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How to Talk to Your Loved One About Their Drug Abuse

woman and child on couch discuss how to talk about drug abuse

The first step towards helping a loved one with addiction recovery is understanding how addiction works. Addiction occurs when the brain becomes dependent on a substance for certain chemical processes. Most times, this is a dependence on dopamine, also known as the “pleasure chemical.” The brain is highly susceptible to dopamine and can easily develop a dependency, especially if someone struggles with a co-occurring disorder. Talking to a substance abuse treatment program can help you find the tools to discuss addiction with loved ones.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, call NuLife Behavioral Health today for the support you need. Our dual diagnosis substance abuse treatment programs provide family-friendly outpatient care for young adults and young professionals across Massachusetts. Whether you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or a co-occurring disorder, our programs can help. Call us now at 888.568.2057 to learn more about how to talk to your loved one about addiction treatment at NuLife Behavioral Health.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Addiction can have a profound effect on someone living with substance abuse and their family. Knowing how to help someone suffering from addiction isn’t always easy. Most habit-forming drugs release high levels of dopamine, creating a dopamine-reward effect. In short, the more of a substance someone abuses, the less natural dopamine the brain will make. This keeps a person’s brain craving more dopamine from various substances, leading to addiction. If someone is also living with a co-occurring disorder, addiction can happen more quickly with more intense symptoms. Whether someone is taking medication as prescribed or abusing drugs, their brain can become dependent on synthetic dopamine and neurotransmitters quickly. Signs of addiction include:

  • Physical signs: track marks, red eyes, damaged nasal passages
  • Manic behavior
  • Changes in social groups
  • Lack of interest in favorite activities
  • Self-isolation
  • Secretive behavior
  • Self-harm
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Panic Attacks
  • Acting intoxicated
  • Increased drinking
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Erratic behavior
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Changes in work or school performance

Both stimulants and depressants will change a person’s eating habits, sleep habits, mood, and daily behavior. Both can lead to irrational thoughts and reactionary behavior. While many people think substance abuse is obvious, most people maintain relatively normal lives and hide drug use well from family and friends.

How to Talk About Addiction

It may feel overwhelming to talk about someone’s addiction with them. Don’t worry. These feelings are common. Your loved one will feel just as overwhelmed and apprehensive. Take this opportunity to:

  • Discuss creating a drug-free home
  • Discuss addiction triggers
  • Provide encouragement through your own behavior
  • Attend family therapy together
  • Avoid judgmental language
  • Hold your loved one accountable

Discuss relapse prevention plans, family dynamics, and your loved one’s needs is crucial to recovery. Discussing your own needs and concern for your loved one’s safety and health is also vital for long-term sobriety.

Learn More About Substance Abuse Treatment Options in Massachusetts

Addiction is treatable and often affected by unprocessed trauma, a lack of mental health resources, mood disorders, and prolonged stress. If you need help talking to your loved one about their addiction, know you are not alone. At NuLife Behavioral Health, we know how hard it can be to help loved ones through every stage of recovery. Our family-focused programs can help loved ones reconnect and hold each other accountable through each stage of addiction treatment. With a range of outpatient treatment programs for mental health, depression, anxiety, and addiction, we have the program for you.

Call NuLife Behavioral Health Today to Get Started

If you’re ready to learn more about how our team can help you and your loved ones overcome addiction, call us now at 888.568.2057 to get started.