“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope,” said Russell Brand, an English comedian and actor, who started to experiment with drugs after a series of setbacks in his personal life.

An addiction to a substance does not happen overnight. It typically begins with an occasional recreational use, which, over a period of time, transforms into a full-blown addiction. It weakens one’s will power to quit the habit, by fundamentally changing the way the body works, even if someone desperately wants to do so. In addition, if it is a loved who is addicted to illicit substances it can be difficult to handle since it is tough to watch him or her destroy his or her life. It can also affect one’s professional and family life.

Combating the addiction problem of a loved one

For Jacqueline (name changed), 43, from Maricopa, pot was an inevitable part of her family life since her husband, Roger (name changed), 45, was a daily pot smoker. His life was controlled by marijuana, which posed innumerable problems in his married life. A habit, which had begun in high school, led to dependency, ultimately culminating in a severe addiction. Jacqueline often wondered if his addiction was really her fault since she could not spend as much time with him because of her career and family responsibilities. She made persistent efforts to encourage her husband to quit vaping. However, as a wife, she failed to acknowledge the fact that her husband was powerless over marijuana and blamed herself for not recognizing the signs early on.

Sadly, the number of American adults struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol has been rising progressively over the last few years. As such, having a loved one who is addicted to substances is not uncommon; however, handling such a situation without any repercussions can be a daunting task. Family members can be easily gripped by mental disorders such as anxiety or depression while helping a loved one fight an addiction to drugs.

5 tips to handle a loved one hooked on to drugs

Though dealing with a loved one’s addiction cannot be easy, there are certain things family members or friends can do to ease the situation. Here are a few tips for them:

Gaining information about addiction: Knowledge is the key to identifying the signs that someone may be using drugs. A proper understanding of facts can break the misconception that substance use disorders are a sign of moral weakness or character flaw.

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Protecting oneself from emotional abuse: Family members of drug abusers often end up mentally or physically abused. Owing to extreme irritability and mood swings in drug users, their family members are immensely vulnerable to emotional abuse.

Helping drug users face reality: In case the person addicted to drugs has financial limitations, and family responsibilities and expectations, it is advisable not to give him or her a free rein so that they get an excuse to ignore those due to their reckless behavior. This way they will be forced to understand the gravity of their addiction problem.

Seeking professional help: If certain aspects of family life such as employment, housing, health care of family members, means to provide food, etc, are affected adversely by the drug-driven impulsive behaviors of the user, then professional consultation and support is the only option that must be considered.

Paying attention to one’s own health: As selfish as it may sound, the truth is family members need to take care of themselves by ensuring proper diet, sleep and necessary medication if they want to be a strong support for their loved one battling addiction.

Combating the menace of addiction

Often family members have to be firm and take action knowing that the person they love will never agree to it. Dealing with someone in the grip of addiction requires a certain attitude that does not come naturally to every individual. Drug users usually tend to take advantage of this weakness of family members to engage in substance use without any interference.

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