If someone you care about is addicted to drugs and/or illegal substances, you may have noticed changes in behavior, deteriorating success at work, home and with personal relationships. If your loved one is exhibiting addictive behaviors, realize that addiction is a disease of the brain. Like other diseases, the affected organ no longer functions as it once did. Medically-assisted treatment is one way to gain back physical stability. Similar to diabetes where insulin helps the individual normalize, medication can provide stability to a dependent individual in order for them to start the healing process.
As a person that cares about the addicted individual, you play an important role in providing encouragement and motivation for this person to seek treatment and remain committed to treatment. Additional ways that you can help those you care about is providing practical ways to help them stay focused on recovery such as offering rides to treatment, encouraging the individual to partake in one-on-one group counseling, offering to join family counseling and providing support in finding employment.
At Huntsville and Stevenson Recovery Centers, a comprehensive recovery program model is used to help patients heal their body, mind and spirit so they can be of greater value to themselves, their loved ones and their communities. Program costs cover medications used in a medication-assisted treatment customized to the individual's needs, medical exams, individual, group and family counseling. Privacy of the individual and their family are a high priority and all records are strictly confidential. counseling, offering to join family counseling and providing support in finding employment.
ACTION STEPS TO HELP A LOVED ONE
You need to have a conversation with the addicted individual. Find uninterrupted time when you can have a two-way private and calm dialogue. Share your concerns and seek to understand that other person's perspective on the situation.
Additional tips for having a productive conversation include:
- Ensure the person is not under the influence;
- Do not be under the influence yourself;
- When meeting, share how much you care for the person first;
- List the facts of what you have observed and express your concern;
- Ask open-ended questions to understand the other person's viewpoint;
- Encourage the person to set an appointment with a treatment specialist for an initial screening consultation.
Dealing with an Overdose
Naloxone is a life-saving medication approved by the FDA since 1971 and used to counteract an opioid overdose. Naxolone kits, similar to epi-pens for severe allergic reactions, should be a consideration to have at home to prevent overdose. Kits are easy to use (administered through nasal spray or injection).
Administration should be immediate if a first responder finds a person is overdosing. Signs of overdose include the person being unresponsive, shallow or stopped breathing, pale skin, dilated pupils, nose/lips turn blue. When applied, the medication may take up to five minutes to work. Rescue breathing and dialing 9-1-1 are recommended.