Alcohol and drugs used for recreational purposes are often highly addictive. While some people may be able to use these substances without developing an addiction, others may find themselves unable to control their use over time.
As a result, addiction takes control over their life. Most people either do not realize they have become addicted to a substance or are in denial of their problem. Loved ones should seek professional support for themselves as well as guidance on how to get someone into rehab.
What is Addiction?
The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines a substance use disorder (SUD) as a mental disorder that affects a person’s brain and behavior. This leads to a person’s inability to control their use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications. Symptoms can range from moderate to severe, with addiction being the most severe form of SUDs.
Addiction is a serious medical condition that can have devastating effects on both individuals and families alike. The 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that among people aged 12 or older, 57.8% (or 161.8 million people) used tobacco, alcohol, or an illicit drug in the past month (also defined as “current use”). Addiction is characterized by compulsive substance use and behaviors, despite negative consequences.
How Do Drugs and Alcohol Affect the Brain?
Drugs and alcohol have a major impact on the brain, both short-term and long-term. When people consume drugs or alcohol, the brain releases large amounts of dopamine. This chemical is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for creating feelings of pleasure and reward. The surge in dopamine can lead to intense feelings of euphoria. However, it also affects the brain’s ability to function properly.
In the short term, drugs and alcohol can impact decision-making and behavior. They interfere with memory and coordination, cause blackouts, and increase risk-taking behaviors. Over time, these effects can lead to addiction where an individual is unable to control their use of the substance.
Long-term use of drugs and alcohol can also cause physical changes in the brain, including damage to areas that control stress, emotion, and decision-making. As a result, this can lead to increased aggression, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Additionally, using drugs or alcohol increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer, stroke, and other physical health problems.
Finally, drugs and alcohol disrupt hormones such as serotonin which regulates moods. Thus, making it difficult for people to naturally feel good or enjoy things without taking the substance again.
Consequently, leading them into deeper cycles of addiction. All of these factors make it clear why it’s crucial to understand how drugs and alcohol affect our brains. Once we understand this, we can take measures against their misuse before it gets out of control.
When Does Someone Need Help With Addiction?
Addiction help is needed when an individual’s substance use has become compulsive and out of their control. As a result, negative consequences are happening in various aspects of their life.
When it comes to seeking assistance for addiction or substance abuse, taking the first step can be difficult. Unfortunately, many individuals only look for help after their habit has already caused severe legal, physical, and personal difficulties in their lives.
Signs someone may need addiction help include:
- A loss of control over how much or how often the drug or alcohol is consumed
- A persistent desire to use despite negative consequences
- An inability to stop using without help from outside sources such as a doctor or therapist
- Withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not present
If these signs are present, it is essential to seek professional assistance immediately. With proper and timely treatment, individuals struggling with addiction can recover.
During rehab, someone can develop healthy coping mechanisms while also addressing any underlying psychological issues that may have contributed to their substance misuse.
How to Help Someone Struggling With Addiction
The first step to helping a friend or loved one struggling with alcohol or drug addiction is to reach out and provide support. This can be done by setting up a safe space for the individual to talk about their situation. Additionally, listening without judgment, offering resources or contacts for addiction services when appropriate, and helping them get professional help if necessary can also help.
Ultimately, understanding how drugs and alcohol affect our brains is essential so that we can take measures against their misuse and provide the necessary help to those in need. With proper support, individuals struggling with addiction can recover and lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Learn More About Addiction and Recovery
Learn more about substance use disorder, interventions, detox, treatment options, and recovery programs. Also, seek professional help for advice on how to get someone into rehab so they can receive effective treatment. While it may be difficult to fully understand what they are going through, learning more about addiction and recovery is essential to offering meaningful support.
Caring for someone struggling with addiction can be challenging. There is usually a lot of fear, worry, frustration, and anger. Now is not the time to guilt or lecture a friend or loved one. It may feel like a lost cause, especially if there have been several relapses. However, it is important not to lose hope and to continue to believe they are worthy and capable of transformation.
Addiction is a family disease and it takes the work of everyone to heal broken relationships that have been impacted by someone’s substance use disorder. It can be difficult for those closest to an individual battling with drug or alcohol addiction, as they bring added stress into their lives.
Over time, this can take a toll on their mental health, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and powerless in helping their relative or friend get back on track. To support healing within the family unit, individual therapy as well as family programming are necessary for a more successful recovery.
Active addiction can rapidly exhaust an individual’s finances, triggering legal consequences and putting them in hazardous situations. Family and friends often try to save their loved ones from these repercussions.
Unfortunately, this behavior usually allows for addiction to worsen even more. Individuals in early recovery need love and assistance. Even though this is positive for them, it’s essential to ensure that friends and family are only offering emotional and material support for their recovery journey.
