Drug abuse is itself a clear signal that a loved one needs help. Drug abuse never has a positive association, and with continued use, it is always only a matter time before the signs and symptoms of abuse grow more severe. The signs of substance abuse can vary, depending on the drug abused, but changes to the user’s quality of life can be a major tipoff of a problem.
Diminished quality of life markers of drug abuse can include the substance user:
- Experiencing intense drug cravings
- Requiring more of a drug to get the effects of earlier use
- Spending money on drugs, even when it’s out of their budget
- Not being able to honor work, family and personal obligations
- Acting out of character, like stealing, driving under the influence, or being reckless
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when use stops or the amount of intake is reduced
There are no hard and fast rules on how to help a loved one into treatment, but there are ways to make the need for treatment apparent to the substance abuser so that ultimately she will make the decision to enter rehab.
One of the most unfortunate aspects of substance abuse is that the user can lose his ability to gauge the extent of the problem, or willfully refuse to do so in order to keep using.
As New York Times bestselling author David Sheff discusses in his book Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, denial is one of the most powerful preservation tools that substance abusers have to keep them locked in the cycle of abuse. Sheff points out that some addiction specialists follow the credo that a substance abuser may need to “hit rock bottom” before overcoming denial. But for some, the descent into addiction is a bottomless pit, and often it is only the substance abuser’s loved ones who can help. An intervention is one way to stop the dangerous downward spiral into addiction.
A substance abuser’s denial, or general lack of approachability about their drug abuse, may provide a strong disincentive for family members to intervene. However, one of the greatest dangers of drug abuse is that it is a venture into the unknown – the substance abuser never knows if the next use will result in an overdose, an accident, or death. Family members and other loved ones are often the only affected and concerned individuals who can persuade a substance abuser to seek help. For this reason, it is most always advisable for loved ones to either have an informal but pointed and encouraging talk about rehab or to stage a formal intervention.
There are potentially many advantages to working with an interventionist – a professional, for-hire person who specializes in organizing and overseeing an intervention. For instance, a poorly organized intervention can do more harm than good, cause the substance abuser to lash out in anger, and undermine the loved ones’ goals. The organizers will want to carefully plan the intervention beforehand in order to increase the likelihood of achieving the main goal – getting the substance abuser to agree to therapy and then promptly enter rehab.
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Our expertly trained admissions coordinators can help you determine the next step to take in helping your loved one. FRN treatment facilities offer a variety of programs that can help your loved one leave substance abuse behind for good. Call us today to learn more.
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David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.