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How to help a loved one struggling with addiction

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Addiction affects millions of Britons every year. Whether they struggle with alcohol or drugs, gambling or sex, addiction has become a serious problem. If you suspect someone close to you might be addicted, it’s important to act now before things get worse.

In this article, we will help you ascertain if your loved one is indeed fighting addiction and what kind of help will be useful for them and for yourself during these testing times.

What Is an Addiction?

Addiction is a complex condition that requires professional treatment. While some people recover from addiction on their own, others require medical intervention. Learn more about addiction and its symptoms, and how to help a loved one who struggles with addiction.

There are many types of addictions, including substance abuse, compulsive shopping, overeating, and even pornography. Addiction can take over a person’s life and affect their relationships, career, and health. It’s not uncommon for addicts to lose friends and family members as a result of prioritising a substance or behaviour they are addicted to.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are four kinds of addictions:

Substance use disorders.

These include drug and alcohol abuse and dependence. Examples include alcoholism and opioid addiction. Substance abusers may also experience withdrawal when they stop using substances. The effects of withdrawal usually last no longer than three days.

Gambling disorder.

This includes excessive betting or gambling despite negative consequences. Gambling can damage finances and relationships. Loot boxes in games and gacha games, where gamers are indulging in paid packages with characters are also gambling-type behaviours that may cause dependence.

Compulsive sexual behaviours.

People who suffer from this are unable to control their urges and often use sex as an escape or release for themselves, or because they have been hurt in the past by someone who has used sex against them. They may be sexually attracted to children, animals, people of any age or gender. In extreme cases, it can lead to rape or other abuse. There are multiple sources of information coming from people who have personally experienced these conditions and their loved ones. Helping those who are suffering from compulsive sexual behaviour (CSB) is a confusing task, but we can help you find out how you can support them.

Best Practises for Speaking to Your Addicted Loved Ones

When you wish to help your loved one, the first thing you need to do is to try and put yourself in their shoes. Why did they turn to drugs, alcohol or gambling? Usually, addiction is a coping mechanism. By helping them solve the original underlying cause, or to find help for it via a professional service, you may be saving their life. 

The following steps should guide you through the process:

1. Understand the signs of addiction.

2. Know the difference between recovery and relapse.

3. Find out if your loved one needs immediate medical attention.

4. If yes, seek emergency care.

5. If no, talk to your loved one about whether they want to get treatment.

6. If yes, then arrange for treatment.

7. If no, encourage them to seek help.

8. If yes, then help them find a suitable rehab centre.

9. Once they arrive at the facility, they will be in safe hands. However, you should arrange with the admissions team to keep you informed about any changes in your loved one’s behaviour, attitude or health. 

Finding Help Online

One way to find reliable assistance without spending hundreds for formal consultations is by reading the free addiction resources & guides offered online.

How to search for some helpful places that offer guidance to anyone seeking help with addiction problems? 

Look for organisations that offer up-to-date news and information on behavioural health issues. They may also provide access to evidence-based practices and research-informed care.

Websites which provide information on drug and alcohol dependency, recovery advocacy, and self-help groups for recovering individuals and their families are also an immeasurable help when it comes to those first few weeks after discovering that your loved one has fallen ill with an addiction.

Support groups and fellowship meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon) and their websites help men and women to find like-minded people with similar experiences, unite them and help them find experience-based advice. They usually offer meetings for families and loved ones, too. AdFam specialise in providing family-oriented advice and organising meetings for the relatives of those battling addiction. Addiction does not only affect the one who is physically or mentally addicted to a substance or behaviour; it also affects their closest people – spouses, children, parents and friends.