Drug addiction is one menace that does not seem to evolve even as the world moves forward. As technological advances continue giving solutions to problems like how to keep tabs on your workout regime and how to remember to take your medication, drug addiction remains the same problem it was two decades ago.
There is no app that you can download and use to get a person out of the drug hook. No store stocks a brain-cleaning or reset appliance to restore a brain destroyed by drugs.
As such, the world still has to use the age-old, tested methods to curb this menace. To be fair, a lot of effort has gone into studies and findings have made drug addiction treatment much easier today than in, say, the 1990s.
Still, the light has not shone on as many people as it needs to. A lot of people think, for instance, that all drug addictions are treated in the same way. Some assume that threatening an addict or kicking them out of the family will jolt them out of their habit.
The truth, however, is that each addiction needs its own approach to treat. Moreover, every individual addict requires a customized form of treatment. This article offers eight trusted tips on how to help a heroin addict to overcome their life-threatening drug habit.
- Learn more about heroin
If you suspect that a loved one is hooked on heroin, it is important that you do extensive research about the drug before confronting or trying to help them. This will help you to understand whether it is actually heroin that the person is taking or whether it could be another drug.
Remember heroin is just one of several opiate drugs (Others include medication like Vicodin and OxyContin).
A study also helps you understand the several hurdles you are likely to consider during the treatment process and how to get past them. Things like expected withdrawal symptoms, how to reduce body’s dependence and what reactions to expect from the drug user will be revealed at this point.
You will be amused to learn how helping a drug addict is totally different from what you may have imagined.
- Act early
Consider confronting the person you think is taking heroin at the earliest opportunity. Confront’ sounds like a rough word here; maybe approach’ would be more appropriate.
Denial is the first reaction when most people realize a loved one is on heroin, but it is just a comfortable danger. It procrastinates the approach and allows the addiction to reach chronic levels.
Immediately you suspect a close one is using drugs, get to the study in tip (1) above and approach them as soon as you feel adequately versed in the topic.
The approach is the most sensitive part of the helping process. It will determine whether the addict takes up the help offered or withdraws and recoils into a shell that will only aggravate the problem.
During the approach:
– Avoid threats, begging or trying to instill guilt in the user
– Do not use stigma words like junkie’ dirty’ or addict
– Show the user that you are concerned about them, not angry at them
Use an approach to addiction in general rather than narrowing down on the user. It is important to get them to view themselves from another person’s perspective. This will help them admit they need help
- Embrace addicts rather than ridicule them
Show the addict that the problem is affecting more than just them. Do not make it appear like they are falling out of the family. Rather, they should feel that the entire family is falling, and only they can save it by tackling the heroin addiction problem.
- Seek treatment
As soon as you feel like the problem is getting out of hand, it is necessary to seek professional treatment. A mental health specialist will help you to determine whether your patient needs to check into a drug addiction treatment center.
They will also advise you on whether to get help as an outpatient or an inpatient. Inpatient treatment for heroin addiction is widely regarded as more effective.
- Seek help for yourself
Remember heroin and most drug addictions are often family diseases. You will find yourself doubting or blaming yourself and even sinking into stress. Finding support especially from others who have handled such cases gives you the strength to keep helping your loved one.
- Continue post-rehab recovery
Even after rehabilitation, a heroin recovering addict will need to continue with recovery. Encourage them to join support groups to help with this stage.
- Find alternative activity
The scientific notion that nature does not support a vacuum holds true for drug use too. A relapse is likely to occur if a user does not find an alternative activity.
Help your reforming addict to find a new job or hobby to keep them engaged.
- Welcome the reformed addict back
Help the reforming heroin user feel like dropping the addiction was really a victory. Encourage them to see how they are now more productive and how the family and entire world is a better place since they won the heroin addiction battle.
The above tips may appear easy on paper, but helping a heroin-or any other addict- is a painful and slow process. Often, there will be pitfalls and steps backward. The ultimate victory is however rewarding and worthy of the entire struggle.