When someone you care about is turning to drugs, it can be a difficult situation to handle. In some instances, it’s hard to know for sure whether or not the issue is actually drugs. If you’re not sure, it can help to understand associated behavioral changes. Some of the most common changes in a person’s behavior when they have turned to drugs include problems at school or work that didn’t exist before, secretive behavior, not telling the truth, stealing, no longer participating in social activities, unexplained anger, mood swings and even a change in their friend group. You may also notice physical changes, such as problems with comprehending things, unusual fatigue, rapid changes in weight, poor hygiene and overall changes in grooming habits.
There is a way that you can help a friend that has turned to drugs, but it’s important to understand the different barriers that might arise. When you care about someone and you want to help them, you may not get the reaction that you hope to receive. Sometimes a person will respond by denying that a problem exists. This can cause an issue with getting help because that usually doesn’t happen until the person has accepted their addiction. As a friend, it can be difficult to observe destructive behaviors that are not being acknowledged. Another emotion that will probably arise is anger. It’s a common way in which a person reacts when being confronted with the issue of drug use. They will often start to feel defensive, even if approached with kindness. Something else that you should be aware of is the possibility of avoidance. In an attempt to help, an addict sometimes uses avoidance as a coping mechanism.
Important Considerations When a Friend is Using Drugs
As you embark upon the journey of helping a friend that’s using drugs, one of the most important things you’ll need to remember is not to enable them. Although it can be difficult to watch a person’s life fall apart, it’s best not to step in to handle their responsibilities because that can prevent progress. Some of the ways in which friends and family members enable a loved one using drugs is by giving them money, which ends up helping them continue the drug use. Although you don’t want to enable your friend, it is important to remain compassionate. When you demonstrate compassion, your friend will be more willing to open up about what’s happening. You can show compassion by listening to what they have to say and continuously communicating that you care about them. It can also help if you encourage good habits, such as seeking treatment for any health issues and inspiring them to eat healthy. The most important encouragement that you can give is for them to seek treatment for the use of drugs or drug addiction. Here a few other steps you should take:
- Go to therapy on your own.
- Eat healthy and take care of yourself physically.
- Participate in a support group.
- Speak to a therapist.
There are some instances when it is necessary to stage an intervention with other friends and family members. In many cases, a person that’s using drugs will not be open to intervention and won’t really want to talk about the situation. Even though this is the case, it’s important to move forward anyway. While an intervention involves friends and family, it should always be led by a skilled professional, such as a therapist or interventionist. The reason why this is important is that a professional will know what steps must be taken and will ensure the process is handled safely. You also need to work with a professional because handling this type of situation requires experience, skill, education and a lot of patience. Even when someone does not acknowledge their drug use, a trained professional is more likely to get them the help they need. It’s also important to understand that someone who is using drugs is not likely to maintain close relationships. This is a situation that you shouldn’t take personally. While it may be difficult to remain optimistic, know that you’re doing the right thing and focus on maintaining a positive attitude.
If you’re concerned about a friend that has started to use drugs, please call us at 833-610-1174 for more information about how you can help. We’re here to answer any questions that you have and provide the guidance you need.