Substance abuse and how to help those struggling

Substance abuse is a commonly known problem that many struggle with. When substance abuse behavior becomes habitual, repetitious and difficult or even impossible to control, despite the negative consequences, the user has developed an addiction that would need to be treated. It can be difficult to admit that you or someone else has a problem, but the first step towards recovery is admitting the problem.

It is heartbreaking how substance abuse can consume an individual from their loved ones and result to many issues. The impact of this problem is seen in money that is spent to maintain the addiction, losing important relationships, health care expenses, lost productivity and earnings, and increased crime and accidents involving substance abuse. The person who is struggling with substance abuse generally behaves out of character, with such behaviour often leading to physically, emotionally and mentally harmful consequences for self and others.

How can you help someone with addiction? It’s important to understand that substance abuse is a disease that needs to be treated with professional help, because the person who is addicted won’t be able to control their problem on their own. There is no easy, magical way out of addiction, and you as a loved one won’t be able to stop an individual’s substance abuse. However there are ways that you can help the situation. Firstly it is important to educate yourself about addiction. This makes room for wider perspective to how substance abuse affects the one struggling, and ability to better recognize the signs of need of help. Offering support by sharing your concerns with them and letting them know that you are there for them is essential. If the addicted individual is in denial about their addiction, it’s important that you don’t

make it easier for them to continue their denial about it by covering, lying or making excuses about their behavior on their behalf. Encouraging them to get professional, licensed treatment is important. Specialized health care professionals are there to provide the right treatment for individual’s struggling with substance abuse.

When an individual struggling with substance abuse receives the right support, professional treatment and tools, it is possible to overcome addiction and recover to be sober and a productive member of society.

References

Collins, G.R. (2007). Christian Counseling. Texas, USA: Thomas Nelson Publishing

Blog by: Sini Rantasuomela, Student of Psychology and Counseling

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