Help Someone Get Help

If you suspect that a family member is abusing alcohol or drugs, it is normal to be worried and confused. You may feel hurt by their behavior. At the same time, you want to get your family member into professional treatment. Remember that addiction is a disease with psychological, social, and physical factors. It is difficult for an addict to get clean without professional help.

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

The 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that 37 percent of high school seniors have tried vaping. Teenagers report lower use of other drugs than in the past. According to this study, abuse of illegal drugs other than marijuana has dropped 30 percent. However, the consequences of drug addiction are so severe that you cannot let down your guard. Teenagers are prone to making impulsive decisions under peer pressure.

You may have noticed changes in your loved one's behavior that have led you to suspect excessive alcohol or drug use. Perhaps they have become withdrawn or moody. Sometimes people stop taking care of their bodies with regular baths and wear unclean clothes.

When your family member comes home at night, you may see red eyes and dilated pupils. Perhaps they use excessive air freshener in the car to cover up smells. A teen may take up a sudden new habit of chewing gum or using breath mints.

You may suspect that your loved one lies to you about their activities. Families report spotting substance abuse addiction on social media when they see pictures from raves. Alternatively, a post may report being in a location or doing an activity other than what you expect.

Getting Someone Into a Program

In the long run, additions lead to legal, career, and health problems. Drug use increases the risk of cancer, heart problems, breathing issues, hepatitis, and HIV. Liver and kidney damage occurs over time. Brain changes due to drug use could lead to depression, anxiety, and paranoia. If the person is pregnant, she is putting the unborn child at great risk.

The challenges of addiction impact not just the person who uses drugs, but also family members. Children experience inconsistent, neglectful, or abusive parenting. Spouses manage finances and household chores abandoned by the person with the addiction.

The longer that the problem is allowed to continue, the worse the spiral of dysfunction becomes. Therefore, it is important to help someone get into rehab sooner rather than later. It will be much more difficult to undo the damage down the road.

As a first step, contact a doctor for recommendations of treatment programs. Call the programs and determine whether they participate in your health insurance plan. Estimate, to the best of your ability, the costs and how you will pay for it. Identify the best program for your loved one which has an open bed. If you have the program chosen in advance, you will make it easier for your family member to make the choice to get help.

Next, confront your family member with the problems you have observed and ask them to accept treatment. A trained interventionist is helpful to guide and facilitate these conversations. If your loved one refuses to acknowledge a problem, you can ask the person's primary care doctor to discuss addiction during a routine check-up appointment.

Once your family member has entered the program, remember that successful treatment requires family support. Attend all meetings offered to you, and seek counseling for yourself to help you relearn healthy patterns of relating to your family member.

Addiction takes a toll on people and their families. Helping someone get into treatment is a gift to them, their family, and their community.

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