Dealing with an Addicted Person

Steps in Helping & Dealing with the Person

Dealing with and helping someone with drug addiction issues is difficult. Most people have no clue what to do about it. The following are a few tips for dealing with and helping the addicted person.

  • First, do not enable them; it only fuels their abuse. For example, if they ask for money to help pay for different things, tell them to bring the bill and pay it yourself. Recognize this as an indicator, especially if the person has a good job.  Do not give money freely.
  • Second, always face the problem head-on without challenging the person. If you suspect drug addiction, question it. If the person denies it, don’t challenge them. Ask again (invite a response) until you get the truth.

If they refuse or turn the table on you and how you “mistrust” them, you know they are hiding something. Be patient.

Factors in Dealing with an Addict

Nobody wants to be addicted. A person can get caught in the quick fix that mind-altering substances provide. There are strong obstacles to stopping their usage. Here are some, later detailed below.

  • the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms,
  • not knowing what to expect in treatment,
  • fear of the outcome of rehab, afraid of “failing.”

Because withdrawal symptoms can be very unpleasant. They may have experienced it between two hits and want to avoid this from happening.

They may not know what to expect from treatment centers. Or what is expected of them is a point in case.

What does the person think they’ll find when entering a drug rehab center? Are they afraid?

When talking with an addicted person, you need to be reassuring, understanding, and above all, helpful. Work towards making them realize they need professional addiction counselling. In the end, the simple and proven method of dealing with an addicted person is encouraging and coaxing them without judgment. Do this repeatedly until they see the need for addiction treatment. Keep reading to gain insight.

Labelling & Misdiagnoses

Too often, the healthcare system will misdiagnose an addict because the person is not honest about their substance abuse issues. Whether it is with illicit drugs, medication abuse, or alcohol overconsumption, they do not speak of it. The family physician or other healthcare provider is rarely aware of this facet of the individual’s problem. Doctors can misdiagnose a person not knowing the whole story.

The addicted person feels great one day and then depressed the other because of drug or alcohol use. Most physicians prescribe a mood stabilizer, which often has side effects. The addicted’s secrecy tends to complicate the matter. The illicit drug is now interacting with the new prescription medication. These cause unpredictable physical and mental changes. Unfortunately, individuals get the wrong labels because of their secrets.

A couple crying, addiction despair.

Substance Abuse 

Physical Condition

Some families may face the addiction of a loved one because of earlier physical or emotional conditions. For example, pain from an accident or operation is usually prescribed medication for a period to relieve discomfort. The result of this practice is that often the pain lingers longer than the specified time of the medicine.

Or, with highly addictive drugs, the person may feel withdrawal symptoms but misinterpret it as pain from the accident or operation. Some people have a low tolerance for opiate-type pain medications and rapidly become addicted.

The person can’t get a renewal, thus resorting to “black market medication.” Drugs like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Fentanyl are readily available on the street and the Web.

Emotional Condition

Another example is someone facing a difficult life situation or an unwanted condition. It can be as simple as boredom or the inability to feel comfortable in social situations. There are as many circumstances as there are people abusing substances. The person lacking the proper skills to deal with this state of affairs will stay in this ever-present condition.

As we all want to be happy, a person will seek relief. Alcohol and drugs do this, and most people use either or both. Being numbing agents, they numb out the source of the discomfort. At least for the time that the substance creates the desired effect. Once it dissipates, the person needs more and higher dosages to get the same relief. Thus, we have the start of substance misuse disorder.

Be Patient and Persist

Remember that the addicted person is not your loved one, relative, or friend. Their personalities have changed, and mind-altering substances have taken over. You need to be patient and persist with care and understanding and do not blame. Stay focused and know that you can always call an experienced Addiction Referral and Consultation counsellor for guidance if you need assistance.

Marc J. Bernard

Marc J. Bernard

Substance Use & Addiction Recovery Professional,
Referral & Consultation Counsellor

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