How to Help a Drug Addict Get Sober

How to Help a Drug Addict Get Sober

Addiction slowly but surely turns you into a shell of your former self. Rearranging priorities to serve just one goal in the end: getting more drugs.

It’s a harrowing decline that only fully reveals itself to the user with the benefit of hindsight, but getting ahead of addiction is no easy feat for many.

What makes this worse for you – the parents, brothers, sisters, family and friends – is the helplessness you feel as you watch substance abuse take over. Whatever power you thought you had to influence behavior in the past, completely overshadowed by the drugs.

So, the question becomes, how to help a drug addict?

How do you get your loved one back?

Signs Your Loved One Is a Drug Addict

The first thing you need is knowledge. Knowledge of the signs and symptoms of addiction. Because knowing and naming what you’re looking at is the only way to adequately find a solution for it.

Addiction manifests itself in several ways and there are subtle – and not so subtle – differences depending on the drug of choice. Nonetheless, some general warning signs of addiction can show up no matter the substance.

These include:

  • An inability to stop despite wanting to
  • Taking ever-increasing amounts of the drug due to a built-up tolerance
  • Continuing to use despite clear negative consequences, both physically and mentally
  • Changing friend groups often and hanging out with more “questionable” people
  • Losing interest in things, hobbies, people that brought them joy previously
  • Difficulties at work or school, declining performance and growing disinterest
  • Increased need for privacy and being alone – isolation and secrecy
  • Borrowing and spending more money than usual
  • General financial issues
  • Engaging in increasingly risky behaviors, i.e., driving while under the influence
  • Preoccupation with substances and spending more and more time getting, using and recovering from drugs
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using 
  • Denial that they have an issue at all
  • Changes in mood, mood swings and irritability
  • Shift in eating habits, eating more or eating less depending on the substance being used
  • Drastic change in sleep habits and/or insomnia
  • Disregard for personal appearance, i.e., not showering, washing/changing clothes, brushing teeth, combing hair, etc.
  • Strained relationships with family and friends

As you can see, drugs can affect every part of life. The far-reaching tentacles wrap around whatever is in front of them, suffocating it.

Now that you have some direction in terms of identifying an addiction, what’s the next step?

How to Help a Drug Addict Get Sober

Getting them into treatment is often what gives someone the best shot at getting sober. The difficulty is of course in getting them to understand they need help. Whether by intervention or by them reaching the conclusion themselves with your help, it can be done.

The reason rehab works so well is that it’s concentrated and dedicated care administered by addiction experts. People who have seen it before and are trained and licensed to help your loved one get through it.

Each program is catered to the individual’s needs, fully customized to suit what would work best for them. Depending on the severity of the addiction that may be inpatient care, where they live at a rehab center, or outpatient treatment where they can come just for their sessions.

The hallmark of both is the time spent in individual and group therapy to truly work through and understand the root causes of how your loved one came to be addicted in the first place. From there we work on developing healthy and sustainable coping mechanisms and shifting thought patterns to prevent relapse and future issues.

If your loved one is struggling with addiction and you aren’t sure where to turn to, reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center. We’d be happy to listen and offer any insights or advice on what to do next.

Tips for Maintaining Long Term Sobriety

tips for maintaining sobriety

Sobriety isn’t static. It’s not that famous “set it and forget it” infomercial slogan.

It requires a plan, dedication and some real follow through.

It’s something that constantly needs to be tended to and worked towards. In fact, in many ways you can think of sobriety like gardening. Getting seeds to grow into strong plants and beautiful flowers takes time, energy and attention. They take nurturing. The seeds of sobriety that are planted in rehab require the same. 

Why Is Sobriety A Lifelong Journey?

Detox and treatment are really just the very first steps in what will become your lifelong journey. Now, the connotation of “lifelong journey” might feel weighty and heavy, as if it’s something hard to slog through.

