Heroin addiction is without a doubt one of life’s greatest challenges for both the person suffering from it and their family. It’s essential to understand that addiction is a disease and therefore requires professional treatment. However, unlike some bacterial infection where you objectively can do very little to help the loved one aside from buying meds, the support of family members is essential for a successful treatment of addiction. By simply providing your emotional support you are already helping. And you can do more by seeking out family therapy, helping your loved one find peer support groups or rehab centers.
Most importantly, you need to learn about heroin addiction and detox so you can understand the symptoms exhibited by the affected family member and provide the necessary help. Bear in mind that in some cases, especially in the beginning stages of withdrawal, timely intervention from you can be literally lifesaving.
Help a Family Member Overcome Heroin Addiction: 4 Steps You Need to Take
Get family therapy
Family therapy is so effective, it’s on the list of recommended addiction treatments from the US Department of Health and Human Services as well as National Institute on Drug Abuse (drugabuse.com). This particular type of treatment is affordable and has the potential to make the most positive impact on your family.
The main benefit of this therapy is that it does not only help every individual to untangle their problems, meaning the addicted person will be able to work through the issues, which pushed them to drugs. In the meantime, all other family members will be able to understand each other better and work through the problems caused by the addiction and its effects on your family as a whole.
Learn about heroin withdrawal
Withdrawal is one of the most difficult phases of heroin addiction treatment. It can be life-threatening and extremely traumatic for both the patient and their family. If you want to help a family member overcome addiction, it’s essential that you learn everything about heroin detox. This will allow you to reduce the sufferer’s discomfort and prevent self-harm.
Although you won’t be feeling the physical pain of drug withdrawal, witnessing your loved one tortured by it is not easy. A great number of relapses occur at this stage, especially after prolonged heroin abuse as withdrawal is extremely torturous in these cases.
It might be beneficial for the patient if you provide them with emotional support. However, heroin detox is such a complicated, painful, and dangerous process that it’s best to go through it under medical supervision. Signing into a rehab facility for the withdrawal period at the least will be the safest decision for everyone. You can continue providing emotional support even while there.
Find peer support groups
Multiple studies prove the efficiency of peer support groups for addiction treatment (Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation). This means finding such groups in your area will be a smart move when you want to help a family member overcome heroin addiction.
You won’t be able to join them at these meetings, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Your loved one needs not only your unconditional support but also motivation from seeing people in a similar situation struggling and succeeding. You might seek out a similar group for yourself where you can meet people in similar circumstances and share your experiences and ideas. This will make the whole addiction treatment process less stressful for the family overall.
Stand your ground
Sadly, addicts are skilled emotional manipulators and way too often they find ways to abuse their loved ones and push them into facilitating their addiction. The most important thing for you is not to allow this to happen.
Depending on the situation, you might need to seek help from authorities. Do what’s necessary to protect yourself and your family while providing as much help and support as you can to the loved one facing their struggle against drugs.