Denial a common problem that MUST be overcome
If you are a friend or a family member of someone who is either abusing drugs and/or alcohol or already addicted, you’re probably wondering what you can do to help.
The biggest problem you face is that the abuser or addict thinks this is YOUR problem, or you’re making a fuss over nothing. “I can handle it.” The last one in the room to know there is a problem is the one who has it.
There is help if you decide to do an intervention
You’ve seen what’s going on and you are thinking of ways to stop the behavior. Maybe you’ve decided to do an intervention for that person you care about and “get real” with him or her.
Your motives are pure, but you are probably not equipped to help. You probably need the assistance of an interventionist, someone who is trained in drug and alcohol issues.
You're not going to be left out of the room, as the interventionist will work with the family and friends to plan the best approach to the abuser or addict, based upon his/her history of use.
The interventionist will plan according to the user’s drug of choice, make the proper analysis and map out a specific strategy based on the information gathered.
Each intervention can be different
Interventions will vary, depending on the user’s history. If the person is already well into addiction or alcoholism, the interventionist must make that adjustment to the strategy. That’s where friends and family come in.
Moreover, the interventionist will understand the approaches to handling addicts with addiction or alcoholism, cocaine abuse, heroin addiction, or those who are abusing inhalants or methamphetamine.
Regardless of the drug, trained professional help is available for an intervention. They are the ones who can give an accurate and objective account of the user’s behavior. If someone has just moved from being an occasional user to a frequent user, that requires a different approach than the one for a person who is a long-time abuser. Friends and family are vital to this process.
Many people completely under estimate their problem
People who are caught in addiction or alcoholism do not realize the severity of their problem. The only thing that matters in their life is getting the drug, regardless of the consequences. Health problems are not considered. Legal problems are not considered.
The person who used to be rational and law-abiding has been swallowed by alcohol. That’s why the intervention step is so vital.
There is no room for enabling, no room for being the good guy, because the life of the addict may be on the line unless something is done on their behalf. It is sad when family and friends no longer matter. It is even sadder when life does not matter.
Don’t be a hero. Get help from a trained professional. That person knows what questions to ask and what information is necessary to make a proper assessment and an effective strategy for battling the problem.
An intervention can help!
Something else to keep in mind is that an intervention, however brief, may make all the difference in the world to getting the person back on track to restoring his/her health.
Even a short encounter with an addiction or alcoholism specialist can prove instrumental in helping someone along. Those short visits may lead to putting them into a rehab program, or at least getting in to see a physician.
Once in the throws of addiction or alcoholism, addicts will no longer be the person they used to be, and as a result, the intervention stages may be difficult for you to witness. Our affection for the person, our feelings get in the way and it is difficult for the family member or friend to remain objective.
The interventionist is key to putting the addict back on the right path to a healthy and successful life.
My best friend has a drug problem and I don't know what to do.
My best friend (who is 15 years old) has been doing cocaine for the last few months and it is getting pretty clear to me that she has a problem. She doesn't go to school and has been binging every single night til 5 in the morning. The only time she doesn't binge is when she doesn't have the energy to do so.
I've had past cocaine problems myself so I've had to distance myself from her to prevent myself from doing it.
I've been talking to her sister about this whole problem and it seems her sister lost hope in her a long time ago and wants nothing to do with the situation.
I even tried telling her mother via a Facebook inbox. I know her mom knows she is doing it but she seems to be in shock at the moment and not doing anything to help. I know her mom got my message but she isn't responding.
I've been able to get her to admit she has a problem but at the same time she doesn't seem to care what direction her life is going in. I'm her only true friend and i try to tell her what's going to happen i try everything.
She has made the decision to stop a few times but as soon as i lose contact with her she'll get a text from one of her coke buddies and go do it anyway.
What should i do? I'm only 19 years old and the only person in her life that cares enough to go to these lengths to help her. My last resort is contacting her father about the issue but I'm not sure what will happen if i do.
Seek Help for Guidance
by: Ned Wicker
You are in a very difficult spot. Your friend’s mother is completely dropping the ball and not taking care of her daughter. From what you have written, your friend needs to go into treatment and get her life back on the right track.
To be 15 and doing cocaine is a dreadful thing, because the adolescent brain just isn’t capable of handling the drug, and even the fully-developed brain doesn’t handle it well. She is in jeopardy of living a lifetime, however long, of misery and addiction. She has to be stopped.
I suggest you give Al-anon a call and talk to them. Al-anon supports those who are concerned about people they care about and loved ones. You are not her parent, her guardian or a family member.
Her sister is probably very frustrated and not equipped to handle your friend’s illness. Mom and sister do not understand that your friend has a brain disease and is incapable of making good choices and should not be allowed to make decisions.
Her family needs to rally around her and get her the help that she needs. You are kind of on the outside looking in, only you know what’s going on and the family doesn’t.
