How to Help Someone Struggling with Addiction
Helping a Loved One Struggling with Addiction
Some say addiction is a family disease, meaning that it affects the whole family, not just the addict, and many people wonder how to help someone struggling with addiction.
There may be only one person abusing substances; however, addiction can harm friends, co-workers, children, spouses, parents, and other families. It is a self-destructive disorder that feels out of control for both the addict and those around the addict.
However, it is essential to know what addiction is, the symptoms of addiction, and how to help someone struggling with addiction. Addiction is a deadly disorder, and while you cannot control it, you can help, love, and support the addict through it – as long as you make sure to take care of yourself too.
What Is Addiction?
Addiction is a disorder recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. It is a complex condition defined by uncontrolled behavior or the use of a particular substance despite its harmful consequences.
Addiction involves an intense focus on substance abuse such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco or the behavior such as gambling or inappropriate sex, so the ability to function in everyday life is altered.
An addict will keep abusing substances or acting out in the behavior even though it is or will cause harm to themselves or others. Repeated substance abuse can cause alterations in the brain’s functionality even long after the impairment has worn off. Often, a tolerance to the substance is also built.
There are five main reasons people start addictive behaviors or abusing substances:
- Peer pressure
- To feel good
- To feel better
- To do better (performance-enhancing substances)
Many addicts are aware they are addicted but cannot stop on their own, even if they want to. Yet, it is vital to know the symptoms so a conversation can still be had. Then, when the person is ready, you can talk about treatment options. Sometimes, if things get terrible, an intervention can help the addict see everyone they are hurting.
What Are the Symptoms of Addiction?
There are many symptoms of addiction. The following is a list of the most common symptoms, but this list is not exhaustive by any means as addiction can take many forms:
- Appearing intoxicated more often
- Showing up to social events only if substances/behaviors are involved, or showing up to events less to use or act out in behaviors
- Abusing substances before events
- Social, work, or leisure activities are given up on or cut back
- Failure to complete tasks or follow through on engagements
- Problems at work or school
- Being lethargic, sleep issues, sleep pattern changes, looking or feeling unwell
- Cognitive and memory problems
- Angry, sad, or lashing out when questioned about recent behavior
- Lying about substance use or behavior
- Stealing to pay for substances/behaviors
- Neglected appearance or poor hygiene
- Risky behavior and putting themselves in dangerous situations
- Continued use despite harm to themselves and others
- Acting differently when intoxicated vs. sober
These behavior problems can cause intense worry in loved ones and those that care about the person. The person may genuinely want to stop and may try without any success. But addiction is not a choice that a person can control; it is a compulsion, so they cannot stop consuming or acting out without help.
What to Do in Case of Addiction Relapse
Addiction is a disease, and like any other disease, sometimes treatment options stop working, or the patient stops using those options, and relapse occurs. Either way, relapse is something to be aware of and prepared for. The best way to do that is to plan for it.
Most people who seek help from recovery will succeed with the aid of professionals, like doctors and treatment specialists, and the support of friends and family. But, it can feel like a relapse is just around the corner, especially right after rehab.
When learning how to help someone struggling with addiction, it is essential to talk to the rehab treatment center and ask how they handle relapse, what sort of contingency plans are in place, and who they have to rely on if they feel like slipping. Relapse happens, and for many is part of the recovery journey. It’s important to know and recognize that and not blame the person.
Types of Addiction Treatment Available at Resurgence
Resurgence Behavioral Health offers many addiction treatment options. Among the addiction types we address are alcohol and drug addiction.
Drug addiction is broad and can range from opiates and painkillers to heroin and cocaine or any combination of in-between. We offer medical detox and medically assisted treatment (MAT).
Further, we offer many behavioral therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT).
We take a holistic approach to treatment, so every aspect of life is treated, and the probability of success is that much higher. We don’t just treat addiction. We recognize that many people use substances or act out in behaviors due to underlying co-occurring disorders such as trauma or mental issues. Our approach is to treat the person as a whole, and our professionally trained, highly experienced staff does just that.
If you want to learn more on how to help someone struggling with addiction, give us a call today at (855) 458-0050.