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Understanding Drug Addiction

Ways to Cope with Drug Addicts in Your Life

Drug addiction impacts more people than just the drug user – virtually every person involved in a drug addict’s life is affected by their drug use. If someone you know is struggling with a drug addiction, there are a few important things that you should remember when interacting with them. Drug abuse can be devastating for everyone involved – here are some tips for dealing with drug addicts that are close to you.

  1. Educate yourself – This is easily one of the most important steps in handling drug addiction in someone you love. You need to understand what an addiction is and how it can affect the drug user and those around them. Learning about a specific kind of addiction will make you aware of what to expect from the person going through the struggle of drug abuse – drugs drastically alter behavior, personality, and physical characteristics. It is important to understand what a drug addict is going through, so reading as much as you can about their specific addiction is important.
  2. Face Reality – If someone you know and love has a serious drug addiction, it is important to face the reality of the situation. Many people want to simply hold on to the idea that the drug addiction will cease on its own, but that is rarely the case. A drug addict will not get better unless action is taken. Conversely, there are some things that are simply out of your control. Know the limits of what you can do and know when to call on outside help for dealing with a drug addict – if the addiction progresses, look for a professional clinic to help with the issue.
  3. Don't let them pull you in – This is an extremely important tip for dealing with a drug addict that is very close to you. They may plead for you to join in on their recreational drug use, and may even try to guilt you into doing so, but it is crucial to stay strong and always say no. It not only keeps you safe and healthy, but also gives them a good behavioral model to observe. If you consistently say no, they may slowly change their own behavioral patterns.
  4. Don't enable addicts – There is a major difference between positive help and enabling drug behavior. If you are constantly giving in to an addict's demands, lending them money, giving them a place to stay, and getting them out of trouble, you aren't actually helping them recover. You are simply reinforcing their behaviors, and they now realize that they can rely on you for practically everything. Setting clear boundaries as well as a plan of action for recovery are two positive steps for everyone involved.
  5. Research programs for yourself – Many people don’t realize that there are fantastic programs that can help friends and family of drug addicts and can teach them ways of handling their loved one's addiction. They provide fantastic services and give you the tools you need to handle almost any situation. They can also provide you with emotional support and a group of people that have gone through similar circumstances as a resource.
  6. Encourage the addict to seek help – This does not need to be done in an aggressive, confrontational way. Sitting them down and talking to them calmly about the situation is a much better strategy than forcing them to listen to you. Do not simply ignore the drug abuse because you don’t know what to do about it – encourage them to seek help.
  7. Consider a rehab center or clinic – At Meridian Treatment Solutions, we have the knowledge and expertise your loved one needs when going through a drug abuse problem. Our caring and compassionate staff can help with any issue they are going through, and provide excellent resources for friends and family. Don’t wait for the drug addiction to spiral out of control. As soon as you realize a loved one is addicted to drugs, seek help immediately.
  8. Intervention – Interventions are great ways to significantly impact a drug addict, but they need to be carefully planned. An intervention that goes awry can easily turn the drug addict against their friends and family, and can cause them to rely even more on drugs. If you are planning an intervention, be sure to contact a specialist to help you stage an effective intervention. After the intervention, always offer continual emotional support.

Drug addictions have negative effects on everyone involved, and being able to understand the addiction and react accordingly is the key to eliminating the addiction and putting your loved one on the road to recovery. These are just a few of the many different tips on how to handle difficult drug abusers.

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