The difficulty with addiction is that it affects more than just the addict. Family and friends may suffer from the addict’s conduct, financial difficulties, legal issues, and the daily struggle of supporting a loved one. Here are some suggestions for how we can help an addicted family member or acquaintance.
Recognize What Addiction Looks Like
The first step we need to take is to recognize what addiction looks like. While we are aware of what addiction looks like when it comes to celebrities, we don’t always know what it looks like when it comes to our friends or family members. This is because we struggle to believe our friend could be having an issue. We need to be able to recognize what addiction looks like as it progresses for an addict.
Knowledge is power, and it may help us understand ourselves and our loved ones better. SAMHSA.gov (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) provides a wide range of instructional and informational tools. In addition, the public library and the internet include a wealth of information around supporting someone who is addicted and getting them treatment.
Know the Impact of Addiction on Us All
According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 107,735 people died from a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in July 2022. Despite improvement, annual drug overdose deaths in July 2022 were 25% higher than two years ago and more than 50% more than five years ago. And the medications involved in fatal overdoses have evolved. According to the most recent data, synthetic opioids, particularly fentanyl, were implicated in more than two-thirds of overdose deaths. Nearly one-third involved psychostimulants like methamphetamine.
Know How to Access Naloxone
If we know someone who is addicted, we should be aware of where Naloxone can be accessed in our community. Naloxone is a drug that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose. It works as an opioid antagonist. This means it binds to opioid receptors and blocks or reverses the actions of other opioids. If a person’s respiration has slowed or halted due to an opioid overdose, Naloxone can help restore normal breathing. Naloxone is reaching more people than ever before, and policy changes could make it more widely available this year. However, research from CNN indicates that the Naloxone supply needs to be considerably more widespread throughout the population to make a substantial difference in preventing overdose deaths.
Helping a Friend Find Treatment Options
Helping someone by searching for rehab programs if the person is unable to do so for themselves can be a big help. For example, they might check into meth treatment in San Antonio to get the help that they need. Whether someone is ordered by a judge to attend treatment, or they do so on their own, the first step when they arrive will be an intake process. They will have physical and mental health assessments done, as well as have a treatment plan established. These can range from rehabilitation and individual counseling to group therapy and finding a sponsor. It is critical to remember that no two treatment approaches are the same because each person addicted to drugs has unique underlying issues, trauma, and experiences.
Making Sure Not to Enable
It is difficult for family members when addiction takes hold of someone they love. Often, family members support the person’s addiction without even fully realizing that is what they are doing. Don’t rescue the addict. Let them experience the consequences of their disease. Many times, people are unable to change until they are forced. Don’t financially support the addict or their addiction. Many family members and friends buy groceries, give financial assistance to pay court fines or attorneys, or pay rent to help someone out. Unfortunately, in most cases it only prolongs the disease, as addicts can avoid consequences.
Have Realistic Expectations of the Process
Don’t preach to or lecture the addict. They are usually unable to hear what we are saying. We should hold them accountable to expectations and help them obtain the treatment they need. Don’t expect addicts to keep promises. They are unable to do so while suffering from addiction. Don’t react with pity or anger. This only keeps us involved in the process with the addict. Addiction is a serious issue which means treating an addiction will not be easy, but it will be well worth it.