At Uptown Psych in Chicago, Illinois, our well-trained team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists understand the fear and panic that sets in when you discover your loved one is abusing substances. In this blog, they offer some strategies for how you can help them get critical treatment, but first, let’s take a closer look at how addiction is defined and understand the symptoms.
No one sets out to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. It typically starts with peer pressure, a desire to have fun, or to alleviate physical or emotional pain. What starts out casually can become habitual as your brain begin to crave the feeling the substance provides. You’re at an increased risk for developing an addiction if:
• Someone else in your family is an addict
• You suffer from depression
• Your struggle with anxiety
• You have mental health issues
• Using drugs at a young age also increases the odds that you will face addiction.
Symptoms of addiction
Addiction comes with many telltale symptoms. Some are behavioral in nature while others are physical. They include:
• Memory problems
• Persistent runny nose
• Glassy, red eyes
• Irregular sleep patterns
• Mood swings
• Sneaking or stealing
• Falling grades in school
• Poor performance at work
• Neglected hygiene
You may also be keenly aware that your son, daughter, sister, or brother is increasingly taking risks, driving under the influence, using harsh language, and making unwise decisions.
Tips to help someone through addiction
Our team here at Uptown Psych knows that you want to do something to help your family member or friend who has developed an addiction to marijuana, opioids, alcohol, crack, cocaine, or other stimulants. Here are some of our top recommendations for how you can help someone you love get the addiction treatment they need:
Learn about the addiction
Our team can help you understand the behavioral patterns that addicts typically exhibit so you’ll know what to expect along the way on the often long road to recovery. We can equip you with information about what specific drugs do in the body and how the disease progresses. As you gain knowledge, you can share it with your loved one and use it to encourage them to get the help they desperately need.
While you don’t want to enable or be too soft, it’s important to let your loved one know that you deeply care and you have compassion for their situation. Knowing that you have compassion bonds them to you.
Watch what you say
Addicts will twist your words and blame you for their problems. Make sure your language is loving, supportive, and non-judgemental. Guilting or shaming them is ineffective and drives a larger wedge between you.
Trust is hard to regain once it’s been compromised, but it’s a crucial component to having your loved one believe you want what’s best for them. Let them know that you are strictly there for support and encouragement.
At Uptown Psych, we customize a plan to work with your family member that may include talk therapy, medication, cognitive therapy, Suboxone® or Vivitrol® treatments, and family counseling. We also help you stay involved with their recovery with support group sessions and private counseling.
To learn more about how you can help your loved one escape the chains of addiction, call for a confidential appointment or book online.