How to help drug addicts… is one of those questions on the minds of many worried parents, friends, and relatives. Because it can be very daunting, scary, and despairing to see a loved one descend into the hell of drug addiction. But we’ll look at how to help drug addicts for you.
As professionals in the field of alcohol and drug addiction, we’ve learnt a great deal on the psychology of drug addicts. Essentially, this is all about one important step. It is but the first of many, but it is the hardest. Take heart. You can do it and you will help the one you care about.
Just remember. It’s not only you who is in pain. Your loved one most likely is, too.
How to help drug addicts first and foremost.
You need to get them to acknowledge they have a problem. That they’ve been digging a hole towards rock bottom. And that bottom can be six feet under. A horrible thought for many people. But we’ve seen it happen, if something isn’t done. So you have to act soon.
Now, you’ll find two types of drug addicts when it comes to addressing the first step.
The drug addict who denies.
This tends to be the most common type of drug addict. They’ll deny they have a problem, either by denying they have anything to do with drugs. Or if they acknowledge they do use drugs, they’ll just say they have it under control.
The addict who hides the problem.
In dealing with the first issue, you may need to do a family intervention to break through their defences. Almost every drug addict, especially the habitual user, fears being found out and fears the consequences of that fact emerging. From job loss to stigma to their nearest and dearest turning their backs on them. They truly dread it.
That is why an intervention is so important. It signifies that there is a group of people who care about the drug addict, who don’t judge them, and only want to help.
If the addict continues to deny his dependancy, the best way forward is getting them to do a urine or other drug test immediately.
If they fail the test and continue to deny drug usage, then send the sample off to a lab like Ampath, who will provide conclusive proof (i.e. admissible in court) that your loved one has a particular drug chemical in their system. You can now evoke legal remedies to – out of tough love – get them into a safe place, such as Houghton House Rehabilitation Centre.
It is a last resort, but for their life, it is important.
The addict who acknowledges usage, but denies it is ruining their life.
This also requires an intervention. You need to break through the denial that drugs have anything to do with things going wrong in their lives. Yet, there always seems to be something going wrong. Final warnings at work. Or being fired. A string of broken relationships. Divorces. Failed opportunities. Money problems. Anger management issues. Car crashes. Failing school or university classes. Social isolation. Fights. Troubles with the law.
Cheating on their partners. Gambling. Prostitution. All actions that have poor outcomes.
Generally speaking, in the how to help drug addicts process, we refer to these as ‘consequences’.
There is a direct cause-and-effect between being in addiction and negative outcomes. You need to show them this connection, and break through the denial. So that they’re forced to acknowledge their life is falling apart and they need help.
Treatment at a rehab is the best option.
The drug addict who acknowledges they have a problem and wants help.
This is a little easier. You’re dealing with a person who has realised they’ve found themselves in a hole. They just don’t know how to get out. And they’ve been unable to ask for help because they fear being rejected and left to fend for themselves, emotionally, or financially, or supportively.
Reassure them you understand it is a problem (actually, it’s considered a mental disorder, meaning they have less to feel ashamed about), but you just want them to get better.
So how to help drug addicts in this scenario (and all scenarios) means prepping them for a stay at a rehab facility and continuing to give them emotional support. Especially when they are inside the rehab. Definitely when they’re outside again.
Next steps helping drug addicts.
Without ongoing emotional support, drug addicts are more likely to relapse when they leave treatment. At a facility like Houghton House, we offer a range of aftercare programmes designed to help the transition from in-patient care to the outside world.
You should also insist on regular drug tests, at least for the first year. Do them at random. Don’t take no for an answer. They’ll probably appreciate it – as they will experience strong cravings when leaving rehab. And knowing they could get tested at any time might be enough to stop them relapsing.
The Houghton House counselling team will know what best suits each patient. They will help give your loved one a new perspective on life. To not see the negatives, the thorns, but the positives, the roses, in recovery. In a life without drugs.
For more information on how to help drug addicts or substance abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:
office hours: 011 787 9142
24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532