What To Do When A Loved On Is Suffering With Addiction
Addiction can be a difficult thing to battle against, and it can be just as difficult to watch a loved one struggle. Some people are unsure what to do if they notice that a friend or family member may have an addiction, or they simply do not know what signs to look out for. Below are a few helpful tips that should allow you to notice when a friend or loved one has a problem, and what you can do to support them on the difficult road to sobriety.
Know the signs
One of the biggest signposts of addiction is a drastic change in personality or habit. This can be difficult to keep track of in teenagers as they are prone to sudden changes due to the hormone levels in their bodies. Physical symptoms could include rapid weight loss, a decrease in personal hygiene, and drastic change in activity. Behavioural changes are the biggest indicator of addiction and include missing school or work regularly when attendance is usually good, secretiveness and isolation, aggressiveness (especially when in need of a fix), and lethargy due to broken sleeping patterns. A person has become addicted to a substance when they have lost control over the frequency or amount they use, when they use compulsively, and when they continue to abuse the substance to the detriment of relationships.
Talk to them
Addiction can be a tricky subject to broach, but it should be made clear that you are not attacking them about their substance abuse. You should explain to them carefully why you think their use of this substance has reached the stage of addiction and how it makes you feel. You should explain that you are here to love and support them, perhaps offer to assist them in finding the best drug rehab center. Above all you should remain calm and composed, addiction can cause people to react in a number of ways when confronted. It is important to remember that if they become aggressive or defensive that it is not entirely their fault.
One of the best ways to ensure success on the road to recovery is to have plenty of love and support. There was a study conducted in the 70’s which indicated that the real cause of addiction was not the drugs themselves, but the feeling of loneliness and isolation. In traditional studies, rats were locked in isolation and given the option of plain water, or water laced with drugs. Over 95% of the rats chose the drug water and kept returning to it until they became hopelessly dependent and died. The Rat Park study took those addicted rats and placed them in a sanctuary built to accommodate the needs of the rats who, like humans, are social creatures. They had food, company, room to exercise, and plenty of toys. They too had the choice between plain water and drugged water, and every single rat voluntarily went through withdrawal and shunned the water laced with drugs. In order for your loved one to succeed at kicking their addiction, they must have the love and support around them that will facilitate that.
Hopefully, you never have to help a loved one through the road to recovery from addiction, but if you do, you now know what to look out for and how to help them succeed.