When you have a suspicion that someone you know or love is an addict, it can be very hard on you. You might wonder, how do you help an addict? What can you do for them or do they even want you to try to help them out? It can be very hard being in the position that you are in, to know that someone you love is harming themselves but not feeling like there is anything that you can do to stop them.
Here are a few suggestions that will hopefully give you the encouragement and help that you need to get them through this time, and to potentially help them through their addiction.
The first thing that you are going to want to do, before you go ahead and confront them or anything like that, is to make sure that you know the signs of the problem. You’ll want to make sure that they truly are addicted, that they are really in need of help, before you talk to them and alienate them. If you see that all of the signs are there, then it is time for you to get into action and to get ready to offer your help to them.
Try talking to the addict and letting them know that you are there for them. If they push you away, don’t be surprised. This may take some time. Keep being there for them and showing them that they can come to you at any time. But, if they choose to keep pushing you away it may be time for you to do an intervention. Enlist some help from other family members or friends and get together to talk to the addict, letting them know that they can’t keep going on like this. Let them know how much you care and how you would love to help them if they would give you the chance.
If they agree to getting help, then it is time for you to go ahead and find a treatment facility. Research which one will be the best to meet their needs and then set it up. The treatment facility will offer great help to the addict and you won’t have to worry about doing things yourself any longer. They know how to deal with these kinds of cases and it is the best place for an addict to recover.
Don’t get your hopes up that everything will be perfect by the time that the one you love comes out of treatment, but do realize that this is only the beginning. There may be relapses and hard times ahead. There is for many addicts. But with you supporting them and being their friend through this time it will make their recovery much easier, and it will make them much less likely to relapse. Be there for them whenever they need you and just be a friend to them. You might not be able to save them from everything, but sometimes just being a friend and loving on them is all that you can do.
By Carter Relyea
Addiction Effect Everyone
Addiction effects everyone in an addicts life not just the addict themselves. Beating any addiction whether it be to alcohol or drugs can feel like an impossible task. The addict may feel as if they are travelling down a long, winding road without an end in sight, but even though the journey may seem long it is attainable. If an addict is ready to stop drinking or taking drugs, and are willing to get the needed support addiction can be overcome. An addict need not wait until they “bottom out” before reaching out to someone, they can make the decision to change at any time.
Treatments For Alcoholism And Recovery Time
Step 1: Admit to yourself that you have a drinking or a drug problem. The vast majority of alcoholics and addicts don’t make the decision to stop drinking or using out of the blue or change overnight. Its a gradual process and the alcoholic or addict may initially deny their drinking or drug problems.
Step 2: Set an exact date to quit drinking or taking drugs. After an addict makes the decision to quit, then the next step would be to set a clear drinking or using goals as to when you’ll actually stop drinking or using drugs. Be specific, realistic, and clear with your goal. For example, write down “I will quit drinking or using drugs on _____ date or ” I will only have 4 drinks or use drugs during the weekend.”Cut back gradually and you have a greater chance for success.
* Get rid of any alcohol or drugs and other drug or drinking reminders in your home or at your office.
* Tell your family and your friends or co-workers of your plan to stop drinking or using drugs and if they drink or use drugs as well ask them to respectfully not do it in your presence to support your decision to quit.
* Stand up for yourself and make it very clear that you will not allow drinking or drug use in your home and that you may not be able to attend social gatherings where there may be drinking or drug use or where alcohol or drugs may be present.
* Stay away from anyone who influences you to drink or use drugs and who doesn’t support you in your efforts to quit. Understand that this may involve giving up certain friends or breaking certain social relationships.
* Think about what attempts you’ve made in the past to quit drinking or using drugs. What helped? What didn’t work for you? Focus on what you can do differently to avoid backsliding.
Medications Used To Treat Alcoholism And Drug Addiction
While there is no magic cure to stop drinking and drug use these FDA approved medications can help.
* Antabuse: Over 50 years ago it was first used and as such it is one of the oldest drugs out for this purpose. Antabuse works by interfering with the body’s ability to absorb alcohol. This medication inhibits the production of an enzyme that allows the absorption of an alcohol breakdown product called acetaldehyde. Without the ability to breakdown acetaldehyde it builds up in the body after even a fraction of alcohol is drunk causing nausea, heart palpitations, and flushing.
* Campral: This is a tablet that is taken 3 times a day by mouth and it reduces the symptoms an alcoholic may experience when they do not consume alcohol for a prolonged periods of time such as anxiety, insomnia, mood changes, and restlessness. Campral was shown to increase the level of alcoholics who were able to abstain from drinking for several weeks or months at a time.
*Naltrexone: This medication is taken as a pill one time a day or as a monthly injection and it helps to reduce the cravings for alcohol and the pleasure that is received from drinking. It does this by using the receptors in the brain for endorphins which are proteins which help to elevate mood. These receptors also take narcotics such as heroin or morphine.
* Topamax: Is a medication used to treat seizures and has an action much similar to Campral.
For Opioid Addictions
There are Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone. These act on the sections of the brain that heroin and morphine do. Buprenorophine and Methadone relieve the craving for the drug and suppress the drugs withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone blocks heroins effects as well as other opiate drugs at the receptor sites in the brain, but should only be used if the addict has already been detoxified.
* Suboxone: This medication is effective in treating addiction to pain pills such as OxyContin as well as heroin.
* Baclofen: This muscle relaxant is used in the treatment of heroin, cocaine, and other opiate addictions, but is in its early stages of use.
Also being tested is an “addiction vaccine”. Supposedly when an addict is vaccinated and then relapses and uses cocaine the drugs effects are muted and then the addict doesn’t feel the effect of the drug. The theory is that the addict will be able to get their normal life back. The vaccine works in the blood not in the brain. It binds to the cocaine before it can cross the blood brain barrier and this prevents or at least drastically reduces its ” feel good” effects.
By Carter Relyea