How to Help an Addict: What Friends and Family Should Know

Addiction: What Is It?

Addiction is a chronic disease that is characterized as a dysfunction of the brain system that involves reward, motivation, and memory functioning. When you engage in substance abuse, the influences of drugs or alcohol will impact these areas of the brain’s functioning. As you experience the effects of substance abuse, it will impact the neurotransmitters in the brain resulting in an increase in dopamine and serotonin which are responsible for feel-good emotions and positive responses. As the effects of drugs and alcohol begin to diminish it will result in a crash of these emotions causing people to return to substance abuse to return to the positive feelings and emotions that they felt while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

While most use of drugs and alcohol begins as a recreational activity and many do not have the intention of develop[ing an addiction, the unfortunate truth is that the highly addictive chemicals and feelings that are produced from these substances will often lead individuals down a path of addiction and dependence that they did not intend on. Addiction is often characterized by an uncontrollable urge or desire to engage in substance abuse regardless of any consequences or concerns that may occur from your drug abuse. Although many will have thoughts and desires to quit their use of drugs and alcohol, many will find that they cannot quit their substance abuse due to the compulsion and physical dependency developed to drugs and alcohol.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at (877) 640-7820 to learn how we can help.

15 Signs of Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Addiction is a personal disease that impacts each individual differently depending on the severity of your drug or alcohol addiction. If you are concerned about a loved one’s use of drugs and alcohol and are concerned that their substance abuse has progressed into an addiction, there are specific physical, behavioral, and emotional signs and symptoms that will indicate that your loved one may be living with an active addiction to drugs or alcohol.

  1. Expressing a desire to quit your use of drugs and alcohol but experiencing failed attempts at doing so
  2. Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed
  3. Loss of energy and motivation
  4. Neglecting your own personal hygiene and appearance
  5. Experiencing difficulties in work or school performances due to your substance abuse
  6. The majority of your time is devoted to planning for, thinking about, and engaging in substance abuse.
  7. Engaging in high-risk behaviors while under the influence of drugs and alcohol such as driving while impaired
  8. Having financial problems due to the frequency of your substance abuse and the cost associated with purchasing drugs or alcohol
  9. Lying or hiding substance abuse from loved ones
  10. Becoming defensiveness when someone confronts your drug or alcohol abuse.
  11. Experiencing relationship problems due to your substance abuse
  12. Developing a tolerance to the substance of choice results in having to increase the number of drugs or alcohol consumed to reach the desired effects
  13. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you are no longer using drugs and alcohol
  14. Using drugs and alcohol as a way to mitigate any withdrawal symptoms felt in an attempt to feel better again
  15. Having strong cravings for drugs and alcohol when you are not using

When Does an Addict Need Help?

You want what is best for your loved ones and if you have concerns about someone you care about having a problem with drugs and alcohol, you want to know when it is the appropriate time to reach out to your loved one and offer help. As someone’s use of drugs and alcohol progresses, it begins to have negative consequences and impacts on a person’s daily life and functioning. As the use of drugs and alcohol increases, individuals’ lives will become centered around their substance abuse and their responsibilities and priorities will become focused on obtaining and engaging in alcohol or drug abuse. Once an addict has reached this point, they will often struggle with having the ability to quit their use of substances even after expressing a desire to quit. If you have a loved one demonstrating struggles with addiction, there are steps you can take to support your loved one in receiving the help needed to safely and successfully overcome drug addiction.

Discover the most commonly abused drugs in the home here:

Top Ten Most Commonly Abused Drugs Found In The Home

6 Tips to Help an Addict

If you are concerned about friends or family that may be living with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you want to do what you can to help your loved one. There are things that you can do to provide your loved one with the support and help they need to begin their recovery journey.

  1. Establish trust— Addiction is often paired with shame and guilt. Many substance abusers know they need help but have trouble expressing that. Building a sense of trust with your loved one will allow them to feel safe to open up to you about their addiction and receive any feedback or support that you offer.
  2. Use healthy communication tools— Having a conversation about addiction is difficult but when you come from a place of compassion and use communication styles that allow your loved one to hear your concern without feeling as though you are blaming or shaming them, it will open up a dialogue where you will be able to discuss your concerns openly.
  3. Explore and offer various resources and treatment options— Each person living with an addiction will benefit from specific treatment and healing approaches. Educating on what is available will provide your loved one with various options to choose from that will best suit their lifestyle and needs.
  4. Expect challenges to occur— Offering help to your loved ones may not always go as smoothly as you hope. Coming to a place where you recognize and admit that you need help is a difficult step for any addict to take. You must remain calm and supportive as they process their emotions to be able to come to a place to accept the help offered.
  5. Hold an intervention— For some families, holding an intervention is necessary. An intervention allows each family member to express their concern for the substance abuser and will also create boundaries within the relationship should your loved one continue with their addiction. Addicts will be offered opportunities to receive help at each intervention after hearing from their loved ones.
  6. Take care of yourself— Maintaining your own health and well-being is essential during this time. To effectively support and be present for your loved ones, you must take care of yourself and your needs first. Maintain effective forms of self-care throughout this time to maintain your health and well-being.

How to Help an AddictHelp an Addict Today by Calling WhiteSands Alcohol & Drug Rehab

At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we understand that addiction is a disease that impacts the addict and the loved ones around them. Through our whole-person integrated approach to treatment, patients will be provided with a comprehensive treatment plan that works to heal from the root causes of addiction, overcome the physical dependence on drugs and alcohol, and provide opportunities for families to heal together as a unit. Our compassionate team is waiting to hear from you to provide you with the resources and tools you need to help your loved one address and heal from their addiction within our supportive, safe environment of addiction treatment. Call us today to help your loved one begin their recovery journey and overcome their drug or alcohol addiction now.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.