It's difficult enough to watch a loved one battle addiction, but it may be even more difficult when they face withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be life-threatening and leave people with substance use disorder (SUD) feeling like they're at rock bottom.
It can be a challenging time for everyone involved and a time that a special person in your life may turn to you for help. That's why it's essential to have a good understanding of addiction and withdrawal, as well as some tips and advice to help you see your loved one through this difficult time.
What Is Addiction?
It's the continued use of a substance despite adverse consequences. This overuse can lead to physical and psychological dependence when the body and mind have become so used to the substance that they cannot function without it.
There are different types of addiction, but they all have one thing in common: they eventually take over the person's life. They often lie, cheat, and steal to get their next fix. Their relationships and work-life suffer as a result.
Types Of Addictions
There are many types of addiction, including:
Handling addiction withdrawal can be difficult since SUD patients often feel like their world is crashing down. Before seeking help for your loved one and going online and typing 'best addiction treatment center near me,' it's crucial to understand how withdrawal works.
How Does Withdrawal Happen?
Withdrawal is a combination of symptoms that occur when a patient suddenly stops using a substance they've become dependent on. It's the body and mind's way of reacting to the lack of a substance it has learned to rely on for daily functions, such as mood stabilization and pain relief.
The severity of the symptoms depends on the person's dependence on the substance and the length and amount of use. Some common symptoms of withdrawal include:
How Can I Help My Loved One?
The best way to help your loved ones through withdrawal is by being there for them. It can be difficult, and they may not want to talk or lash out at you. It's important to stay calm and understanding and to let them know that you're there for them no matter what.
You can also provide support by:
1.Helping Them Establish A Routine
The lack of routine experienced during withdrawal can be disorienting for people with SUD. Help them get busy and back to their usual routines, such as working, exercising, and eating well. It'll help them feel grounded again and fill the time they may normally spend getting high or drinking with healthier activities.
Some ways to help them establish a routine include:
Encouraging exercise and any other healthy habits they've given up during their addiction.
Offering to make their food and drinks to take to work or school.
Making sure they get plenty of sleep at night so that they can function the next day.
Helping them become involved in hobbies again, such as painting or writing.
Offering to help them organize their lives, including finances and work schedules, to feel overwhelmed.
2. Enabling Healthy Communication
The pressure of addiction can often leave patients feeling isolated from those around them. During withdrawal, it's common for them to become reclusive and quiet, but this is usually because they can't effectively communicate their feelings. They may lash out at loved ones, withdraw from them or forget what they're saying mid-conversation.
It can be upsetting for you, the loved ones, who often want nothing more than to help their family member suffering from SUD. It's important to remember that addiction drives these behaviors, not the person. Learning healthy communication techniques can help you have productive discussions with your loved one.
3. Helping Them Make Healthy Decisions
During withdrawal, they may feel an urgent need to get high or drink again to escape the pain and discomfort of their symptoms. It can be dangerous if they relapse, and they could overdose or cause serious health problems. To avoid this:
Don't let them drive and don't leave them alone. Withdrawal symptoms often impair judgment and motor skills. Let them know that you're there to listen if they need to talk about what they're going through, but that you won't enable their addiction.
Don't give them money for drugs or alcohol. It's often why patients are driven towards relapse.
As much as possible, dispose of any bottles of alcohol in your house so they don't have access to them.
Encourage them to engage in healthy activities once again, such as exercise or gardening.
Consider professional intervention if they show signs of severe relapse.
4, Staying Involved
The road to recovery is a long one, and your loved one will need your support throughout it. It may mean continuing to help them make healthy decisions, being there to listen when they need it, and staying involved in their treatment. You should also avoid any behavior that could be seen as enabling - this includes making excuses for them, giving them money, or buying their substances for them.
Staying involved in their lives will help them keep on the right track. Keep communication open and set a good example for them with your behavior. If they have children, it's also essential to be a positive role model so that addiction doesn't continue from one generation to the next.
5. Seek Professional Help
If your loved one is experiencing a severe relapse or their addiction has caused them to lose their job, home, or relationships, it may be time to consider professional intervention. It's a structured meeting with the patient, friends, family, and an addiction counselor or specialist. They will discuss how addiction has affected the patient and those around them, and they will outline what everyone can do to help them when they leave treatment.
What Is A Professional Intervention?
An intervention is a meeting between family and friends of a person with SUD, their addiction counselor, and sometimes a doctor. During the intervention, everyone who cares about the patient discusses how addiction has affected them and clarifies that they will no longer tolerate or enable their behavior. They also explain what they plan to do if it happens again.
It can be a challenging but necessary step for patients who refuse to get help independently. A professional intervention ensures that everyone is on the same page and provides a structure for getting the patient into treatment.
