What to do to help a person with drug addiction

Addictions are among the most common psychological and psychiatric disorders. Therefore, it is possible that in your environment, someone you know has gone through this type of problem.

However … How to help a drug addict? Each case requires solutions adapted to the context in which it is lived, but in general there are a number of guidelines that are very helpful in getting out of addiction.

    What can be done to help a person who is addicted to drugs?

    Here are some helpful tips to support someone who has developed an addiction to one or more addictive substances.

    Let him see the problem

    Getting that person to understand that they have a problem is essential for them to begin their path to overcoming drug addiction. Of course it is not necessary to do it with a hostile attitude, or it will only serve to take that person away from our lives.

    A good way to do this is to help you see the positive aspects of a drug-free life and to show yourself that it is possible to get out of addiction.

      2. Do not interrupt your consumption

      It is not necessary to act like a police officer in imposing physical restrictions on that person’s access to drugs (for example, throwing the addictive substance in the trash without their permission). It’s a way to create a strong rejection of the idea of ​​giving in to this blackmail and stop using to please someone who doesn’t respect their decisions.

      3.Recommend studying your drug use habits

      A good way to start getting out of addiction is to look at the sensations and situations that anticipate the uncontrollable urge to use.

      Therefore, to help a drug addict, it’s a good idea to encourage them to better understand how your body works. In this way, he will understand how much he does not control this type of behavior, but there are mechanisms that operate outside of his will.

      4. Encourage them to seek therapy

      Going to psychological therapy is very important to strengthen that person’s engagement in the recovery process, as well as to provide them with information, tools and strategies to deal with the discomfort that abstinence will cause them.

      On the other hand, the care of doctors is also important to help control the physiological and neurological aspects of addiction, and to avoid certain dangerous situations for health (for example, in people with a strong addiction to certain substances, stopping consuming dry and without medical advice can be very risky).

      5. Help you create short-term goals

      To help someone with drug addiction, you also need to make it easy to see this process not as a long term goal, but as something that brings them short to medium term benefits. This way you will have greater motivation.

      For example, together create a program of challenges to achieve often daily (the simplest) and weekly (others more complicated) and overcoming it can make you feel good: not going in front of a certain cocktail bar, doing relaxation exercises when anxiety related to abstinence increases, etc. If possible, do this in coordination with the plans of the responsible psychotherapist.

      6. Be interested in your progress

      Asking him how he is doing in his rehabilitation process helps him to engage in therapy, as long as it is not done in a too insistent way or by leading real interrogations. You just need to be interested in the subject in such a way that the other person speaks more than us, which gives you the opportunity to focus on the positive aspects of it all.

      like that, we will create an additional incentive for him to keep progressing: If he falls, he will have to tell us or lie to someone who pays special attention to his advances. Neither experience is enjoyable, and you will have more reason to keep improving.

      Of course, what you don’t have to do is assume that your drug addiction history is taboo and you won’t want to talk about it because it embarrasses you; it would only help him get back to drugs, as he would believe that it would not have too many effects beyond his own life, without seeing it as a matter of concern to his relatives and friends.

      7. Help him not to be socially isolated.

      Loneliness is one of the direct routes to relapse in people who have used drugs. Therefore, a large part of the detoxification and rehabilitation process involves the support of those people who interact with the patient on a daily basis.

      Carrying out activities together, giving you the opportunity to participate in projects in which your contributions are valued, allowing you to express yourself easily and to share your hopes and concerns in contexts where there is trust is crucial, and this is is something that must be maintained indefinitely, also after the phase of detoxification psychotherapy is completed.

      So to help someone who has gone through withdrawal syndrome but is still vulnerable to the urge to use drugs, it is necessary to seek the help of others and together create environments in which this person can live an active social life (And, of course, in which addictive substances are practically non-existent or, in the case of alcohol, it remains very much in the background).

      You can also support him so that through you he can make new friends away from drugs. In this way, the association between “substance use” and “free time” and “pleasure” will gradually weaken, while increasing the chances of finding sources of motivation that have nothing to do with drug addiction.

      Are you looking for help?

      If you want to have psychologists who are experts in drug addiction treatment, visit us at the Psychode Psychological Institute. Our team of psychotherapists have many years of experience to help overcome this type of disorder, both in the initial stages and in subsequent rehabilitation. To see our contact details, click here.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Nestler EJ (October 2008). Transcriptional mechanisms of dependence: role of ΔFosB. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 363 (1507): pages 3245 to 3255.
      • Kalivas PW, Volkow ND (August 2005). The neural basis of addiction: a pathology of motivation and choice. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 162 (8): 1403-13.
      • Torres, G., Horowitz JM (1999). Drugs abuse and expression of brain genes. Psychosom Med. 61 (5): 630 – 650.

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