Friends are precious, so it’s important to look out for them if they’re having a hard time. It can be difficult to address substance abuse issues because some people will deny that they have a problem. These tips can help a friend who is dealing with this issue.
How to Identify a Substance Abuse Problem
First, it’s important to know what is the difference between substance use and substance abuse. Substance abuse is often denied by people. Knowing more about the substance and how it affects a person can be extremely helpful when you decide to have a conversation. For example, what is alcoholism? Whether it is alcohol or prescription medications, people usually increase their intake so gradually that they get used to it and don’t see a problem. When a person’s demeanor changes or their work or personal life suffers from the use of a substance, they probably have a problem.
Reduced work performance or strained relationships are also signs. It’s likely that if it’s a prescription drug and they’re taking it longer than recommended, they’re addicted.
What to Do to Help a Struggling Friend
Talking to your sober friend is the first step toward helping them. Addiction affects the brain. If their brain is not impaired by the substance, it is easier to explain the seriousness of their abuse to them. You should also be prepared with specific examples, such as noticeable changes in their behavior, relationships, or professional life.
Rather than criticizing them, empower them. Don’t speak down to them for what they’ve done. Let them know you’re concerned and that you believe they can turn their life around. Finally, you should have some addiction treatment resources to suggest to them, such as the National Drug Helpline and a treatment center. They will need your continued support through drug and alcohol detoxification and even inpatient or outpatient treatment.