Addiction can happen to anyone – even those you never expect to fall into it. In my case, both a close friend and a cousin fell into addiction, and by the time we realized how bad it truly was, it was too late for an ‘easy’ solution.
At that stage of addiction, we had to go in with full effort to help them overcome and move forward with their life. It was as much of a challenge to us as it was to them, and many times we were close to giving up on them.
However, with determination and insistence, they both fought this horrible challenge and managed their way out of the spiral of addiction.
Unfortunately for me, it means that I now have undesired experience in helping close friends and relatives fight addiction. Seeing them battle their addictions has taught me quite a lot – information that I want to share with others so they too can help their loved ones.
So let’s get into it – how do you help someone who is suffering from addiction?
*Please note – I’m not a professional. I’m writing this based on my own experiences. Make sure to consult with a professional before taking any steps to help an addict.
Some background on addiction
If you know someone who is currently suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, then you need to help them as soon as possible. Life becomes a whirlwind of confusion, anger, and depression at that stage, and addicts don’t know how to get out of it, quickly spiraling out of control.
Unfortunately, drug or alcohol addiction is a very serious problem and it’s a recurring issue to societies across the world. It’s also present in a variety of shapes and forms – a person can become addicted to legal drugs (medicine), alcohol or hard drugs.
Addiction is very hard to deal with and often causes life-changing situations. That is why, in saving a person suffering from addiction, immediate action should be taken in order to avoid worse situations.
This is one of the hardest steps in battling addiction.
If you want to help someone close to you who is suffering from addiction, then the best option (in our experience) is helping them undergo detoxification as fast as possible before undergoing a formal treatment program. It will help make the treatment process a lot easier for everyone involved.
Detoxification is a process different from the actual treatment program, it is actually a pre-treatment done in order to handle or lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms caused by substance dependency. Detoxification helps the patient in addressing the physical cravings for substance or drug abuse by the body and calms the patient’s mind by suppressing the signals sent by the brain to the body to cause these physical cravings.
Stages of detoxification
There are three stages of detoxification which will be enumerated below.
Always remember that a strong emotional support is very important in dealing with addiction. Letting the person suffering from addiction know that there are still people cheering for them to recover will definitely increase their motivation and enthusiasm towards the treatment process.
The first stage of detoxification is evaluation.
In this stage, the person is tested for different substances that have entered his/her system and how much of it has invaded and affected the body. It’s also at this stage that other medical complications are discovered in order to design the specific detoxification program for the patient.
The second stage of the process is stabilization.
It is in this process that the actual detoxification process is explained and implemented to the patient. Medications are usually used at this stage along with some psychological consultations. This is also a very crucial stage for the patient’s support group to show their support and help guide the patient through the process.
And the third and final stage is the transition to proper treatment stage.
At this stage, the patient is guided and encouraged to undergo the formal and proper treatment stage. The strong support group is also crucial in this last stage as it will be the deal-breaker in convincing the patient to undergo proper treatment and hopefully fully recover from addiction.
While detoxification can effectively halt the patient’s addiction within a few days, it’s still strongly recommended to follow it up with a formal treatment program. By undergoing formal treatment program, the patient’s chances of getting and staying sober will improve significantly and can hopefully lead to a full recovery.
It’s so easy to fall back into addiction unless you create a stable, long-term plan that helps the addict long past the first few days of detox.
Addiction is a life-long battle.
An addict is always physically and mentally tempted to return to their old ways, so you must always offer support and a listening ear to them.
Be there for them when they fall into difficult moments that could become a slippery slide toward addiction. Be open to guidance on how to help them through this battle, and most importantly – have unending patience, because it’s never over.
Have you or someone you know battled addiction? How did you help them get through it?
Thanks to Freepik for the original version of the featured image.