DRUG ABUSE - What to do if Your Loved One has a Problem

If you think that a friend or family member has a drug problem, helping them to help themselves is not often an easy task. Whether you think that your loved one has an issue with illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol, it’s important to know what’s best to do in order to ensure that they get the best help and make a full recovery. Read on to discover how to find out whether your loved one truly has a drug abuse problem, and the best steps to take to help them.

Hope, sometimes that's all you have

Questions to Ask

You should start by identifying whether or not your loved one truly has a drug abuse problem by answering the following questions as honestly as you can. If your loved one is willing, you may also involve them. 
  • Do they take the drug in larger quantities than they should or for longer than they were meant to?
  • Do they want to stop taking the drug or cut down, but find it hard to?
  • Do they go out of their way to make sure that they can get the drug?
  • Do they suffer from urges and cravings to use the drug?
  • Has the drug use made it harder for them to manage their responsibilities?
  • Have they continued to use the drug even after it has caused problems in their relationships?
  • Do they miss out on important social, work related, or recreational activities and events due to their drug use?
  • Do they continue to use drugs even if it has put them in danger?
  • Have they developed a physical or psychological problem due to drug use but continue to use the drug?
  • Do they increase the dosage of the drug to gain the desired effect?
  • Have they developed withdrawal symptoms which they relieve by taking more of the drug?
If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, then it is likely that your friend or family member has a drug problem. In the most severe cases, a drug problem can become a drug addiction.

How Do I Help?

If your friend or loved one has personally asked for your help in relation to their substance abuse problem, they have already taken the first step towards recovery. Although you will probably have many negative feelings towards their drug addiction, it’s important that you recognize how much courage it has taken for them to ask for your help. If your friend or family member has a clear drug abuse problem but is resistant to help, you may be able to convince them to get an evaluation from a doctor or specialist. Failing that, you can always take the first steps to find an appropriate health professional and leave their details with your friend or family member so that they can contact them themselves in their own time.

Be Encouraging

If your loved one recognizes that they are in need of help regarding their substance abuse, it’s important to encourage them and empathize with them as getting help will probably be one of the hardest things that they have ever done. Whether they agree to simply be evaluated by a doctor, go to therapy, or check themselves into drug rehab in Orange County, it’s important that they know that they have your unconditional love and support throughout the process. You should recognize that each individual recovers at their own pace, so ensure that you treat every step they take as significant and that they know you are proud of their progress, no matter how slow. Recovering from drug addiction is not always a straightforward process so you should also be prepared for setbacks. 

Don’t Judge

For many people suffering from a drug abuse issue, being judged by others is often a problem that causes a lot of anxiety and stress. For this reason you should never judge the choices that your loved one makes, and ensure that they know you will be there for them and that you don’t judge their past choices and mistakes. If they’ve expressed to you that they’re worried about what others think, explain that the majority of employers, friends and family members are understanding if somebody is making an effort to recover from a drug abuse problem. There are also laws in place to protect privacy regarding such issues. 

Have you successfully helped a loved one overcome a drug abuse problem? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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