Is there an aunt or uncle you can turn to, or grandparents? Somebody in that family has to wake up and realize that unless this young person receives help, there is likely to be a funeral in the not too distant future. You say mom is in shock.
Mom needs to be mom, not a buddy, a concerned bystander or a helpless observer. She needs to take action and get help for her daughter. This is not a teenage phase, this is a serious health threat.
If nothing works, if all fails, maybe she needs to be arrested. The law enforcement professionals have dealt with this before and they need to be considered a resource for you. I know it’s drastic, but it might be needed to save her life. But make the call to Al-anon, or a drug treatment center and get their take on it.
Is Drug Addiction a Disease or a Choice?
We firmly believe drug addiction is a DISEASE, but before you choose which Addiction and Recovery Treatment is for you; you may want to consider what YOU believe.
Selecting a Addiction and Recovery Treatment Program
There are several things to keep in mind when selecting a treatment program, or center. Foremost is the fact that everybody has an individual need and treatment programs must be tailored to meet that need. One size fits all does not apply.
Recovery needs to take place in the right setting, with the right services and treatments to best effect a positive outcome.
Even if a person does not voluntarily check-in to a treatment program, it does not mean the treatment will be ineffective. Many people present themselves for treatment by court order, not of their own free will, and can receive the same benefit as those who are there voluntarily.
When a person is ready for treatment it is important for that treatment to be ready for him/her. Services must be available, because if a person has to endure being put on a waiting list, or has to drive long distances to receive treatment, the odds are against them from the get go.
It’s easy for people to fall between the cracks if help is not readily available.
In many cases, people entering treatment need to go through medical detoxification. While it is an important first step in the treatment program, detox is not the whole answer to the problem. People need to get the drugs out of their system, but that does not address the long-term problems of addiction.
Must meet your needs!
Treatment programs need to meet the needs of people, beyond the physical and emotional addiction problem itself. We are body, mind and spirit. Intervention that does not include all of a person’s needs falls short of the minimum goal of the program.
Addiction is as much about the spirit as it is about the mind and body. Many addicts going into recovery has legal problems to sort out, job problems, social integration problems. Every aspect of the person’s life needs to be addressed.
Needs change and treatment programs need to change as those needs change. Progress or the lack of progress needs to be assessed on an ongoing basis. What was necessary in the first phases of treatment may need to be changed as time goes on. Perhaps a patient is on medication initially, but will later require counseling or psychotherapy. There may be family matters to work through, or vocational training.
We recommend that whatever treatment program you choose that you also enroll in a 12-step program. A 12-step program will help address your spiritual needs rather than just your medical needs.We have listed each step below and hope that you will take some time to review each step and consider what it would do for your/your loved ones recovery.
Choose a Addiction and Recovery Treatment Program that is Age-Appropriate
Treatment programs must be age-appropriate, and sensitive to the culture and ethnicity of the patient. Again, the individual’s need is the key to determining the most effective path of treatment.
Sticking with Addiction and Recovery Treatment Programs is KEY!
Patients need to complete their treatment programs. Treatment can be a long and difficult road, so patients need to be encouraged to stick with it. Research suggests that people reach a major milestone in recovery after 90 days, but additional treatment can be helpful in taking the patient farther down the road to good health.
The problem is people leave their treatment programs early, often without reaching a significant stage in recovery.
Patients cannot expect to recover if they have to do it alone. Connection to other people is necessary, and in the case of recovery, having sessions with a counselor or being part of a group is an important component of the program.
Many patients, who are addicted to opiates, such as heroin, benefit from Addiction and Recovery, using Methadone and LAAM (levo-alpha-acetylmethadol.
Naltrexone is used for patients addicted to opiates, but who are also dependent on alcohol. Smoking addiction is treated with bupropion.
Other medical problems, such as hepatitis B and C are associated with drug abuse and addiction. HIV/AIDS is another major concern and programs need to assess these conditions and provide training for patients to avoid infection.
Mental Health Needs to Be Considered
Patients with mental problems can be helped with a variety of behavioral drugs and treatments. Patients with both drug addiction and mental disorders need a program that works with both aspects. Assessment of these needs is critical in establishing a treatment program that will effectively restore the patient’s health and well-being.
Drug Use MUST Be Monitored!
While in treatment, patients must not be using drugs. Drug use needs to be monitored, and this can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Most commonly, a urinalysis or some other test is sufficient. If a relapse occurs, and the patient uses drugs during the treatment program, his/her individual treatment plan may require modification. It is important for the treatment program to have a steady, objective monitoring program to meet the needs of the patient.
Just as one size does not fit all patients, sometimes one Addiction and Recovery Treatment program does not completely rid the patient of the addiction problem. Therefore, many patients need subsequent Addiction and Recovery Treatment programs to win over the addiction. By nature, people like to do things their own way
They make mistakes They stumble and fall
Sometimes long-term programs are the answer, or many times through the program.
The important thing is to continue to try to stay clean.