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How To Help Someone With A Drug Addiction

Dr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC

April 2, 2019

Roughly one in 10 Americans (12 or older) suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction every year in the United States. When someone has a drug addiction, it can be difficult to know how to help them, whether you are close to them personally or not.

It can be intimidating to try to address someone’s addiction and, at times, may seem easier to ignore it. However, the longer someone is in the throes of an active addiction cycle, the longer it will likely take them to recover. So it is never a good idea to let someone hit rock bottom before speaking up.

Things To Consider When Someone Has A Drug Addiction

One of the most important things to realize when helping someone with an addiction is that you cannot directly fix their problem. Addiction is a complex and chronic disease, and many people may not understand how or why someone else can become addicted to drugs.

Addiction, however, is not a lack of morals or willpower and once someone has used a drug enough times, it can be nearly impossible for them to choose to stop. Before confronting someone you suspect has a drug addiction, make sure you have fully identified the issue. This way, you can talk calmly and be knowledgeable about the subject when you finally approach the person about their problems.

Drug Addiction: Signs And Symptoms

Addiction is most commonly characterized by the drug-seeking behaviors which are compulsive, or difficult to control, despite the harmful consequences. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, repeated drug use can cause physical changes in the brain that may lead to this compulsory behavior.

Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect someone is struggling with a drug addiction:

  • continued use of a substance past its prescription
  • an increased dose of the substance to feel the same sort of effects
  • neglecting family or other obligations
  • rapidly shifting moods
  • changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • losing interest in old hobbies or pastimes

Where To Start When Someone With A Drug Addiction Asks For Help

When someone with a drug addiction stands up and asks for help, it takes a lot of courage. It is crucial that courage is acknowledged, and they know now that they are not alone in their fight to regain control over their lives from their addiction.

It is always advisable to incorporate a physician or other health professional into the individual’s recovery plan. Many individuals who struggle with addiction worry about what it will be like when their friends and family learn about their struggle.

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The best way to show your support is to emphasize that they have taken a vital first step and now they can make a plan to work through the rest of it. Many studies provide scientific evidence that drug addiction treatment works, and people recover every day.

How To Help Someone In Denial Of Their Addiction

It is common for people with drug addiction to enter treatment under the pressure of their family, friends, or a court system. However, it is important to note that there is no evidence that confrontational interventions are effective at convincing people to enroll in treatment.

Confrontation may make things worse and pit loved ones against each other. It is always best to start with compassion and understanding and then work up to tough love, if and when it is necessary.

Often, people struggling with addiction are more likely to listen to professionals and not their loved ones about the matter of their addiction, as these encounters tend to be charged with negative emotions like fear, or judgment.

Finding Inpatient Treatment For Someone With A Drug Addiction

The most effective treatment for drug addiction is tailored to address the individuals’ drug abuse patterns and other medical concerns such as mental and social problems. There are two primary forms of treatment inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment.

Both forms of treatment can be effective depending on the circumstances. Inpatient treatment is best fitted to individuals who are addicted to more than one substance, have a co-occurring mental health disorder or who have experienced a relapse.

To learn more about how to help someone with a drug addiction, contact an addiction specialist at today.

Prescription drug abuse can be challenging to address. Many people who abuse Adderall or other prescriptions are getting the drugs from their doctor, for treatment of a serious medical issue.

People who are prescribed Adderall may be struggling with symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. However, many people with Adderall prescriptions end up abusing the drug.

It can be overwhelming to realize someone you love may be dealing with Adderall addiction. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse and to share your concern with your loved one. You may also want to share the life-saving option of addiction treatment.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name for dextroamphetamine-amphetamine. This stimulant drug may also be prescribed as Adderall XR, which is an extended-release tablet that releases the drug’s effects over time.

Adderall abuse rates have skyrocketed in recent years. Many people abuse this medication on college campuses, believing it enhances focus and academic performance. Unfortunately, Adderall is also known to be highly addictive and can lead to serious health risks.

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What Are The Signs Of Adderall Addiction?

People who are addicted to Adderall may be abusing their own prescription, or buying the tablets off the street. When a person is suffering from Adderall abuse, they may take the prescription in larger or more frequent doses than directed. This can result in euphoria, or feeling “high.”