That doesn’t have to be the case and to be frank, it shouldn’t be the case.

The idea and aim of rehab is not solely to get you clean and sober, it’s to set you up with the tools you need that will allow you to comfortably travel the path of recovery for the long run. It’s kind of the planning phase, a way to lay the groundwork and build the foundation on which you can confidently tackle life’s obstacles without reliance on substances. Continuing to water those seeds is what the journey of recovery ends up being about.

Tips for Maintaining Sobriety

Maintaining sobriety is predicated on being proactive rather reactive, what that looks like in practice, is some of the following:

Aftercare – First and foremost, you should seriously consider aftercare options offered by your treatment center. If aftercare isn’t an option directly through them, there are plenty of other helpful choices. Support groups are a fantastic way to go and come in many different flavors with the classics like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous being well known to just about everyone. Not only do they provide much needed support and guidance but they have built in accountability and, perhaps most importantly, present opportunities to create sober minded friendships.

Help Others – This is a major part of being in a support group and helping others on their recovery journeys will come naturally the longer you go to meetings. There are plenty of reasons why helping others also helps you but the most notable are that it allows you to see how far you’ve come, it creates additional accountability for you to lead by example which encourages you to stay with your plan and path.

Stay with Your Plan – Any rehab worth its salt will help you put together a plan for lasting sobriety. Naturally, that will change as time goes by but the core tenets will likely remain intact. Staying with that overarching sobriety plan is vital.

Avoid the Myth of Moderation – For some people, there comes a point in their journey where they feel like they’ve got everything under control and the thought crosses their mind, “just one drink can’t hurt” or “I can handle just one quick hit”. Nope. Moderation for an addict is a myth. The point of all your work in rehab, all the hours, days, weeks and months was not to get you to a moderate drug habit. Addiction is a mental disorder and for those affected by it, the slippery slope back to addiction is very real. It’s best not be toyed with or chanced.

Know Your Triggers – A huge one. Understanding what can lead you back to using is essential in avoiding relapse. Know the external situations that can trigger you, the people, places, things, etc. and also be aware of the internal thoughts and feelings that can lead you there too. Having a good grasp on all of that can keep you on course.

Maintain Sobriety With the Help of Principles Recovery Center

Remember recovery is a garden that needs constant tending. Moreover, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re having trouble staying on the path, reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center, we’re happy to listen and help you right the ship.

Getting Help for a Crystal Meth Addiction

getting help for meth addiction

It goes by many names, speed, crank, glass, ice, etc. but whatever you call it, crystal meth is a particularly brutal drug. 

As recently as 2017, roughly 15% of all drug overdose deaths involved methamphetamines.

What Is Crystal Meth?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes meth as “a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks.”

An extremely potent substance, crystal meth is relatively new in the pantheon of drugs.  Amphetamines were first synthesized in the late 19th century and crystal meth didn’t come about until 1919. The “crystal” in the name comes from the fact that it was in crystalline form.

Additionally, crystal meth is highly water-soluble which made it very suitable for injection. Something that became a major issue decades later.

The drug can be taken in many ways, it can be smoked, swallowed as a pill, snorted or, as mentioned, injected with the method of intake altering the effect. Smoking and snorting it, for example, cause an immediate rush and can actually amplify the potential for addiction.

Is Crystal Meth Addictive?

In a word: yes.

Meth is highly addictive, so much so that it’s listed as a schedule II drug. The description of what defines a schedule II drug sheds some light on just how intense this substance is, as per the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, “schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous”.

But what makes it so addictive and dangerous?

Crystal meth releases an unbelievable amount of dopamine into the brain that creates intense feelings of euphoria which a user starts to crave almost immediately. From here a dependency starts to build and as a person continues using, the brain gets rewired, turning dependency into a full-blown addiction.  

That all happens quickly too, it’s not a slippery slope by any means. The drug is dangerous all around but arguably the most insidious part is the speed with which it can hook someone.

