Drug addiction doesn’t recognize socioeconomic bounds. It can happen to anyone from any walk of life at any time in their life. Drug addiction is underestimated and misunderstood because of how quickly tolerance and dependence develop. Drug abuse overstimulates the brain, causing it to produce euphoric effects unnaturally. The changes in brain chemistry teach substance abusers to repeat the behavior to reproduce feelings of pleasure. Altered brain chemistry makes it difficult for people to stop using drugs. Often, patterns of drug abuse require professional intervention and sometimes inpatient treatment. People who abuse drugs are often in denial so having a conversation about inpatient treatment can produce a myriad of objections.
If you suspect a loved one is struggling with addiction, learn the signs of drug abuse, prepare to confront them, and help them to overcome their objections so they can pursue treatment.
Learning the Signs of Addiction
People who struggle with addiction will start acting differently than they ever have before. You may notice changes in their behavior, emotions, and physical appearance.
If a loved one was formerly open and honest in their thoughts and opinions and suddenly they’ve started becoming evasive, secretive, and you start catching them in lies, these could be signs of addiction. A sudden and uncharacteristic failure to take care of their personal or professional responsibilities may be another indication of substance abuse. Financial problems and stealing are also common issues with substance abusers as the addiction takes hold and becomes more expensive to sustain. Heavy usage of drugs can cause blackouts, so loved ones with addictions may have loss of memory. Repeated blackouts can cause longer-term memory loss.
Substance abuse can also cause social and emotional changes like mood swings and changes in attitude. Different substances cause different effects so your loved one may appear irritable, anxious, depressed, or lethargic. It’s also common for them to lose interest in things they formerly enjoyed. Drastic changes in their social network is also a sign that they are straying farther away from their regular lives and drawn into substance abuse.
Has your loved one’s physical appearance changed? There may be issues with poor hygiene or changes in the hair or skin. Eyes may appear glazed or bloodshot, and pupils may be dilated or constricted. Drastic fluctuations in weight can be another sign of drug abuse when there are no other reasonable explanations for it. Look for signs of bruises, needle marks, infections or other signs where drugs have entered the body.
Preparing to Confront Your Loved One About Treatment
As much as you want your loved one to seek treatment for substance abuse, it’s bound to be difficult to start the conversation about it. The way that you approach it can make all the difference in whether they are willing to receive what you’re saying and be open to getting help. Choose the right time, expect objections and be prepared for them. Speak honestly and without judgment. They may be more open than you thought.
It’s important to choose the time of your talk wisely. Pick a time when they are sober and better able to reason. Many people find that early in the morning when their loved one is fresh and alert is a good time.
Denial is a typical reaction. Try not to be surprised by such responses as avoidance, guilt, anger, or aggression. Try to stay calm and strive for a rational conversation. Do your best not to come off as judgmental. They’ve probably already had many talks with themselves about how others will respond to them if their addiction comes out. It won’t help to be harsh and tell them to shape up and quit cold turkey. The guilt of not being able to shake their habit may even drive them deeper into addiction. Remember that it’s a disease and they may need professional help for it. Help them also to understand that addiction is a disease and that it’s okay to ask for help.
They need to know that their addiction has affected you in ways they may not realize. Be honest about it, stating the facts in a simple, straight forward manner. Resist the temptation to hold back, minimizing your hurt to protect them. It’s difficult to walk the fence between being empathetic and nonjudgmental, so do the best that you can.
Please don’t feel that you have to do it alone. Find a professional interventionist to help if you need one.
Overcoming Objections About Inpatient Treatment
Hopefully, your loved one is open to receiving treatment, but they may have some reservations. Entering an inpatient treatment facility will change their life, so it’s essential to help them understand that the fear of change in their personal lives is far greater with addiction than with sobriety. Prepare to answer objections about work, finances, family, and fear of failure.
One of the first concerns may be the fear of losing their job. First, it’s illegal for employers to fire employees for seeking substance abuse treatment. Second, it’s more likely that the effects of drug abuse will cause them to lose their job even sooner. Most creditors will work with them if they have lost income due to treatment if they are willing to ask for some concessions.
Another concern for many people is dealing with the costs of treatment. Most insurance companies cover some portion of substance abuse treatment. The costs of not getting treatment may include lawyer fees, doctor and hospital expenses, and possibly nursing care later on in life. These expenses would likely surpass any costs for treating the addiction.
Your loved one may express concerns about finding adequate child care. Remind them that family members or friends may be willing to help when they are serious about treatment. Persistent drug abuse may cause them to lose custody of their children entirely if they aren’t ready to receive help.
Beyond the familial and financial objections, addicted people often fear that treatment won’t work. They may insist that they can do it on their own. Gently remind them if they could, they would have done it already, and it’s time for professional help. If they’ve been through a treatment program one or more times, they may feel hopeless. Emphasize that addiction is a brain disease and that relapses may occur. Encourage them to try again. They may have better success the next time around.
Finding the Right Treatment Program
Often, success depends upon finding the right treatment program. Fortunately, you won’t have to do that alone. The intake specialists at Fountain Hills Recovery are ready to help. They’ll understand your resolve to assist your loved one in seeking the right treatment program. They’ve heard the objections and denial before, and they stand ready to help you overcome every obstacle on the journey to admissions. You’ll find much relief and support in knowing that a Fountain Hills Recovery intake counselor will take you confidently through the next steps.