Another way to abuse Adderall is to change the method of use. Adderall tablets are meant to be taken orally. People struggling with Adderall abuse may crush and snort the tablet, to increase the drug’s stimulating effects (insufflation).

Intranasal use can cause a person to become addicted to Adderall even faster. Snorting Adderall causes the full dose to hit the brain all at once and can result in overdose.

If a person is snorting Adderall, they may seem extremely alert or jumpy. People abusing Adderall may also struggle with severe mood swings, or display a change in personality.

Additional signs that someone is on Adderall include:

  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • missing cash or valuables
  • twitching body parts
  • persistent runny nose
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • tic-like behaviors
  • grinding teeth
  • insomnia
  • change in appetite
  • verbal outbursts
  • weight loss

How To Approach Your Loved One About Adderall Addiction

If you are concerned that someone you love is abusing Adderall, there is help available. Treatment centers across the U.S. work with families who are affected by Adderall addiction.

Your loved one can benefit from hearing about these treatment options from you. As difficult as it may be, it’s important to approach the problem directly.

Many times, family members think they’re making a big deal out of nothing, or that the problem will go away in time. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. If something seems “off” about your loved one, trust your instinct.

Approach your friend or family member about their drug use, and let them know that treatment is available. This type of supportive confrontation is sometimes called an intervention.

Types Of Interventions

The goal of staging an intervention is to help your loved one get help at an addiction treatment center.

There are several types of interventions, and there is no one “right way” for everyone. Each situation is unique, and only you will know the best approach for your family member.

Friend And Family Interventions

In this situation, a group of friends or family members approach the person suffering from addiction. A member of the group may bring up concerns about the person’s drug use, and others in the room may share how this person’s drug use has personally impacted them.

While it’s important to have several people present at the intervention, try to avoid having more than one person talking at a time. The person suffering from Adderall addiction may express a defensive or angry attitude. Try not to take any negative responses personally.

Communicate your support as a group. Let the person know this support will continue if they enter treatment. Share any treatment options that are available.

Professional Interventions

Some families have struggled with interventions gone awry. Perhaps they tried to have a difficult talk with their loved one, and the conversation did not go well. For this reason, many people find it helpful to have a professional counselor present at the intervention.

Addiction counselors and intervention specialists bring families together, in order to address addiction issues and explore treatment options. These professional experts offer an objective and informed viewpoint, and can help keep the conversation solution-focused.

Adderall addiction can be a life and death situation. It’s vital for your loved one to know they have an opportunity to recover. Regardless of which intervention style seems right for you, let your loved one know that treatment is available and recovery is possible.

Treatment For Adderall Addiction

Rehab centers across the country offer addiction treatment for those struggling with Adderall abuse. Many treatment programs offer on-site detoxification programs, in order to help those who are Adderall-dependent get through the difficult withdrawal stage.

Once a person successfully detoxes, they are able to begin treatment. This may include individual, group, and family counseling. Many rehab centers offer faith-based treatment options, as well as 12-step support and relapse prevention.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that people who spend at least 90 days in treatment have better recovery outcomes. If you are concerned about treatment cost, many private and public insurance companies can help to make treatment more affordable.

How To Support Your Loved One During Treatment

If your loved one agrees to go to treatment, it can be tempting to believe that the problem has now been solved. While it is a relief to know your loved one is getting the help they need, it’s important to realize they will now need your support more than ever.

There are several ways to support your family member while they are in treatment. If their rehab center offers family counseling sessions, make a point to attend. Showing up for your loved one will mean more than you know, even if they aren’t able to show their appreciation.

If your loved one is attending an outpatient treatment program, they may need transportation to and from their therapy sessions. Discuss expectations up front, and let them know how and when you are able to help.

How To Support Your Loved One After Treatment

After treatment, your loved one will need continued support. If they are coming to live with you, consider keeping a drug- and alcohol-free home. This way, they are simply transitioning from one sober environment (the treatment program) into another sober environment.

Many families attend support groups, in order to learn how to best understand themselves in relation to their loved one’s addiction. Taking good physical and emotional care of yourself will enable you to be a healthier support system for your loved one.

Don’t underestimate the power of a positive support system. Many professionals say it is one of the biggest contributing factors, among those who find lasting recovery.

For more information on how to help someone addicted to Adderall, contact one of our treatment specialists today.

MedlinePlus - Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Prescription Stimulants

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)

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