Addiction is a severe, life-long illness that has an effect not only on the person suffering from it but also on their family and friends. In many cases, loved ones neglect to take care of themselves. Therefore, they must take care of their own physical, psychological and emotional needs before they can properly support someone through the rehabilitation process. Additionally, there are numerous help groups available to provide assistance and guidance during this difficult journey.
Have Realistic Expectations
Recovery is an ongoing experience. Although two out of three people may relapse within their first year of recovery from an addiction, the likelihood lessens as sobriety continues. It is critical to remember that those in recovery should not view relapses as personal failures. Rather, relapse indicates that treatment needs to be shifted in order to achieve long-term success.
So, no matter how often a loved one falls back into addiction, keep encouraging them in their recovery journey. Millions of people have gone through this same experience and are now living joyful lives that they can be proud of. Having continued support will go a long way toward helping them reach stability and wellness.
Set Firm Boundaries
People in active addiction can be very manipulative, untrustworthy, and hurtful. It may seem they do not realize or even care how their behavior is harming others. Thus, it is necessary for loved ones to set loving but firm boundaries. In cases where theft or aggression occurs, they may need to offer love and encouragement from a distance.
Things Not to Do
- Ignore the problem
- Give ultimatums or threats
- Approach them about their substance use while they are under the influence
- Shame them
- Blame them or yourself
- Fail to enforce boundaries
- Cover for them
When to Seek Emergency Help
Following an emergency is a good time to approach someone about entering rehab. Recovery should begin as soon as possible. This is especially true with illicit substances that frequently lead to overdoses such as heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids, as well as polysubstance use.
If someone is experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, emergency medical care is recommended. When an overdose is suspected, emergency medical care is required immediately.
Overdose symptoms include:
- Severe difficulty breathing, shallow breathing, or complete cessation of breath
- Gurgling sounds that indicate the person’s airway is blocked
- Blue lips or fingers
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abnormally high body temperature
- Violent or aggressive behavior
- Disorientation or confusion
- Convulsions or tremors
In addition to withdrawal and overdose, addiction often leads to other emergency situations. For example, serious injuries and accidents occur frequently while someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also, substance use disorders often co-occur with mental health disorders which can lead to a mental health crisis that requires emergency treatment.
Other times to seek emergency help include:
- Infections from using or sharing dirty needles
- Boils and abscesses
- Dangerous drug interactions
- Collapsed veins
- The person is a danger to themselves or others
Getting A Loved One Into Rehab
It can be difficult to know how to get someone into rehab. Loved ones may feel like they’re not doing enough or that they’re pushing them too hard. But getting help for addiction is one of the most important things people can do for someone they care about. It’s important to remember to provide support and understanding. By contrast, a confrontational approach may make them more defensive or shut down further communication.
Starting the conversation is the first step. When initiating this conversation, pick an appropriate time and place where both parties feel safe and comfortable. This creates a more useful setting for open discussion resulting in better outcomes when suggesting rehab as a treatment option.
Let them know they have someone who cares. Express to them how much they are loved and valued. Most of all, offer support during their recovery journey. Sometimes, it is helpful to confront them with a therapist or a trained intervention specialist.
How to Stage an Intervention
The complexity of addiction can have devastating effects on an individual’s life. Often, those who suffer from it are not aware of the damage their substance use has caused to their loved ones. They may even be unaware that they have developed an addiction. When it is hard to comprehend why someone continues struggling with addiction, enlisting an intervention specialist can be a smart move.
Our Ocean Hills Recovery intervention services for drug and alcohol addiction are designed to help break the cycle of addiction. Family and friends expressing the truth about the impact of a loved one’s substance use can be difficult but is an act of loving-kindness. However, If not done sensitively and appropriately, they may reject any offer to help them come back from addiction.
A professional drug and alcohol interventionist provides a safe space for loved ones to openly discuss the effects of addiction with an addicted individual. During these conversations, each person openly expresses their emotions and describes how the substance use has affected them. Ultimately, this dialogue ends with offering assistance and creating a plan leading toward recovery for the struggling person.
What to Look for in a Rehab
When beginning the process of how to get someone into rehab, it is essential to consider all resources available. Moreover, knowing how and where to look when choosing addiction treatment options is essential in order to ensure that the proper level of care will be provided by accredited professionals.
Determining if residential or partial hospitalization (PHP) is best suited, and exploring what evidence-based treatments are available, can seem overwhelming when selecting the right rehab. Ocean Hills Recovery can help people find the best treatment options for their loved ones.
Our experienced clinical staff combines the proven theories of the twelve steps with evidence-based treatments to create the most effective personalized treatment experience available. We know how to get people into rehab, and we have the resources to support them through the entire process.
Discover Effective Treatment Options for Your Loved One
It can be hard to know how to get someone into rehab. At Ocean Hills Recovery in Orange County, California, we can help you find the best treatment options for your loved one. As well, our compassionate staff will answer any questions you may have.
You’re not alone. We can help. Contact us today.