Some people are able to use recreational or prescription drugs without becoming addicted. For many others, the use of these drugs leads to addiction and problems at home, in relationships, and at work.
People experiment with drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, because of peer pressure, or to ease another problem. The Help Guide on Drug Abuse and Addiction says that use doesn’t automatically lead to abuse, and there is no specific level at which drug use moves from casual to problematic. It varies by individual.
Drug abuse and addiction has more to do with the consequences of drug use and less about the amount of substance consumed or the frequency. No matter how often or how little your loved one is consuming, if their drug use is causing problems in their life, they likely have a drug problem.
It’s important that you don’t just write off this behavior, thinking that they will overcome it on their own. Many times, they can’t. Repeated drug use changes the brain, including parts of the brain that give a person self-control. These changes explain why quitting is so difficult, even when an addicted person feels ready.
Before you talk to your loved one about treatment options, it’s important for you to educate yourself about substance abuse. Unless you’ve struggled with substance abuse yourself, you don’t know what they are going through. The best thing you can do for them is to research substance abuse so that you can help them through it. Talking to a counselor who can help you plan a strategy can make the process less frightening.
When you approach your loved one about their drug problem, DrugAbuse.com advises that you don’t confront them in a way that will cause an argument. It’s common that drug abusers get angry easily, so you need to approach the situation with care.
Many people enter treatment because they are compelled to by family, friends, or a court system. However, there is no evidence that confrontational interventions like those seen on television programs are effective. More likely, those confrontational encounters escalate into violence or backfire in other ways.
Instead, focus on creating incentives to get your loved one to a doctor. Often, people will listen to professionals rather than friends and family members.
Approaching your loved one about getting help can be scary because you don’t know how they will react. However, your efforts might be the first step in changing your loved one’s life for the better. While you can’t control whether or not they will accept help, it’s better to try and fail than never try and live to regret it.