Helping A Loved One Through Drug Cravings

We all want the best for the people we love. We would move mountains to see them be the happiest, most fulfilled, and healthiest version of themselves. But what do you do if the person you care about the most is fighting an addiction to a drug like opioids?

At this point in time, opioid addiction has taken our country by storm when even a single doctor’s prescription to the drug can easily spiral out of control. I don’t doubt your effort, I’m sure that you’ve been doing everything you can so far to take care of them and convince them to stop turning towards the drug for their health. Yet, it’s important to keep in mind that telling someone to suddenly stop cold-turkey with an intense drug is dangerous. Let’s go through what opioid withdrawal symptoms look like and how you can provide the best help possible to an addict in your life.

Cure drug addiction with intervention and support.
Drug addiction can be hard, especially opioid addiction.

Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

By now, you definitely know that your friend, family, or partner has not been acting like themselves if they are experiencing frequent drug cravings. When a person comes off the “high” that opioids bring, they will experience disheartening mental and physical issues that can last for several hours to even several days. Watch out for signs like high levels of anxiety, sweating, shaking, throwing up, smaller pupils than normal, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, or agitation overall. The person will be noticeably uncomfortable and nervous from how their body reacts to functioning without the drug in its system.

Across all people who are addicted to opioids, these symptoms can be either slightly manageable to completely debilitating. Obviously as someone who cares about the addict you don’t want them to repeat the cycle of getting a dose in to only experience terrifying withdrawal symptoms over and over again.

Talking To An Addict

As you notice that the addict in your life needs more help than ever to combat their drug cravings, what should you do first? It’s critical to not bombard them with criticism, questions, or other invasive behaviors at first. As worried and stressed out you are, you have to take into account how much more stressed, embarrassed, and anxious your loved one is. Despite their prolonged drug abuse, they might want to get help but are too afraid to talk to anyone about it. Addiction is still highly stigmatized in our society and sometimes people are scared that opening up will destroy their relationships with others.

In order to prevent them from feeling worse than they already do, approach them at a time when they’re not too busy and ask them open ended questions about how they’re doing. Mention that you noticed their changed attitude or behavior and are worried without pinning it to their addiction. You aren’t forcing them to go see a doctor or stop using the drugs, but you believe that they really need to improve their help. If there are certain events or responsibilities that they’re missing out on because of their addiction, bring up how it’s affecting those areas of their life as well.

From there, you can talk about going to a detox specialist together just to learn more about the root of their symptoms and possible ways to get healthier. It’s a big step for them to take, but if they’re willing to just go to one initial session, the ball can start rolling!

Detoxing From Drug Cravings

In order for detox to be successful, your loved one has to see a professional and gain insight to better understand their health. It’s important to note that detox is not necessarily always the same as an addiction treatment program, but it’s usually the first step to preparing the body to getting treatment long term. It’s much easier to start a detox program for an addict after being educated about the reasons why their opioid withdrawal symptoms are so painful, why their addiction developed, and how former addicts can become sober. After gaining that knowledge, they can work with a detox expert along with having support from you to wean off their drug use.

Since detox from opiates usually takes a full five to seven days, it’s impossible to completely treat the person’s base issues of anxiety, depression, or other challenges that addiction brought on within that short time frame. However, making the choice to stay in the detox program until the end will help the person get rid of the drug in their system completely. The process will be much more controlled and monitored than if they tried to do it by themselves without a medical environment. What also helps at this time is to seek a drug detox support group, either online or in person. This way, they can talk to other people going through similar experiences without solely relying on you for their social support.

Moving Forward

Getting help and eventually treatment for your loved one isn’t entirely impossible if they reach out. As their close friend, partner, or family member you can help encourage them to seek a professional and climb out of their shell to the best of your ability. While it’s not your responsibility to get them fully healthy again, just being there for them to listen to their struggles is more than enough.

It takes months of consistency, patience and everyday work to help your loved one find sobriety. Continue being their rock as always, and never give up on the process. You will never know how even the smallest words of positivity or acts of kindness means to someone who is going through a dark stage of their life.











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