Living with a drug addict
If you are living with a relative or loved one who is addicted to drugs, you must be prepared to face any type of situation that may occur along the way. Drug addiction is unbearable and harmful not only for the addicted person, but also for the family and friends around them. The emotional and financial consequences can be devastating for everyone involved. The following tips may help to not become an enabler or codependent.
Taking care of yourself is probably the most important thing when living with a drug addict.
Here are some tips to help you learn how to deal with this problem and how to help your loved one through the process:
1. Learn drug addiction information
Each type of drug is different. The effect, the duration and the way in which the drug can be introduced into the body can vary from one type of drug to another. Try to find out what medication or medications your loved one is using and start researching from there.
Visit certified and trusted online medical or official sites that can give you correct information, and remember that not everything you read on the web is true.
2. Search for available treatment options
Drug addiction is a complex disease that has mental and physical effects on the person who uses it. There are many biological changes in the body and mind of a drug addict, which can make it difficult for him / her to overcome the disease. Fortunately, there are many options available for treating a drug addict, and a mental health professional will determine which one provides the best approach for each individual case:
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This method focuses on making the person see why it is so difficult for him / her to stop using drugs, so they can be motivated to receive treatment.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This approach teaches the drug addict to effectively identify possible triggers or behaviors that lead to drug use and learn to control themselves.
- Family Therapy: As the name implies, members of the drug addict’s family are involved in the therapy process. This helps the person see and understand how their addiction can affect everyone’s life and emotions.
- Contingency management: This therapy is based on the supervision of behavior and teaches the drug addict how to slowly change her behavior with a positive reward.
3. Encourage the person to see a professional
If someone does not want to be helped, then there is nothing you can do to help them. In this condition, you should encourage them to get the help of a professional. Be patient and try to understand the feelings he / she may be experiencing. Be respectful and avoid being critical.
4. Find local facilities that can help with drug abuse
You can help by searching for local groups like alcoholics anonymous, rehab centers, or detox clinics online. Talk to a healthcare professional to find the best option available for your loved one to begin treatment.
In a detox program, your group of professionals will admit and care for your loved one and ensure that the medication leaves their body safely, while also treating their mental health to prevent future relapse.
Outpatient treatment with a mental health specialist may also be available for your loved one.
5. Give your loved one appropriate support
When living with a drug addict, make it clear to your loved one that you offer help and emotional support, but only as long as you stay away from drugs and want to make a visible change.
Under no circumstances should you give him money that can be used to buy drugs. Point out that your home is not a place that can be used to take or store drugs of any kind. Let your loved one know that even though he / she is available, he / she needs to learn how to take care of himself / herself.
6. Learn to communicate
Learning to communicate effectively with your loved one will go a long way toward improving the relationship.
Don’t focus on scolding or embarrassing the other person; instead, talk about how their drug addiction makes you feel and how worried you are. Denial is common and used as a defense mechanism for those living with those suffering. Do not take it personal. Hiding and masking may have been occurring for long and being honest is a shift that takes time. Keep your voice steady, avoid yelling, and show how deeply you love them.
7. Attend support groups
Do not neglect the emotions you have. It is important that you help your loved one, but at the same time, you must take care of their mental and physical health. Talking and communicating your feelings with other people who are going through the same situation can help you better understand everything about living with a drug addict.
There are many organizations that can support you during this difficult time period; Some of the groups that offer a program to help drug addicted friends and family are Ala-Teen, Nar-Anon, and Al-Anon.
Living with an addicted individual is often challenging. Isolation is common due to guilt and shame. It’s not easy to see your loved one struggle. Do everything in your power to help your loved one overcome their drug addiction, but you also need to take care of their physical and mental health. Trying to lead a balanced life focused on self-care will do more for the addict than actively trying to help by doing things for him / her.