How to Get Help With a Crystal Meth Addiction

Beating a crystal meth addiction is a tall order to do on your own and help goes a long way towards a successful recovery. What exactly is “help” in the context of meth addiction though?

It all starts with a detox. Ridding your body of the toxins is the first step towards recovery and getting clean. Doing this under medical supervision is important because detox means you’ll be experiencing withdrawal symptoms and, being perfectly honest, it won’t be pleasant.

However, going through that under the watchful eye of compassionate professionals who understand where you’re coming from makes it easier to endure and get through.

Once past that, the real work of recovery can begin in earnest. Usually, that comes in the form of inpatient treatment. Where detox focused on physical addiction, inpatient rehab works on the mental side. The emphasis is on counseling, group therapy and other proven methods of treatment.

The goal is simultaneously to understand your addiction and equip you with a set of tools to help you deal with difficult situations that may arise once you go back to your regular life. Situations that previously may have driven you to use.

Following that is aftercare which can come in the form of 12-step programs, sober living homes and more. The goal being to have a safe place you can go, a supportive environment that’s totally free of substances.

If crystal meth is a problem in your life or that of someone you love, reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center in Davie, Florida and we can get you the help you need or at least give you some timely advice.

Is Drug Rehab Aftercare for Me?

drug aftercare

Yes. Aftercare is for everyone. Let’s get that out of the way.

That said, blanket generalizations aren’t necessarily helpful and while yes, broadly speaking, drug rehab aftercare is very likely for you, let’s dig into it a bit more.

The chief reason it’s so easy to be so confident about the efficacy of aftercare is that recovery is a lasting, lifelong process. It’s something that’s a continual work in progress and therefore without a real “finish line”. It doesn’t just end one day and given that, aftercare is a helpful part of the process for anyone.

In many ways, treatment and detox are the very, very beginning of recovery. They focus on the near-term goals of getting the toxins out and working through what led you to substances in the first place through counseling, therapy, etc. The process that gets you sober and lays the groundwork for a life of sobriety.

Aftercare, on the contrary, takes the long view and is about preserving and maintaining the sobriety that you’ve worked so hard for. It’s a powerful relapse prevention tool as well. You’re in a particularly vulnerable state when transitioning from rehab back into the realities of the real world and aftercare gives you a space to deal with and healthily work through that.

At the end of the day, drugs and alcohol hold a powerful grip on us and any tools at your disposal that work against that should be strongly considered.

What Are Aftercare Substance Abuse Programs?

The world of aftercare is broad and chock full of options to support your long-term recovery.

For starters, check to see if your rehab facility offers alumni programs or its own aftercare programs.

At Principles Recovery Center we offer both because the empowering and confidence-building nature of them is readily apparent. Alumni programs keep you connected with us, or whichever rehab you went through, and those connections to counselors, staff and, most importantly, other alumni create a meaningful sober network.

Sober living homes are another option you may be familiar with and those are pretty much just what they sound like; a place to live that’s free of substances and with set rules to abide by. They make for an excellent transition from the rigors of inpatient rehab to living on your own which can initially prove overwhelming for some. Particularly if they’re going back to environments that are inherently toxic themselves, with lots of triggers, etc.

Perhaps the most well of the aftercare substance abuse programs is the 12-step program. The Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous’ of the world. These have proven to be crucial lifelines for folks in maintaining sobriety for decades now and can be found the world over. In addition to the 12-steps themselves, a lot of the value in these lies in the regular group meetings where people can talk through their challenges and create bonds. The mentorship you find is huge and as you spend more and more time in the program you can eventually mentor newly sober people yourself. Something that has a profoundly positive impact on you too.

Outpatient care is an alternative to consider as well and yet another that we offer at Principles. It’s more or less a stripped-back version of inpatient care where counseling and group work play the biggest role but you can come and go as you please rather than committing to a long stay. It’s inherently far less prohibitive and allows you to stick with your work, family and other commitments. 

