Drug addiction can tear a family apart when not treated properly. It's a devastating consequence of actions that, at one time, may not have seemed so harmful.
Addiction can occur for a number of reasons. People may use prescription medicine to treat pain and then accidently become addicted to it. They may also take the drug after being influenced by others. Or, they may turn to drugs to relieve stress and calm nerves.
Drugs affect people psychically and psychologically, causing them to do things and act in ways that are not normal. They may act more physically and emotionally abusive or become more irritable. They may feel depressed or lethargic.
No matter the symptoms, when not treated, the end result is always the same: Their life and the lives of those around them slowly disintegrate.
To properly care for someone who is addicted to drugs, you must take the proper steps. In part one of our two-part series, we cover some things you must do to help your spouse overcome his or her addiction:
1. Observe, listen and learn
It's important not to judge an addict. In order to treat them, you must observe how they act and listen to how they feel. By doing so, you'll learn how best to approach them about treatment.
That's the key: Before treating your spouse, first learn how to properly talk with them.
2. Ask for help
You won't be able to help someone who is addicted alone. The reality is, unless you're a licensed professional, such as those at Fairwinds Treatment Center, you just don't have the experience to treat someone properly.
Professionals will be able to diagnosis a patient and form a long-term strategy to ensure the patient not only recovers, but does not relapse. Many will also use a dual-diagnosis approach, treating the underlying problem as well as the disease.
3. Reaffirm care for loved one
A person addicted to drugs may not react favorably to you reaching out. It's common for them to get defensive. They may think you're judging and attacking them for their way of life, a lifestyle they've become very accustomed to and one they likely don't believe is dangerous.
4. Create a blueprint for recovery
When you recognize that a loved one is having a problem with drugs, it's important to first step back and assess the situation. Ask yourself a couple of questions:
- When did they start taking drugs? Why did they start using them? And when did I notice this person change or become addicted? You may not be able to answer this question immediately, but it's a good starting point.
- How do I approach the situation? If you feel like you can reach out to them immediately and receive a positive reaction, do so. If not, call the professionals and obtain advice. You don't want to approach a spouse the wrong way. This could set the process back.
Once you assess the situation, quickly take action. Their life often depends on it.
Fairwinds Treatment Center, a dual diagnosis treatment center located in Clearwater, Florida, has over 25 years of experience in diagnosing and treating substance abuse-related problems. Under the leadership of Dr. M.K (Khal) El-Yousef, Fairwinds has grown into one of the country's leading centers in using dual diagnosis as a technique to treat individuals with addictive behaviors. The dual diagnosis approach requires professional to first understood the root of disease and then treat it using therapeutic counseling and clinical practices.