Watching a friend or loved one struggle with drug or alcohol addiction is complicated. It is typical to want to help, but not know where or how to start. Many people have questions about how to talk to someone struggling with addiction and how to help them get into a rehab program. Unfortunately, many who face challenges and symptoms of addiction each day often struggle to acknowledge an unhealthy relationship with substances or that seeking addiction treatment could help improve their physical and emotional health.
What are the Signs of Drug Addiction?
The signs of drug addiction vary. Several factors, including the substance, the severity of use, and others, combine to produce different symptoms at differing degrees of severity. Therefore, it can be challenging to look at a friend or loved one and “know” a physical or behavioral change is linked to drug addiction. However, several physical, emotional, and behavioral changes occur in most cases. These general indicators of addiction can help you encourage a friend or loved to seek potentially life-saving addiction treatment.
Common general addiction signs include:
- Diet, appetite, and weight changes
- New or worsening financial, legal, or relationship problems
- Changes in personal appearance
- Difficulties at work, school, or in social settings
- Increased isolation and secretive behaviors
- Mood changes and mood swings
- New or worsening medical and mental health challenges
Why is Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Important?
Addiction affects everyone differently, and therefore, addiction treatment and recovery must consider the unique needs of the whole person. Treatment programs that offer one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter therapy designed to address the substance (alcohol or a specific drug) rather than the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the individual looking to get stay sober are generally unsuccessful long-term.
Comprehensive addiction treatment considers the specific needs and challenges faced by each person. Comprehensive treatment looks further than the substance used. At a rehab like Grand Falls Recovery, members of our treatment team will work with you to develop a treatment plan that considers all potential factors that may contribute to your substance use. Examples of factors that often lie at the root of addiction include trauma, co-occurring mental or physical health disorders, learning, and behavioral challenges, and environmental stressors.
Each of these factors plays a role in addiction development. Additionally, some factors, such as environmental factors, also contribute to an elevated risk of relapse after treatment. Comprehensive treatment uses therapy models designed to address the individual stressors and challenges that may lead someone to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Using evidence-based therapies provides a range of tools and skills that can help with trigger management and relapse prevention throughout the treatment and recovery process.
How to Talk to a Person Struggling With Addiction
If a friend or loved one struggles with addiction, communicating about your worries and concerns can be challenging. The desire to offer support and compassion without causing more significant harm or emotional challenges can feel impossible. What do you say, and how do you approach your concerns in a way that doesn’t seem accusatory?
First, be kind and understanding. Despite years of social progress, people still place significant stigma addiction and mental health challenges. Because of this, people who struggle with addiction often expect accusations, rejections, and other painful outcomes to conversations. Many will make a conscious effort to hide their substance use to avoid such things. It is important to show that you still care for and love the person even if you do not accept their behaviors.
It is also essential to carefully choose what you say and how you say it. Avoid using words or language that can be further stigmatizing or harmful. Try using first-person words and other terms that clarify you are there for them and want to help. Another important aspect of communication is listening. If a friend or loved one is willing to open up about their struggles with addiction, it is vital to listen without interrupting or being judgmental. Offer help and ensure they know you are available when they are ready.
How to Convince Someone to Go to Rehab
Convincing an addict to get help can be difficult. The first step on their journey to recovery is acknowledging an unhealthy relationship with substances. Until then, it is unlikely they see any reason to need help from a rehab center. It is essential to be patient, kind, and understanding as a friend or loved one. If you want to talk with an addict about getting into rehab but do not know how to start the conversation, there are many resources you can contact, such as medical providers, local referral agencies, or the team here at Grand Falls Recovery. Let our admissions team help you to help your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about us and how we can help.