remain as calm as possible if you are going to be of any help.
Early Intervention is Best
There are some who say that people have to hit rock bottom before they can be helped. This is a total myth and the earlier you can intervene the better chance you have of a successful outcome. It can be difficult to spot a drug addiction especially amongst young people who are just out having a good time.
But there are often tell-tale signs if you look out for them. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has a pretty full list of what to check up on.
However angry or scared you are that you have an addict in the family or your friend is going off the deep end on drugs, it doesn’t help if you are moralistic or judgemental. Compassion, understanding and the offer of support are far better choices.
The dilemma that many friends and parents face is bringing up the subject in the first place, immediately believing that this particular conversation will end badly. This is not always the case and sitting down and discussing the possibility of addiction can be a relief for the addict as much as it is for the parent or friend. Of course, there is the chance that someone will be angry and confrontational about what they see as your interference but remember to stay calm and persistent. It may take more than one approach before you get anywhere.
Know Your Enemy
Drug addiction comprises a highly complex set of behaviours. While many people will be drawn by the physical addictiveness of a particular drug, others also have psychological issues that need to be addressed for a full recovery. This can be a heart breaking and highly emotional experience for both sides and being armed with the right knowledge and support is important.
Learn all you can about addiction and where you can find help and support. The more you know, the more empowered you will be and, hopefully, the better chance you will have of getting over the hurdles that lie ahead.
Support groups are found in most countries around the world and gaining access to these is vital if you want to give yourself and the addict a chance of success. You can get all sorts of information as well as talk to addicts and their supporters who have been through practically everything that drug addiction has to offer.
It’s also a good idea to check out areas where you can get formal treatment, especially if you’ve got to the stage where providing everything the addict needs is beyond your capabilities. Having this as a safety net anyway ensures you have somewhere to turn if things go downhill against your expectations.
Everyone is different and how your loved one or friend reacts to their drug addiction is going to be individual to them. There will be times when things go wrong. Try not to think that this is the end of the world, it’s all part of the process of recovery. Compassion, caring and support can carry you a good distance and are powerful tools for helping someone get over their reliance on drugs.