Opioid addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. Regardless of how strong a loved one is, the physical and cognitive effects of opioid addiction are difficult to overcome. When used outside of recommended doses, prescription opioids have the power to cloud judgment, alter decisions and change personality.
Fortunately, some of the best help in an opioid addiction situation is family support. Opioid addiction can be fatal, but helping an addict is easier the sooner you get involved.
How Family Can Help an Opioid Addict
Before you can assist a loved one, understand that opioid addiction is a nationwide epidemic. Opioids are extremely powerful and addictive drugs that make the body feel relaxed and free from chronic pain. No matter how a family member becomes addicted, remember that the recovery process takes time, and there are key concepts to remember when helping an addict.
1. Avoid Criticism and Enabling
Certain behaviors and attitudes can shatter the progress of an opioid addict. Helping an addict can be a stressful journey for an entire family, but shy away from judgment and hurtful words.
Opioid addictions bring loved ones out of their normal character. There is a chance you might become angry or hurt by an addict’s actions. However, negativity won’t help.
Try to avoid criticisms and stick to learning more about the recovery process. Additionally, be sure to avoid enabling — such as by making excuses for the person’s negative behavior or providing financial help. Establish necessary boundaries and stick to them.
2. Stage an Intervention If Necessary
In some cases, an addict won’t seek help on their own. If a family member is distancing themselves because of an opioid addiction, try staging an intervention.
Interventions are a chance for you to express your concern for an individual. Addicts do not always understand how they are harming others, so this relationship tactic creates healthy change. Staging an intervention can take on several different forms:
- Writing a letter
- Contacting an intervention specialist
- Making a phone call
- Showing up unexpectedly
- Making a support group for a family member
3. Establish a Reward System for Positive Behavior and Be Patient
While getting clean from opioid addiction is the ultimate goal, a person needs to have smaller goals set up along the way — otherwise, the process can seem daunting. Families can keep addicts on the recovery path by establishing a reward system.
You must hold an addict accountable for their actions if treatment is ignored. One way to do this, especially if your loved one is living with you during recovery, is to take away privileges for negative behavior and add or return privileges for positive behavior.
Recovery takes time, but seeing improvement in a loved one is worthwhile. Don’t expect results overnight and always remain patient. The amount of time recovery takes depends on the individual and the severity of the addiction.
Contact MedMark Treatment Centers for Opioid Addiction Services
If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction, MedMark Treatment Centers wants to help. We offer medication and counseling services to help those suffering from addiction create a better quality of life.