How To Help Someone Struggling With Substance Use
Substance abuse or addiction is a severe problem impacting millions across the world. In the United States alone, upwards of 138.5 million adults are addicted to alcohol, and 59.3 million people under 12 use illicit drugs, according to data from the National Drug Use and Health Survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). What’s more, only 10% of these millions will get the treatment they need to begin the recovery process.
If you have a loved one or family member who has an alcohol addiction or drug addiction, you know all too well about the pain and worry that comes with loving someone with a drug abuse problem or alcohol issue. You want them to get help so they can begin the recovery process and get the professional treatment they need.
Why Your Loved One May Be Reluctant to Get Professional Help
In most cases, getting someone with an alcohol addiction or drug abuse problem professional help is easier said than done. Many times, people who have an addiction, whether it be to alcohol or another substance use problem, are living in denial. They can’t admit to themselves, let alone a loved one or family member, that they have a problem and need help.
They may be afraid to stop drinking or using drugs and get into a professional treatment program. When an individual has become addicted to a substance, it can be very scary to consider facing life without it. Sometimes people with mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression use alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate. The thought of facing life, fears, and past traumas without it are too much to bear. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) also reports that about 52.9 million American adults have a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.
Additionally, many people fear being misjudged if they seek treatment for alcohol addiction or drug abuse problems. Despite the progress in understanding and treating addiction, there continues to be a stigma among people who misunderstand addiction as being weak or having low morals. Those who seek treatment for an issue with alcohol or drugs may be concerned about how they are perceived by those at work or school. The same is true for those with a co-occurring mental health disorder as they may fear the stigma and judgment.
Recovery Process and Withdrawal Symptoms
There also may be concerns about going through withdrawal and experiencing the sometimes very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms associated with both alcohol addiction and drug addiction. Many times, someone who is trying to stop using alcohol or drugs on their relapses during the withdrawal period because of how difficult the withdrawal symptoms are. This is one reason why seeking professional help for addiction treatment at a treatment center with a detox program is important. A medically supervised detox program can support the individual to safely navigate this difficult phase of the recovery process.
Alcohol Use, Drug Addiction, and Treatment Programs
If you believe that your loved one or family member has an alcohol or drug use problem, you naturally want to help them. Finding a reputable addiction treatment center and talking to staff members is a great first place to start. At Caron, our knowledgeable and compassionate admissions team can help you understand the next best steps to take to help your loved one. There are different types of treatment programs such as inpatient or residential as well as outpatient programs. Finding the one that’s right for your loved one is important.
And while it’s normal that you are very focused on getting your loved one or family member the professional help they need, it’s equally if not more important to take care of yourself. Addiction impacts more than just the person who has the problem. In fact, concerned family members and loved ones suffer a great deal. Finding support groups such as Alanon and Celebrate Recovery or even seeking the care of a mental health professional for yourself can be vital for your wellness and well-being.
The truth is that no matter how much you may want your loved one to get help, it is really up to them. Taking care of yourself while you do what you can is important and shouldn’t be overlooked.