If you're worried about your loved one's well-being during addiction withdrawal, there are things you can do to provide support and help them through it. Establishing a routine, healthy communication, and helping them make healthy decisions are just a few of the ways you can help. If their symptoms worsen or show signs of a severe relapse, intervention may be necessary to get them back on track.
How Does It Work?
The first step during an intervention is finding a reputable addiction treatment counselor or interventionist in your area. You can look online or check the phone book for resources such as local rehabs, hospitals, and mental health clinics. Once you've contacted someone who has the experience, sit down with everyone who cares about the patient and have a frank discussion about addiction and how it's affected your loved one.
The intervention professional will help you plan the meeting and present to moderate and offer support. During the intervention, everyone will have an opportunity to speak. The patient will also be given a chance to speak, after which the interventionist will share their thoughts and concerns. It'll be followed by a period of open discussion, then a commitment from the patient to get help.
All parties will agree to support the patient throughout treatment and recovery. It's not uncommon for family members to become involved in various forms of therapy after an intervention.
At this point, you should direct your loved one to a reputable addiction treatment facility in your area. Once they are approved for services, they can begin their recovery journey, including many ups and downs.
Remember that it's important not to get impatient or pushy with them. Addiction withdrawal is difficult enough without pressure from the people closest to them.
How To Find The Right Treatment Program
When finding the right addiction treatment program, the first consideration is to figure out what type of program your loved one needs. The different types of programs include:
Hospital detox: Inpatient or residential treatment centers offer medical supervision and medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal while your loved one goes through this transition. They also provide other therapies and services such as counseling, relapse prevention, and holistic treatments like yoga and meditation.
Outpatient rehab: These centers allow patients to live at home while attending daily treatment. This program is suitable for those with a strong support system at home and may not need the round-the-clock care available in an inpatient or residential setting.
Dual diagnosis: If your loved one has a mental health disorder in addition to their addiction, they will need a dual diagnosis program. These centers will offer counseling, relapse prevention, and skills training to help them deal with both problems.
After you've figured out the type of program they need, it's time to start looking at specific treatment centers.
What's Best For My Loved One?
Although it may seem like all addiction treatment centers and programs are the same, they can vary greatly.
For example, many centers have an all-or-nothing approach requiring patients to stop using all drugs and alcohol while in treatment. However, a partial hospitalization program - or day rehab -will allow your loved one to go through detox at the facility but then return home at night.
Another consideration is the type of therapy that will be offered. Some centers specialize in a particular therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). If your loved one's resistant to treatment, it might be helpful to find a center that uses a type of therapy that they're more likely to respond to.
When you've considered all of these factors, it's time to compare different treatment centers and see which one stands out to you. Your loved one will ultimately be the judge of this facility when they're there, so try not to influence their decision too much. However, it can be helpful to have a list of questions to ask the center when you tour it.
The most important thing is that your loved one feels safe and comfortable at the treatment center. They're less likely to stick with the program and achieve long-term sobriety if they don't.
What To Do When They Undergo Treatment
Here's what you can do once your loved ones undergo treatment:
6. Give Them Space To Heal
While it can be tempting to keep your loved ones close while they go through this challenging time, it's necessary to give them some space. Don't call or text all the time, and don't try to micromanage their every move. They need time alone without constant pressure from you.
On the other hand, be there for them when they need you. If your loved ones are open to it, offer to go to therapy or support groups with them. Listen to them when they talk and provide a shoulder to cry on when needed.
7. Celebrate Their Successes
When your loved one manages to make it through a challenging situation without relapsing, be sure to acknowledge and celebrate their success. It can help reinforce the positive behavior and encourage them to get through this addiction withdrawal and change their life around for good.
Don't hesitate to reward them with heartfelt words of encouragement, a gift, or an outing to show your support. For example, you might take your loved one to a favorite café or plan a vacation in the future when they're feeling better. Just avoid anything that might trigger a relapse, such as drinking or partying.
8. Avoid Codependency
It's necessary to remind yourself that you cannot fix your loved one's addiction. You can provide support and love, but ultimately, they need to be the one who wants to get out of their own addiction. If you try to take on too much of the responsibility yourself, you'll become codependent, and it'll be harder for them to get better.
Codependency can also manifest itself in the form of rescuing your loved one from difficult situations. These types of behaviors will only make your loved one feel more helpless and will hinder their ability to recover. Be supportive, but don't take on too much of the load yourself.
9. Stay Healthy And Positive Yourself
You must stay healthy and positive during this time. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it'll only make things worse for your loved one. Take some time for yourself and spend time with friends and family.
It's also important to stay positive and focused during this trying time. Avoid engaging in alcohol or drug use yourself, even if you're tempted to do so; it'll only lead to more stress and other problems for you.
Don't feel guilty about taking some time away from your loved one either - instead, put your focus on practicing self-care.
Addiction withdrawal can be an incredibly challenging time for both you and your loved one. However, you can get through it together with the right tools and support. These tips and advice should help you support your loved one during this difficult time.