February 24, 2012
Drug addiction does not merely affect the user. Friends and family members as well as colleagues also are affected when someone they are close to abuses drugs. In addition to both in class and online drug classes there are other things families can do to cope with a drug-addicted loved one.
Families affected by substance abuse and addiction often are caught unaware, with no idea how to deal with the problems they face. There is no road map for dealing with a family member suffering from drug and/or alcohol abuse or addiction, but there are strategies to keep in mind that can help.
Following are a few tips I like to offer in my drug education classes:
- Act Quickly: If you suspect a family member has a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. Express your concerns and contact an addictions professional for guidance and direction. It is not true that a person must "hit bottom" before he or she can get help.
- Look for Signs: Signs of a drug or alcohol problem include difficulty meeting expectations at school or work, behavioral changes, change in friends, secretive behavior, legal problems, diminished personal hygiene, relationship problems, friends who negatively impact individual.
- Get Help for Yourself: Seek help for yourself through a counselor or support group such as Al-Anon.
- Establish Rules: Don't be afraid to establish rules for teens and young adult children, and hold them accountable to following them.
- Keep Track: Keep a record of behaviors and incidents that disrupt your household or use in the event that the affected individual denies such incidents occurred.
- You May Need a Pro: If the individual's behavior becomes intolerable to the point that it's affecting the safety or well-being of other family members, seek advice from a professional about putting the individual out of the home.
- Follow Through is Key: When setting rules and establishing consequences for rules not followed, be prepared to follow through. Acting early and decisively maximize the possibility of positive outcomes for your loved one and you.
All of these will help when dealing with someone battling addiction. The key is to not keep it a secret. Seek help. A good drug class is a place to start. If you prefer to maintain anonymity there are online drug classes too.