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5 Ways You Can Help Someone with an Opioid Addiction

Opioid abuse has swept the country over the last decade and turned into a national emergency.  The death toll appears to be ever increasing, with opioid related fatalities reaching an all time high of 91 per day.  Opioid addiction seems to be in everyone’s backyard.  If you don’t have an addiction, chances are you know someone who does.  Often times, people who have loved ones with addiction do not know how to help them, so here are 5 things you can do to support them:


  • Learn about their disease.  Yes, what’s happening to them is a disease.  Opioid addiction causes severe obsessions, and typically the cravings are so intense a person uses to make them go away.  Opioids are highly addictive, and can cause painful withdrawals if they are stopped abruptly.  A person who has an opioid addiction may want to get clean, but they are afraid it will be too painful.  
  • Offer support.  Providing support to a person in the depths of addiction can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.  You want to help them, but they usually don’t want it, so the only way you know how to help is by enabling them.  Addiction to any substance is expensive, and it’s likely an addict may need to “borrow” money at some point.  Most family members will give their loved one with an addiction anything they want, because they are afraid of how they will react if you tell them no.  It’s very important to note, you are not helping them by enabling them.  You are prolonging their addiction by giving them what they want.  Start practicing saying no.
  • Find treatment.  It is likely if you offer treatment to someone with an addiction, they won’t want to hear it.  When you are addicted to any substance, you must be completely ready and willing to get clean, or it won’t last.  Finding a treatment center you believe will work for them is a good idea, though, that way when they’re ready to go, you have all the information ready to call.  
  • Learn the signs of addiction.  If you suspect your loved one might be addicted, learning the symptoms of what that looks like will be useful.  Someone under the influence of opioids will appear to be in a euphoric and relaxed state.  Their speech might be slurred and they will have very shallow breathing.  It’s possible for them to experience nausea and they will usually have contracted pupils.  If they are coming down from opioids, they may be extremely irritable and even aggressive, and will likely be in physical pain.
  • Help them prevent relapse.  If your loved one has gone through treatment and gotten clean from opioids, the first year of their recovery is critical.  Sixty percent of people relapse, so creating a healthy sober environment for them is imperative.  Encourage them to communicate their feelings and don’t enable them.  Applaud their progress and don’t bring up the past.  Opioid addiction is one of the most complicated and difficult addictions to overcome, and being present and supportive to them speaks volumes.  


If you are ready to leave active addiction behind, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We can help you detox and figure out what program of treatment is right for you. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.