When someone suffers from addiction, they have little control over their minds and often develop negative traits they otherwise wouldn’t have. This disorder affects an individual’s life so much that the patient can remain on the verge of relapsing even after several years of being sober. During this hard phase, some important things they need to seek out is help, love and support from the people around them. Their friends, families, partners, colleagues, etc play a crucial role in their fight against addiction. Even if we as a society manage to provide them the assistance and consideration they are looking for, it can help them ease their way forward if they have a support group.
If anyone you know is suffering from addiction, you must be stuck in a dilemma on how to help them so that they receive good and properly directed care. However, since there isn’t much emphasis on the disease that addiction is, our personal knowledge of this disorder is often limited. We tend to think a lot during such times and act a little less.
This may delay the immediate medical attention required for the patient which can be harmful. We must be prepared to help those who want to leave their addictive behavior and live a sober and healthy life. Here are six ways you can help people who are suffering from addiction win this battle against the disease.
Understand The Signs
For you to help someone, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms that addiction often causes in an individual. Remember, the signs are not the same for everyone and largely depend on the type of addiction and the type of substance abused. Oftentimes, addicts hide their symptoms from ones close to them and ignore the problem because that seems easier.
However, you will have to look for changes in their behavior and physical condition. If they are frustrated, anxious at almost all times, irritated when asked about substance abuse, have a secretive behavior, show frequent mood swings, etc., there is a high chance that they are suffering from addiction. Physical symptoms like weakness, unusual tiredness, bloodshot eyes, poor hygiene, and poor memory are also a sign of addiction.
You must know addiction in and out before proceeding to help someone. Understand what addiction is and what leads to the development of this disorder. Also, do your research on when the addiction starts kicking in and how much worse it can get.
Start finding ways in which you can help your loved one. Look for medical personnel or someone who can help with the disorder. Find the best rehabs, if required, and who and where you can start with. The first step is always crucial and it is important that you do your research before taking it. There are tons of credible resources available on the internet for groups, support, treatment, etc.
Keep Realistic Expectations
Once you find the right treatment, it is crucial to never hype up your expectations. If you have gathered enough information on addiction, you already know it is not an easy path and the recovery process has way too many roadblocks. The fear of relapsing is always there, provided the patient receives proper love and support from people around him/her.
However, it is also imperative to remember that rehab and medical attention can bring long-term recovery if followed as directed. One of the most important aspects of recovery is to always have a balanced perspective that keeps you encouraged so that even if there are challenges, you can deal with them positively.
It is hard to see someone you love suffering from addiction, especially when they have reached a phase where they can no longer control their actions. In such cases, friends, family members are often tempted to step in and offer help which may include providing financial assistance, shielding their behavior from others, dealing with their consequences, etc.
There is a thin line between enabling the addict and supporting them. Although the feeling is empathetic and often comes from within, it protects them from facing harsh realities. It shields them to face the consequences of their actions. In some cases, unless the person does not face outcomes of their addictive behavior, they fail to want to seek medical care and commit to sobriety.
Avoid Shaming Them
The last thing you would want to do is to shame the addict for their addiction. Someone who’s struggling with this disorder is already suffering from overwhelming feelings of anger, guilt, frustration, shame, etc. Your harsh words will only make it worse for them and may even cause them to skip the recovery process.
Even though they have hurt you, have broken your trust, or even angered you, it is you who needs to have a cool head here. Making them feel guilty about their actions and addictive traits are only going to worsen your relationship with them. Your anger and frustration can make them believe they are unworthy of love.
Remain Positive & Take Care Of Yourself
While helping your loved one is your priority now, you must also not forget that your health matters equally. Helping someone who’s already going through a lot is physically and mentally draining. You need to see this as self-care and not selfish behavior.
Addiction is a chronic disease that can be a lifelong battle. Many people who are in recovery right now can experience relapse, and knowing this can make it extremely difficult to remain hopeful. However, there are many cases where people have achieved full recovery after a relapse. If you lose hope, chances of recovery also diminish. The only thing you need to do is keep your spirits up and stay positive at all times.
Addicts live a life overwhelmed by feelings and emotions where it is already difficult for them to manage everything. Even for an addict who wants to get past his/her addictive behavior, it is not easy to talk about the traumatic feelings and seek help. As a family member or friend, all we can do is make things easier for them. Offer them support and be empathetic towards them. If you win their trust, it can be a big win for you and them.
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