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January 24, 2024

Strategies for Getting a Family Help with Opioids

When a family member is suffering, it is instinctive to want to help. You may hate that your loved one is battling a condition like addiction. What makes the situation even more challenging to deal with is not knowing what you can do for your loved one. Addiction to opioids is very commonly crippling, and it may seem impossible to you to find a way to help. What should you do? There are several things you can do to help your loved one get the assistance they need to obtain sobriety.

The first thing you need to do is to realize there are limitations. Addiction to opioids is a very real health condition. You should view it as a disease like any other. Your family member is not likely to be able to simply stop using these substances on their own, even if they want to do so. For this reason, it is important to encourage them to get professional help and treatment. At Inner Voyage Recovery Center in Atlanta, GA, the help they need is available.

Education Is a Powerful Tool for Both of You

One of the strategies you can use to help get your family member into treatment is education. That is, help them to understand what is happening and why. This is also a great time for you to understand their disease more. Start with knowing what the drug is. The following is a list of opioids. Although this list is not fully inclusive, it can give you an idea of how extensive this type of drug is.

  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Heroin
  • Tramadol
  • Opium
  • Levorphanol
  • Tapentadol
  • Naloxone

It is vital to learn about how opioids like these change the way the brain works. Over time, any of these drugs can create dependence. This happens when the brain becomes dependent on the substance, and when a person stops taking it, they feel intense withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, once dependence forms, it can be nearly impossible for someone to stop using the substance on their own. That increases the need for professional treatment. Make sure your family member knows that this is not their fault but rather a change in the chemistry within the brain.

Understand the Impact of the Drug When Used

Many people with opioid addiction develop it after they take the medication for pain management. It may not seem like a problem to them because it alleviates pain. Yet, opioids’ ability to form addictions and dependence makes it highly dangerous to those who have used them for a long period of time. Also important is that tolerance can build. That means that, over time, the amount of opioids needed increases.

This also increases the risk of overdose. Opioid overdose, including heroin overdose, can occur as a person takes more of the substance to meet the demands of the brain. A person who is using opioids for pain management may find it simply is not effective any longer. They move on to other drugs, such as fentanyl, one of the most powerful of all opioids, or heroin, which is an illicit form that may be easier to obtain in some areas. This increases the risk of opioid overdose, including fatal heroin overdoses. Even if they believe they can control how much they use, many drugs purchased illegally are laced with fentanyl or heroin. Since these drugs carry a much higher risk of causing addiction and dependence, they are often added to other drugs to encourage people to come back for additional use.

Opioids’ Impact on Life

Explaining the science and the risks of opioids is a good start to help your family member. Yet, often, they need more help, guidance, and support. Often, that means showing them how addiction impacts their lives and your own. Here are a few examples of how to do so.

How Long Do Opioids Stay In Your System?

Opioids can remain in a person’s system for months. That means if they are drug tested at their place of employment, opioids may show up even if they took them minimally. That could mean they lose their job. That can be financially devastating to a family.

How Is Their Continued Use Impacting You, Specifically?

Talk to your family member about what you are seeing in them and how it impacts you. For example, are you afraid to be around them when they are using substances? Are you struggling with your family member’s abuse when they are not using it? Are they no longer engaging in family events and responsibilities because of their addiction? These are all important things to point out. Show them how it is impacting life. Be very specific, using just facts.

Provide Your Family Member with a Solution

When talking to a spouse, child, or another person about their opioid use, they may not know what they can do to get help. It is never as simple as just no longer using. A person with addiction or dependence is unable to simply stop. They need guidance and help to do so. You can play a role in that.

Reach out to a treatment center in advance of talking to your family member. Ask about admissions, treatment plans, and care options. Be ready to provide this information to your loved one. Then, only make promises that you can keep. For example, if you plan to help them to stay sober, tell them that. Also, tell them that you cannot continue to provide them with financial support if they continue to use those substances. It is often critical to make it clear that there is help available and that you will be by their side if they get that help.

You may not be able to force someone into treatment. You can, however, provide them with all of the tools, knowledge, and support they need to make the decision to get help. Often, this is one of the most challenging decisions of a person’s life. They need you to provide them with the support to get to that point.

Reach Out for Professional Guidance

You do not have to go through this on your own. Instead, turn toInner Voyage Recovery Centerin Woodstock, GA,for hands-on support in helping your family member get the care they need. Call 470-523-4606 for help on what to do next to support your family member.

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Author

  • Emily Rowe, LMSW

    Emily Rowe is the Clinical Director at Inner Voyage Recovery Center. She is a Licensed Master of Social Work with 8 years of experience in clinical settings covering one on one sessions, family sessions, group sessions, crisis interventions and suicidal prevention. Recognized by leadership and colleagues as forward thinking, creative, empathetic, active listener and effective.

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