How to Help a Drug Dependent Person

People start using drugs for many different reasons — curiosity, to have a good time, because friends are doing it, to improve athletic performance, to numb emotional pain and more. Drug use doesn’t automatically lead to abuse, and it’s often hard to pinpoint a single moment where drug use goes from casual to problematic.

Usually, drug abuse and addiction are less about how often a person uses substances. Instead, it’s more about the reasons why people turn to drugs in the first place and the consequences of their abuse. For example, if drug use is causing problems in an individual’s life, such as losing a job or strained relationships, the individual may likely have a problem with drug abuse. Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. The likelihood that someone will become addicted to drugs varies from person to person.

How to help Someone with an Addiction
Whether in trying to help someone who has never been admitted to treatment, or someone who was in recovery and is now relapsing, here are some things to remember that can help:

  1. Don’t enable
  2. Use Compassion
  3. Don’t Focus on Guilt or Shame
  4. Encourage Healthy Habit
  5. Take care of yourself
  6. Remain Positive

When to Stage an Intervention
An intervention usually involves a group of family and friends, led by a professional such as an interventionist or therapist. The professional will guide the meeting, ensure that everyone gets to say what they want in a supportive setting, and their presence can help to calm the addicted person or enforce the importance of the problem. The person affected will usually remain in denial about their disease, but an intervention can be an important first step on the road to recovery.

Helping someone with an addiction takes education, patience and empathy. Addiction is a harrowing experience for everyone involved, and if left untreated, it can destroy relationships, families and the addicted person may end up alone. Recognizing this and reaching out before this happens can be hard, but it is important to remain optimistic and get support when you need it.

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