How Can I Help A Loved One Struggling With Opiate Addiction?

Hand gesturing help to a loved one with opiate addiction

It can be emotionally challenging when a family member or loved one has a problem with using opiates. You may not know what to do or understand why they are misusing opiates. It is important that you do not stand at the sidelines when it comes to their addiction. Prescription opiate abuse is at an epidemic high where three out of four prescription drug overdoses are from opioid pain relievers[1].  World news also reports that deaths and overdoses involving prescription painkillers are higher than heroin and cocaine combined.

Dos and Don’ts of Helping an Opiate Addiction Victim

So what can you do to help? In most cases, you should:

  1. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to talk to your loved one. Express your concerns as well as your support and help in a non-judgmental way. Don’t wait until it’s too late. An additional tip, be prepared for your conversation and realize that your loved one may come up with excuses or deny any problems. Make sure you have specific examples of your loved ones behaviors, its impact on them and others and why you are concerned.
  2. Learn. You can deepen your understanding of opiate addiction by researching the condition and treatment programs available. There are many treatment programs available for dealing with opiate dependency. It’s important to realize that addiction is a two-step process: physiological and psychological. A successful treatment program will address both these aspects.
  3. Listen. This can also be an opportunity to understand the reasons behind your loved ones actions without judging. Each person is unique and has their particular reasons for using. Some may find that they’ve grown a tolerance to the prescription painkillers they had been prescribed. Others may use to mask and numb an underlying psychological or emotional issue. While others may have tried to it socially to only find themselves hooked.
  4. Take care of yourself. By this we mean, don’t blame yourself for your loved ones behavior and don’t neglect your own needs. Don’t feel guilty or responsible. Remember, you can’t control another person’s decisions or actions. Also, by allowing the other person to accept responsibility for their actions is actually a positive and necessary step towards their recovery. And make sure that you also have people you can talk to that can support you just as you are doing for your loved one.

Some items to usually avoid in most cases:

  1. You should not attempt to punish, threaten, preach, guilt or bribe them.
  2. Don’t take away their responsibility in the situation by making up excuses for them or protecting them from the negative consequences of their actions.
  3. Don’t hide or throw their drugs away.

Myths Regarding Drug Abuse

Finally, we’d like to help break some stereotypes and myths regarding drug abuse.

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  1. Myth: Addiction is about willpower and people can stop if they really want to.
    Truth: Drugs can alter brain chemistry and organ function. These physiological changes can make it difficult to quit simply by sheer will.
  2. Myth: A drug dependent person has to hit rock bottom before they can get better.
    Truth: Recovery can start at any time, why not as soon as possible? There is no need for your loved one to suffer longer or to lose everything in order to start the recovery process.
  3. Myth: Treatment didn’t work before, it won’t work again.
    Truth: Relapse is not an end or a failure. This could mean that a different treatment approach is necessary. Recovery is an individual journey and process.

Waismann Method Rapid Opiate Detox Center

One form of treatment is the Waismann Method® rapid opiate detox. Many families have reached out to us regarding opiate abuse and treatment through rapid detox. This procedure detoxes patients of opiates and gets them through withdrawal with minimal conscious awareness in a full service accredited hospital in our only location in southern California where we receive patients from all over the world. Once the physiological aspect of addiction has been dealt with, patients are then transitioned to Domus Retreat, an immediate after care facility complete with professional staff. There, staff nurture patients in a warm and supportive environment where they can address any underlying emotional or psychological causes of opiate misuse. This comprehensive approach has led the us to have one of the highest success rates in opiate detoxification.

**Disclaimer: Each individual is unique and may require a different approach. The content is for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.