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Substance Use Disorders Center

How To Help Your Friend With Substance Use Disorder?

August 28th, 2020

To see your friend struggling with drug addiction isn’t easy. So, it makes sense you want to help them out. But before you step up to put them away from drugs, you must understand the situation properly and factor different dynamics. Because while you certainly want them to live a better and healthier life, they might fail to recognize that. Your confrontational intervention can turn for the worse, making them even volatile and violent. Dealing with substance use disorders is difficult and quite complex. Even when the person wants to quit, they might fail in their efforts and relapse easily. So, before you try to help them, think things through.

Are They Really Addicted?

The first step is, of course, ensuring that your friend is addicted to drugs. You can look for several signs in their behavior and appearance that may be a tell-tale. Are they withdrawing from social life? Are they experiencing severe mood swings? Have they lost interest in their hobbies and favorite activities? Is there any drastic change in their weight? Do they have bloodshot eyes most of the time? Do they have trouble speaking and in coordination? Addressing such questions can reveal a lot. Besides, if you find syringes, spoons, pierced can or bottle – these further confirm that they might be battling substance use disorders.

Have the Conversation

Once you’re aware of the problem, the next step is talking to them. This is tricky though. It’s essential that you empathize with their situation instead of taking a confrontational stance. At the same time, you don’t want to make emotional appeals either. Share with them your concerns; that you’re worried about them and their health. Let them know you care about them. But stay prepared for every kind of response. They might tell you they are fine. They might even refuse to acknowledge that the problem exists. Also, they might say hurtful things. Stay attentive and empathetic, as well as know how to keep the conversation pacified.

Encourage such a person to Seek Professional Help

If the case is dire – your friend is showing critical symptoms or they are choosing to drive while using drugs, which could be fatal for them and others. Encourage them to seek professional help. Often, people addicted to drugs may not be comfortable discussing the matter with friends and family members, but they may respond well to a third-person, who specializes in the subject. Such people can also have several worries and fears, which can only be addressed by an expert. Furthermore, if they are too dependent on drugs, abruptly quitting can lead them to withdrawal symptoms, resulting in severe physical and psychological implications. Hence, encourage your friend to see a professional. Google “primary care near me” and help them find one such professional. If needed, accompany them to their sessions.

Be Smart and Take the First Step

The key to helping your friend with drug addiction is to be non-demanding. Different people with substance use disorders have unique cases. As such, their needs and fears may be different. While some may desperately wish for help from friends, others may get offended when someone tries to help them. Therefore, even with your best of intentions, you must consider different aspects before taking any step.

In the end, in the most positive and empathetic way, you want to encourage your friend to get healthier by seeking professional help.

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