Who Should Do A Drug Rehab Aftercare Program? 

Doing aftercare is a person-specific choice but with so many options available, finding one that works and benefits you is an easy task. The idea is really to make sobriety as easy and enjoyable as possible, aftercare works towards those ends and provides ample opportunity to make recovery a lasting success. Get in touch with Principles Recovery Center and we’ll not only walk you through our in-house aftercare options but also get you well-versed on the landscape of South Florida aftercare programs like 12-step, sober living homes and the like.

Dual-Diagnosis: Treating Mental Illness and Addiction

mental illness and addiction

Unfortunately, addiction and mental illness aren’t mutually exclusive things for a lot of people. While neither occurs in a vacuum and external forces influence everything in our lives, with respect to addiction and mental illness, it doesn’t automatically follow that one produces the other.

In fact, for a person dealing with both, like the chicken and the egg, it can sometimes be tough to determine which came first.

In simple terms, dual-diagnosis just means that someone is dealing with addiction and a co-occurring mental illness.

The stats from the National Institute on Drug Abuse bear out that 7.7 million adults have co-occurring mental and substance use disorder. Moreover, of the 20.3 million adults that had substance abuse disorders in 2017, 37.9% had mental illnesses as well. On the flip side, of the 42.1 million adults struggling with mental illnesses, 18.2% had substance abuse disorders too.

They don’t go fully hand in hand, but the overlap is stark and the risk factors for substance abuse and mental illness have quite a bit of overlap.

While one doesn’t always cause the other, they absolutely do fuel and exacerbate each other.

And it makes sense why.

If you’re suffering from a mental illness, any mental illness, and aren’t getting the proper treatment it’s possible that in order to alleviate that mental anguish you’ll resort to self-medicating. The more substances you take, the more your brain chemistry changes and the more you need to take to avoid dealing with the unbearable weight of living that mental illness has caused.

The coping mechanism becomes the culprit.

Conversely, because addiction is a chronic brain disease, as your brain changes due to prolonged use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, mental disorders can develop.

It stands to reason that just about any mental disorder can happen in conjunction with substance abuse but there are a handful that are more common:

  • Anxiety/Panic Disorders
  • Bipolar/Mood Disorders 
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Sex Addiction
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

Who Should Go to A Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Center in Florida?

The natural byproduct of struggling with both addiction and mental illness is that it increases the risk for things like suicide, violence and a host of other outcomes exponentially.

Because of this relationship, tackling both together in an integrated form of treatment is the only way to meaningfully break the cycle.

The treatment isn’t widely dissimilar from standard rehab. The general structure of detox, inpatient care and aftercare are kept but the emphasis on mental illness is stronger. The psychiatric and clinical staff, as well as counselors and therapists, are more attuned to helping people work through those mental issues. After detox, you’ll be evaluated by that team of experts to confirm/make a diagnosis of a co-occurring illness. 

Dual-diagnosis treatment can also often take longer due to the fact that working through two highly complex problems concurrently simply requires more time.

Given that, not all facilities are equipped for it but our dual-diagnosis residential treatment center in Florida is up to the task.

Benefits of Treating Mental Illness and Addiction Together

Of the many benefits that come with treating these two together, the first is relief. Relief that you’ve uncovered a reason for your suffering and relief that you’ve finally found an answer to it. At Principles Recovery Center in South Florida, we offer that relief in the form of our dual-diagnosis treatment center. Working through both issues at the same time sets you up with a strong foundation on which you can build the rest of your life confidently.

How to Know If Your Loved One Needs an Intervention

Watching a loved one battling cravings is one of the hardest things anyone can ever experience. You probably will not be aware of it, initially, because addicts learn to hide and sneak around.  Addiction requires an honest, firm approach to get it under control.

What are the signs that should ring your warning bells? Do any of these in the list below find you nodding your head in agreement?

