The road to recovery can be a long and challenging journey for people struggling from substance abuse. That is why apart from the necessary interventions, they will need the full support and utmost care from their loved ones.
Family and friends have vital roles in helping recovering drug addicts get back on their feet. However, family member and friends should also know the proper way to approach and reach out to their loved ones who are coping.
Understanding Substance Abuse
Before families and friends can help their loved ones recover from substance abuse, it is best to educate themselves about the addiction. Not every individual who uses drugs immediately falls into substance abuse. However, for those who do, it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when the addiction started.
Various risk factors can cause substance abuse. People with a history of addiction in the family are most likely to inherit the inclination to drugs. Having mental health disorders and traumatic experiences of abuse can lead someone to cope with drugs too. Apart from that, the early use of drugs, primarily through smoking and injection, may be hard to quit with the frequency of use.
Once a person begins to practice drug abuse, there will be manifestations in both the physical and behavioral aspects. Some of the symptoms you want to look out for are as follows:
- Red or glassy eyes and runny or stuffy nose
- Excessive money spending
- Changing sleeping patterns
- Loss of interest in activities
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Mood swings
How To Reach Out To A Loved One
Schedule therapy sessions and connect with treatment programs.
Distant family members and friends are the last things that a recovering person needs. Engaging in support groups and therapy programs can help families and friends reconnect and understand their loved ones. These appointments are a safe space to discuss the condition and the proper ways to cope with it.
“Family-based intervention programs address the whole family as a system, teaching appropriate parenting and family management skills. These programs are the most effective way of preventing or treating adolescent substance abuse and delinquency ,” Joseph Nowinski Ph.D. says.
Spend time together.
It is necessary to spend valuable time with a recovering loved one. Being alone makes a person stressed and lonely, which may encourage them to fall back to their addiction. Staying in touch through activities like cooking, going out, finding new hobbies, or simply hanging out together can go a long way.
Make sure they get regular exercise.
Short exercises every day can have a lot of positive benefits for a person. Working out and engaging in physical activities can reduce levels of anxiety and depression. Exercise can be a healthy outlet for all the stress that an individual is feeling.
Stick to a sleeping schedule.
Sleeping problems can have adverse effects such as depressive moods and high levels of anger, sadness, and exhaustion. By creating and sticking to a sleep schedule, the patient can condition his or her brain to rest at the designated time.
Understand that recovery is an ongoing process.
Coming back from substance addiction is not an easy task. Being a support system means being patient with your loved ones as they make mistakes and adapt to the changes happening to them. Continue being involved in their transitioning, especially as they struggle.
“When it comes to kicking an addiction, the only way that a patient can really change is if they want to modify behavior,” Dr. Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC shares. “Without motivation to take action or seek out treatment, then whatever tactic put into place to solve the addiction will fail over time when the individual relapses,” she added.
Be careful about how you talk to them.
Even in stressful moments, family and friends should make sure that they don’t enable addictive behaviors. Be sensitive with their emotions. It won’t help to argue, threaten, or lecture your loved one.
The best way you can support a loved one with substance abuse problems is by encouraging them throughout their journey. It won’t always be easy, but it will be critical to their recovery.