If you are worried about a loved one’s opioid use, you are probably wondering how you can help. It is often challenging to speak to people struggling with addiction because they may not be ready to admit they have a problem. You can do things to help, such as supporting them in finding an opioid rehab center and accepting that they need opioid addiction treatment to get well.
CeDAR’s opioid rehab center in Denver, CO, offers evidence-based treatments for opioid use disorders (OUDs). Whether your friend or family member is struggling with addiction related to an opiate or an opioid, the safest and most promising approach to starting recovery is opioid addiction treatment. If you want more information about how to help someone with opioid addiction, including how to start the conversation, reach out to us at CeDAR. We can help. Use our online form to connect or dial 720.848.3000.
Signs of Opioid Addiction
Suppose you are worried about someone. You suspect their opioid experimentation has developed into dependence and addiction. How can you be sure that you need to worry? Consider that any non-prescription use of an opioid is abuse. If you know someone purchasing opioids on the street or taking prescription opioids not as instructed or prescribed to someone else, there is already a problem worthy of your concern.
In addition, several red flags indicate that someone has an OUD. These red flags include:
- Extreme physical and psychological cravings between doses
- Rapid onset of withdrawal symptoms when the opioid is unavailable or withheld
- A decline in self-care, including nutrition, hydration, and hygiene
- Rapid weight loss
- Sleep disturbances—either excessive sleepiness or insomnia
- Low energy and sex drive
- Feeling sick with flu-like symptoms
- Poor ability to concentrate, meet commitments, or follow through on plans or promises
- Increasing isolation and distancing from regular support networks
- Financial problems, including loss of job or home
- Desperate acts such as lying, cheating, or stealing to acquire opioids
Do you feel you have lost someone though they are still in front of you? This kind of drastic shift in personality is common among those struggling with addiction, but it does not have to be permanent. With help, recovery is possible. Your loved one can return to their old self, sober and healthy.
How to Help Someone with Opioid Addiction
How do you help your loved one with their addiction? There is no quick solution to the fact that addiction comes with strong impulses towards denial and that there are no guarantees that your efforts will be successful. Seeking help requires admitting there is a problem. However, there are things that you can do to support your loved one with your sights set on the goal of recovery.
Educate Yourself as Much as Possible
Get information about the addiction process and how it affects your loved one and their family and friends. You can do self-education on your own before having any conversations or making plans to intervene. Knowledge is power.
Find Support for Yourself
You also need support if you are worried about a loved one’s addiction. You will be more present and helpful to your friend or family member if you have your own resources. Consider attending Nar-Anon meetings or seeking professional therapy.
Learn About Enabling and Don’t Do It
One of the hardest things for the people who love someone with OUD is to recognize how they support or allow the addiction without knowing it. It is painful to watch someone you love suffer, but they must experience the natural consequences of their addiction. It will take them much longer to acknowledge they have a problem if they don’t. Not enabling means you don’t bail them out financially and don’t lie to others to protect them when they are dealing with the consequences of their addiction.
Manage Your Expectations
Set realistic goals for yourself and the process you are undertaking. By being transparent and truthful, avoiding lectures or showing signs of pity or anger, and holding your loved one accountable, you can move the needle on their ability to hear what you are saying and face hard truths. This process will take time.
When your loved one is living the truth of their addiction and feeling its consequences while at the same time realizing that your presence is steady, loving, and honest, they are more likely to be open to hearing what you have to say.
Consider Professional Help for Opioid Addiction with CeDAR
Reach out to CeDAR for resources and guidance about how to help someone with opioid addiction. At CeDAR, our staff is ready to talk to you and answer your questions, and when the time comes, speak with your loved one about opioid addiction treatment options. For now, get the answers you need by calling 720.848.3000 or using our online form below.