Being forced to see a loved one struggle with a substance abuse disorder may be incredibly upsetting and have a negative impact on one’s own mental and emotional health. It is simple for the drug user’s addiction to take control of your life, whether they are a personal friend, spouse, parent, child, or another family member. It can cause you to feel overwhelmed with stress, try your patience, put a burden on your finances, and fill you with negative emotions like guilt, shame, fear, anger, and sadness.
You might be concerned about your loved one’s whereabouts, their potential for overdosing, or the harm they’re causing to their health, home life, and future. You might be owed money from them because you had to finance their daily expenses, the expense of legal issues brought on by their drug use, or the cost of their failed endeavors at rehabilitation and recovery. You can also feel exhausted from taking care of your loved one’s needs at home or at work, carrying their burdens, or being unable to spend more time with your other loved ones, friends, and interests.
Despite how hopeless you might feel, you are not fighting alone. According to recent research, nearly half of all Americans have a relative or good friend who has struggled with drug addiction. The abuse of tranquilizers and painkillers obtained with a prescription has increased dramatically throughout the western world in recent years, posing a serious threat to public health. They are currently among the most often misused substances (together with marijuana).
Drug misuse and addictions can impact people from all areas of life, whether the issue is with prescription medicines or illicit substances. These problems can ruin families, rip apart relationships, and end lives. However, assistance is accessible. Even while you can’t make someone stop abusing drugs or alcohol, your love, support, and tolerance can be extremely helpful in their rehabilitation. Discover how to assist your loved one in their endeavors, establish the appropriate boundaries to protect your personal health and well-being, and achieve some stability for everyone involved.
Recognizing Your Loved One’s Drug Use
There are numerous causes for why people begin using drugs. Many people use drugs or alcohol to ease the emotional suffering brought on by mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Some persons who self-medicate may be conscious of the fact that they have a mental health problem but are unable to discover healthy coping mechanisms, while others go untreated and turn to medicines to treat particular symptoms.
Others use drugs to alter their emotions, to blend in, or to get rid of boredom or life unhappiness. Then there are individuals for whom a doctor’s well-intended attempts to address a medical issue result in substance dependence. Estimates show that over a quarter of patients who get opioids for pain relief will misuse the medication.
However your loved one began using drugs, not everyone who takes them goes on to have a problem. Although the precise reasons for addiction are unclear, environmental and genetic factors are thought to be involved. While some people can use drugs without experiencing any negative consequences, others find that even occasional usage swiftly develops into dependence and addiction-a profoundly deep pit;
Detecting Drug Usage in a Family Member
It might be challenging to tell if a loved one is misusing drugs. Drug misuse in youths, for instance, frequently resembles typical adolescent moodiness. Furthermore, there is no set quantity or frequency of usage that denotes that a person’s drug use has escalated to the point of concern. Whether your loved one uses drugs occasionally or regularly, the negative effects their drug misuse has on their lives are what point to a problem. These are some indications that a loved one could suffer a substance use disorder:
- Encountering difficulties in job, school, or home. For instance, they seem high more frequently and take more time off from school or work to make up for it. They perform poorly at work or at school, disregard their home obligations, and have increasing amounts of relationship trouble. Even worse, they might quit their job, stop going to school, or break up with a long-term spouse.
- Changes in sleep patterns, a tendency to look tired or run-down, significant weight loss or increase, bloodshot or watery eyes, and confusion or other cognitive disorders are examples of new health issues. Depending on the substance they’re using, they can also show signs like shaking, frequent nosebleeds, or frequent sniffing.
- Changes in their conduct and emotions. Your loved one can be more evasive and tell lies about their activities, whereabouts, or drug use. If you attempt to speak to them about their drug usage, they could get angry easily or strike out. Heavy drug users frequently lose interest in previous interests, lack energy, and exhibit increased moodiness, reticence, and sadness. Even worse, they might disregard their personal hygiene and appearance and experience withdrawal symptoms if their preferred substance is taken away.
- Persistent financial issues. Your loved one might borrow money lacking a good cause, apply for loans to fund their drug addiction, or pile up credit card debt. Even worse, they might take money or possessions to exchange for narcotics.
Drug-Related Accessories to Watch Out For
You might be able to tell if a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol by the appearance of new or more drug-related items.
- Drugs are kept in paper wrappers, tiny bits of cling film, and small plastic bags.
- Smoking drugs frequently involves using rolling papers, bongs, pipes, or perforated plastic bottles or cans.
- Burnt spoons, foil, and syringes could be signs of heroin use.
- Prescriptions for those who abuse prescription drugs might be renewed more frequently, or bottles of medication might be prescribed for somebody else.
How to Approach Someone About Drug Use
It’s never simple to start a talk about drug addiction with someone, but it’s crucial that you do so from a place of empathy and understanding. Keep in mind that nobody intentionally becomes an addict. Abusing drugs is frequently an ineffective attempt to deal with difficult situations or mental health challenges. Criticizing, belittling, or shaming them will only make your loved one withdraw and might even inspire them to turn to substance misuse for more solace as stress has a tendency to fuel addictive behavior.
It can be shocking, frightening, and upsetting to learn that someone you care about has a drug addiction, especially if they are your child or an adolescent. These intense feelings can make conversing with a drug user much more difficult. Therefore, it’s crucial to pick a time when you are both serene, sober, and without interruptions so that you can chat. Provide assistance and support without passing judgment.
- Do not wait. You don’t need to wait for your loved one to reach their lowest point-to be in trouble with the law, lose their job, experience a serious illness, or be publicly humiliated-before speaking up. It is best to cure addiction as soon as possible.
- Honestly express your worries. Make it clear that you are concerned for the person’s welfare and that you care about them. Be truthful about your own concerns and provide particular instances of your loved one’s drug-related conduct that have alarmed you.
- Listen. Even if you disagree with someone, give them the benefit of the doubt while listening to what they need to say. Your loved one will regard you as more supportive the more they feel heard from you.
- Give them advice on how to deal with their drug use, including how to contact a hotline, consult a physician or counselor, enroll in a treatment program, attend a group meeting like SMART Recovery, or join a 12-step program such as Narcotics Anonymous.
- Be ready for rejection. Your loved one can become hostile or defensive and decline to talk about their drug usage. When faced with their behavior, many people experience shame and will make an effort to downplay or conceal their issues. Don’t dispute with them; simply bring up the subject again later.
- Try to refrain from lecturing, threatening, bribing, or punishing the person. Making emotional appeals or getting furious will probably only increase the user’s sense of guilt and strengthen their addiction.
- Expecting one chat to solve the issue is unrealistic. You’ll probably need to have many more conversations about your loved one’s drug use after this one. Overcoming addiction is a process that takes time. For them to even admit they have a problem-the first step toward recovery-could take a few conversations.
Needing Substance Abuse Support?
If you or a loved one are in need of support from a drug or alcohol addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our highly-trained and compassionate staff at Aquila Recovery Clinic today. We are ready to support and guide you through the process of healing and recovery from the binds of addiction. Contact us today to explore your options!