If you know a friend or family member who’s struggling with drug addiction, you may be wondering how you can reach out. The decision to help someone you care for isn’t as easy as it seems, but it is definitely possible. With a bit of support and dedication, your friend will have a greater chance of overcoming their addiction than if they were to face their battles alone. While each situation is unique, there are a few guidelines that will help you approach this task with more confidence. As always, if you need any additional information or advice, then get in touch with us at Calm Rehab the leading drug and alcohol rehab center in Bali.
Here is how you can help a friend with an addiction problem and encourage them to seek professional help.
Signs that a friend is addicted to drugs
There are many clues that point towards addiction, whether it be behavioural or physical. Here are some of the most common signs an individual is addicted to drugs:
- Sudden mood swings or changes in behaviour
- Isolating one’s self from friends and family
- Lack of personal hygiene and grooming
- Loss of interest in favourite activities or hobbies
- Neglecting responsibilities (i.e. work, family, children, etc.)
- Bloodshot eyes or small pupils
- Tremors, shaking, and slurred speech
- Unstable coordination when walking
- Shocking weight loss or weight gain
Aside from these changes, the following items could also indicate an addiction:
- Syringes and empty bottles
- Small, resealable packets that could be used for drug storage
- Pipes and burnt foil
- Accumulation of medical prescription
Ways you can help your friend
While it can feel intimidating to confront a friend about their drug use, do not be afraid to help them out. As their friend, it’s good that you have their best interests at heart. Even though they may have hurt you with their past actions, it probably wasn’t their intention to do so. Remember that addiction can make even the best people make poor decisions. That said, here are a couple of ways you can help your friend start their journey to recovery.
- Understand that your friend may not see their drug use as a problem
While your friend may not see their addiction as an issue, that doesn’t mean you should leave it as is. Be honest with your friend and talk to them about how their drug use is affecting their life. Addiction is a serious problem and oftentimes individuals will try to justify their bad habits. When this happens, do not get frustrated and move on to the next step.
- Voice your concerns in a respectful manner
When you raise your concerns to your friend, they are more likely to hear you out. They may not be worried about their health or occupation, but they may care enough when they discover that a close friend or loved one is suffering because of their actions. It’s always wise to approach your friend respectfully so they can feel your concerns are genuine and true to the heart.
- Let them know you’re there for them
Addicted individuals will want to steer clear from friends and family members to conceal their drug use. But despite them pushing themselves away, let your friend know that you’re there for them. It may take some time before they turn things around, but once they start rallying behind your support, it can make a huge difference on their journey towards recovery.
- Do not resort to emotional appeals
No matter what happens, do not try to guilt-trip them into realizing their addiction problem. Criticizing, threatening, or using emotional appeals won’t do your friend any good and they’ll only push themselves even further. A more focused approach is required and this requires patience and understanding on your part.
- Encourage addiction treatment
As your friend exhibits signs of trust, you can start opening up about addiction treatment. Talk about the benefits of being sober and how undergoing a treatment program can help turn their life around. Provide them with assurance and show your commitment to helping them get over their addiction. This will help boost their confidence in entering addiction treatment and hopefully, make lasting life changes afterwards.
What if your friend isn’t responding to your help
Unfortunately, even the best of efforts sometimes aren’t rewarded. If you gave it your all and your friend still isn’t responding, then you may want to go with intervention. Intervention is a carefully planned process wherein a licensed drug counsellor confronts your friend about their drug use. Friends and family members take part in planning the intervention to create a detailed structure with goals, guidelines, and proposed treatment methods in mind.
It can be easy to get caught up in helping your friend and neglect yourself in the process. While it’s great that you have great intentions for others, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. You can only do so much before you get burned out. Make sure you’re getting enough rest and avoid skipping meals.