Has someone you love been struggling with opioid addiction?
If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that there are over 2 million people in the United States who struggle with substance use disorders related to opioids, and the numbers are only increasing. The good news is that there are ways you can help them fight back against addiction.
We’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to help someone with opioid addiction—from what you should know about the disease and its treatment to what types of support groups exist for your loved one to how you can help them find treatment options that will be effective for their specific needs.
If you need more information about any aspect of opioid addiction and how it affects your life or someone else’s, feel free to reach out!
1) Don’t Blame the Addict
The most important thing you can do to help someone with opioid addiction is to let them know you love them. That’s it. No matter what they’ve done or how much you’re hurting because of their choices, they need to know that they are loved.
You may be feeling hurt, angry, or scared that your loved one has chosen this path. But remember that this is not about YOU—it’s about THEM. They need your support and understanding.
If you have a family member who’s struggling with opioid addiction, try to avoid any blame or judgmental language when talking about the situation to other people. This will help prevent others from having negative opinions of your family member as well—and it will help keep your loved one from feeling ashamed of themselves and withdrawing further into their addiction.
2) Help Them Make Changes in Their Lifestyle
Opioid addiction often occurs when someone is dealing with chronic pain, so if your loved one is taking opioids for pain management, it can be helpful to find alternative methods for managing their pain. If they aren’t using opioids for pain management and are instead using them recreationally or for self-medication purposes, then it’s probably time to start thinking about how you can help them make some changes in their lifestyle.
One thing that you can do when helping someone with opioid addiction is to encourage them to seek out treatment programs. There are many different types of treatment programs available these days, including residential treatment centers (RTCs), outpatient treatment centers (OTCs), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), and sober living facilities (SLFs). These programs all offer different levels of care and services depending on the needs of the individual receiving treatment services.
Make sure that your loved one knows that there are resources available when they need them most!
3) Talk to Your Loved One About Treatment Options
Talking to your loved one about treatment options can be a tough conversation. You may be worried that you’ll be upsetting them, or that it won’t make a difference. But the truth is, talking to someone about their addiction and helping them get the help they need is one of the most important things you can do for them—and for yourself.
Talk to your loved one about treatment options in a calm, non-judgmental way. Let them know that you’re concerned about their safety and well-being but also that you want to help them get into treatment in order to feel better again. If your loved one is hesitant to get help, remind them of all the reasons why getting clean matters: it might mean staying safe from accidents or other dangers related to using; it could mean having more energy for work or school; and it could mean being able to spend more time with friends and family members instead of feeling sick all day long!
When talking about opioid addiction treatments with someone who is struggling with substance use disorder, remember: there are many different approaches out there, so take some time reading up on different options before deciding which one would be best suited for your loved one’s unique situation (and personality).
4) Support Your Loved One During Treatment
During treatment and recovery, it’s important to provide your loved one with support and encouragement. This may mean that you have to learn how to communicate with them in a new way. It might mean that you need to learn more about the disease of addiction so that you can better understand what they’re going through.
But no matter what it is, if you want to help someone with an opioid addiction, it’s important that you’re there for them during their recovery process. You can’t just give up on them when things get hard—you need to be there for them even on those days when they don’t want your help or your love.
5) Stay Involved After Treatment Ends
If you’re helping someone who is recovering from opioid addiction, one of the most important things you can do is stay involved after treatment ends. You don’t have to be a medical professional or counselor to be there for your loved one. In fact, sometimes it’s better if you aren’t! If you’re too involved in their recovery, they may feel like they can’t make decisions without consulting with you first. That’s not what they need at this stage—they need to learn how to make decisions on their own and trust themselves as they do so.
Instead of giving advice or telling them what they should do next, focus on asking open-ended questions and listening closely. You might ask questions like: “What was it like when you went through detox?” or “What did it feel like when you were craving drugs again?” or “What did you learn about yourself during those times?” These are all great ways of opening up a conversation that allows both parties to share experiences and feelings together and build trust as time goes on.
6) Be Patient and Don’t Give Up
Opioid addiction is a tricky thing to deal with, and it can be hard to help someone who is struggling with the disease. But it’s important to remember that the person you’re helping isn’t just your friend—they’re also human beings. And when we’re at our lowest point, we need our friends the most.
The best way to help someone with opioid addiction is to be patient with them and give them time to get better. It’s easy for us to forget that they’re going through an incredibly difficult time, but they need our support just as much as anyone else would in their situation.
When it comes to helping someone with opioid addiction, it’s important to remember that it takes time and patience. You may feel overwhelmed or discouraged at times, but try to keep in mind that you’re helping your loved one, and that’s all that matters. Take the time to learn more about the disease, find support groups, and talk to your loved one about treatment options. Show them you care and if you’d like more information, check out our blog about the top 5 ways to prevent an opioid overdose.
If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction or substance abuse, please contact us today. We are here to help you along the way, and throughout your road to recovery.