1. Their Tolerance Is Getting Higher and Higher

When you are close to somebody, you know the usual amount he or she takes.  Two to four glasses of wine the regular consumption.  Immediately you notice that he or she is increasingly imbibing more, that is an indication that the tolerance is higher.

2. Fuzzy Thoughts and Memory

Someone suffering from mental fog will show confusion, disorganization and frequent forgetfulness.  Everyone goes through periods of uncertainty, so do not get it twisted if your loved one is genuinely tired.  Pay attention if he or she is unable to focus on the things they never had a problem with before.

3. Blowing Hot and Ice Cold

Addicts are unstable emotionally, which is why they need more drugs, food, sex, to feel good.  Severe mood swings begin to occur frequently.  One moment your loved one is deliriously happy, and the next, they are depressed.

4. Becoming a Recluse

Addicts know that they need treatment to manage the cravings.  Sometimes they do not know how to go about it, other times they want to avoid it.  What happens is that they start isolating themselves.  They avoid meeting friends and social gatherings.  They may even avoid taking calls.

5. Risky Behavior

An intervention is definitely on the cards when someone shows risky behavior.  Driving while under the influence of mind-altering substances endangers lives.  Irrational acts such as jumping on train tracks, walking on roof ledges, juggling knives or anything injurious is dangerous behavior.

6. Increase in Clumsiness and Accidents

You will notice that the addict walks absent-mindedly into side tables or other things that are not out of place. They may take a carton of milk out and return it to the trash, thinking that it was the fridge. They will trip over pebbles and smash into flowerbeds. You will recognize clumsy when you see it!

7. Financial Strain and Mismanagement

Intervention may rescue an addict from outright financial ruin. If you see him or her, selling off their valuables one after another, without a sound investment plan, there is a problem. If they are in debt and struggling to pay rent and bills, that is a red flag. No groceries in the pantry and the utilities are off; that is cause for concern.

8. Dubious Behavior

Substance abusers will start showing strange behavior, like going out late at nights for no good reason. They will be dishonest, and when caught out on a lie, they may flare up in anger to deflect an interrogation! They are unreliable and untrustworthy because the chemical imbalances are screaming for another hit to get high.

9. Appearance Changes From Cover Model to Scruffy

Addicts’ sole purpose for existing tends to zoom in to their next fix. They become careless with their grooming and hygiene. It is heartrending to see a loved one wearing mismatching attire and not concerned about BO. Nevertheless, dishabille is a sure tell that something is wrong.

10. Deteriorating Mental Health

Mental health comes in many different forms. Sometimes drug abuse makes the user see apparitions and hear voices from the mind-altering chemicals. However, the intense cravings and stresses of addictive behavior will deteriorate the mental health of the user.  They may suffer anxiety panics and insomnia, or other mental health issues. It can become a vicious cycle of illness.

Intervention Is The Next Step: How Will You Steer It?

Having watched your loved one quite keenly, you recognize some of the traits mentioned above. Possibly, you realize that some of these symptoms were cropping up over a long period. Who will handle the intervention, you or an expert?

Seek Aid from a Professional Interventionists

A trained interventionist has the tools to do a compassionate intervention. You, on the other hand, may start well-intentioned, yet end up with a defensive and confrontational addict! Let the professional do the work. There will be less chance for any aggression getting out of hand.

Go Through Your Part of the Intervention Process

Whether the addict is receptive to the intervention or not, you must attend for your benefit. You will learn to handle yourself, to establish borders and limits without guilt. You will also get a support network of people who can commiserate with you and give you possible solutions for tricky situations.

Final Thoughts

The signs of addict behavior may creep up slowly, or explode in a crisis. However, if you are suspicious of a loved one needing an intervention, seek experts. They will diagnose and begin the process to mitigate the symptoms. Contact us at Principles Recovery Center to find out if your loved one could use an intervention.