Helping a Person with an Addiction
Friends, colleagues and family often ask how to help a person with drug addiction. Here are a few practical ways to help:
– Although the addict made the initial choice to try drugs, he or she did not choose to become an addict. The addicted person’s brain is functioning abnormally and their drug abuse is out of control. They require and deserve medical attention and treatment, just as any person with a chronic disorder does.
– Help the individual to find a treatment program that treats not only the drug addiction, but also behavioural issues, mental illnesses and coping skills for life.
– If the addict is resistant to rehabilitation, use any reasonable means necessary to get him into treatment, such as the legal system or an employer. Voluntary rehab is not the only successful rehab. You can read more about interventions here.
In order to make any progress in dealing with our drug problems, we need to rise above the mindset that addicts have “done it to themselves.”
Once people become addicted they should be seen as brain disease patients or even people with a mental illness.
You wouldn’t berate your depressed friend or family member for being weak willed, would you?
It is true that many addicts have ruined their lives and those of their families and friends, and so it is easy to write them off and extend very little compassion.
However, there is now scientific evidence showing that approaching addiction as a treatable illness is cost-effective in the long run and in the broader spectrum.
Greater understanding of addiction will help in treating and supporting addicts as well as reducing the overall social consequences and making better use of the taxes we pay too!
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