Devastating millions of lives of people across the United States, addiction is the most severe relapsing form of substance use disorders. The changed behavioral symptoms generally associated with addiction can result in overdose, physical and mental health issues, and more life-threatening conditions. In addition to harming the person suffering from addiction in long-lasting ways, substance misuse and abuse can also affect their loved ones.
But there is a stigma surrounding addiction that sometimes keeps people from seeking treatment. Worth does not factor into the need for medical care; getting help does not lower worth and is not something to be ashamed or afraid of. If you know or suspect that your loved one is misusing drugs and suffering from addiction, now is the time to assess treatment options and seek help.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is a chronic mental illness that is characterized by continual misuse and abuse of substances, impacting the brain in long-term damaging ways. People who suffer from addiction go through significant changes in areas of the brain that control learning, memory, decision-making, judgment, and behavior. Substance misuse, or abuse, happens through growing dependency and continued use of drugs or alcohol. People may misuse drugs as a way to temporarily relieve stress, pain, and mental illness.
Behavioral changes related to addiction include social impairment, compulsivity in drug-seeking, excessive, continued and risky use, lack of control, and increased tolerance, as well as withdrawal symptoms. If you recognize these symptoms, your loved one may be struggling with addiction.
The Stigma Surrounding Addiction
The stigma associated with addiction comes from the behavioral symptoms of substance use disorder. The characteristic of impaired judgment and decreased decision-making skills may lead to legal, relationship, and work problems, which can cause shame and guilt to overwhelm the person who is suffering from addiction. These problems have created a widespread, stigmatized perspective and attitude toward those who struggle with addiction among the public. This further increases and continues the personal shame and isolation that they feel.
Today, the stigma surrounding addiction is a huge barrier to prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts for the individual and their family. This is a primary obstacle that also exists at community and societal levels. But these stigmatized symptoms are treatable when addressed, evaluated, and treated during the recovery process. So, if you have a loved one who may be struggling with addiction, encourage them with this. Do not let public stigma be a barrier to their recovery!
Worth is not a contributing factor to their ability and right to get medical attention. All concerns are valid, no matter how serious their health situation is. Concerns should be evaluated for the sake of possible early detection and prevention of underlying conditions. Early detection and help for addiction and another accompanying, underlying health conditions that your loved one may be struggling with can make a difference in their life.
If you think that a loved one may be suffering from drug and/or alcohol abuse and addiction, there are several things that you can do to help them before suggesting treatment.
How Can You Get Help?
Keep in mind that this is a delicate, vulnerable process for your loved one. Understand your own needs and the situation to make sure that you can approach them from a sensitive and empathetic perspective. Educate yourself on the struggles and the consequences of addiction to better understand where they are coming from and have productive open conversations. You must also understand that they probably will not be willing to admit that they are experiencing problems and that they need and want help. Encourage them in these moments of vulnerability, and be there for them.
When you begin to identify evidence of addiction, it is crucial to stop all enabling behavior, such as giving your loved one money. Do not glide over their problems because they need to start being held accountable for their actions. Appeal to their sense of reason without judgment by stating facts, such as missed days of work.
Remind your loved one that it is important to take care of themselves. No matter what they think of themselves, their life is worth caring for. Remind them that addiction does not make them a bad person. Addiction can happen to anyone, and they do not have control over it. Encourage them to seek treatment.
Who Can Get Medical Attention?
Professional, medical help that is healthy, productive, and effective is available to anyone, no matter age, gender, or ethnicity. Health care professionals, such as doctors, are required by law to see all their patients,. If their patients have life-threatening or serious issues, they are required to treat them.
Seeking medical attention at a local health facility, such as a treatment center, can give your loved one the level of care that they need. This can include proper consultation, assessment or diagnosis, and prescribed medications that will be helpful in relieving whatever they are experiencing, physically or mentally. Medical care is significant in its main function of restoring or maintaining health, helping the patient to cope with accompanying symptoms and generating satisfaction and comfort. If you suspect that your loved one needs medical attention, it is important to begin seeking help as soon as possible.
When Should You Seek Help?
Addiction can happen to anyone, and anyone is capable of pursuing and receiving medical attention without having to prove their worth. Consequences can be life-threatening if they are left untreated. If you think that your loved one may be abusing substances and struggling with addiction, now is the time to seek help. It is never too late, and it is never too early.
Sobriety and recovery are attainable with treatment. There is a large variety of treatment options and high level of care available at the Arizona Addiction Recovery Center, and the team of health professionals at this center is dedicated to meeting every need of every patient under their unparalleled care. The challenges and successes of the journey to recovery are worth it, and every life is worth the journey.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888.512.1705.