How to Help a Drug Addict
The WHO considers addiction to be a physical and psycho-emotional condition where a person is controlled by their desires, which dominate their thoughts and feelings. Dependence on drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, is a major addiction that should be identified as a behavioral pattern which leads to a neglect of social activities, such as work, and a considerable rise in consumption.
Having a drug addict in the family is something that can destroy the family unit, leading to depression, anxiety and despair caused by a need to help a loved one regain control of their life and get back on track to overcoming their addiction. If you can't help but identify with these words, carefully read this OneHowTo article where we explain how to help a drug addict.
The first step to help a drug addict is to make sure that the person is aware of their addiction. You need to recognize if the person is a drug addict so that you can talk to them and reason with them about the dangers of their habits, and the importance of getting treatment to overcome their addiction. In order for the person to understand that they have a problem, it is vital that you make them aware of the symptoms and tell-tale signs of addiction and the risk they pose to their physical and mental well-being, as well as their life.
Once the addict recognizes that they have a problem, you should help them to establish limits. Ideally, start restricting their contact with the people and activities that may pose a temptation - friends who also take drugs, parties and any other behavior which encourages consumption. Usually this step is very difficult to carry out, but a good way of doing it is by talking to their friends who also take drugs about the person's wish to fight their addition.
When helping a drug addict, it's important that communication is based on respect. Throwing mistakes or negative consequences in an addict's face will not make them feel like they have your support; in fact, rather the opposite happens, and it can lead them to relapse. Communication with a drug addict must always be handled by understanding the problem and focusing on helping them, rather than criticizing them.
During the first days of detox, it's likely that the addict will become violent, aggressive and suffer from a drug-dependency crisis. As such, relapses are to be expected, although these cannot be considered a failure in the process of helping the addict. Even if the person relapses, the help and support plan must continue with the aim of helping them regain the desire to be drug-free.
It is very difficult to help a drug addict without seeking specialist advice and an expert in the field. Seeking advice in a specialized drug addiction center is essential for the person to overcome their addiction. These health centers have doctors who can provide treatments which allow the person to detox slowly, making the process less dramatic. Psychological help is equally important for the person to learn how to manage their emotions and control their feelings.
The first consultation can provoke many mixed feelings for the addict. Part of helping a drug addict involves accompanying them to their sessions so that they feel supported, so that they don't quit the meetings, and to make sure that they go to all their medical appointments and they don't stray off track towards temptation.
Drug addiction is a serious matter, but it cannot be treated as a taboo subject. The best way is to give it the same importance and treatment as is given to any other problem, so that the addict doesn't feel ashamed, depressed or guilty. Treating the addict and their addiction with openness and transparency is the best way for them to feel understood, valued and respected. The worst thing you can do is exhibit shame or resentment towards a drug addict for their actions.
At OneHowTo we have other drug-related articles which may be of interest to you, for example:
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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