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How to Actually Help a Drug Addict

Don’t think that quitting drugs is going to solve all the addict’s problems. What the addict did while on drugs wasn’t exactly creating a good future. Once the drugs are removed, the work of rebuilding a life has to begin.

When an addict tries to quit but then relapses to drugs, it occurs because he or she didn’t change anything. We’re not talking about just a change of location or of friends. The addict must change abilities.

If the capabilities of the person are higher and their likelihood of surviving well and making a good living increase, then their chances of relapsing to drugs will decrease tremendously. So preparing the former drug user for re-entry into society has to include increasing their ability to function successfully in some LEGAL and respectable profession.

There was something wrong BEFORE the drug problem.

It is often true that a person tries drugs for simple curiosity. Okay, at a party, etc. But that is just experimentation. The curious user may try only once or twice and then get on with life.

For an actual drug problem to develop there has to be a reason. If the drug seems to solve a problem the person has, he is likely to then use the substance again. If the “remedy” works a second time, it can become a solution that will be leaned on in the future, over and over again. The problem being suppressed by the drugs will be growing stronger with time and because the person is no longer actually seeking to solve it, but is now satisfied with the cover-up, what was once a normal problem can grow to tremendous size.

The Actual Problem versus the Apparent Problem

In addiction, it is commonly believed that the drug addict’s problems are simply drugs and drug abuse. But drugs and drug abuse are actually symptoms of a deeper, underlying problem that is simply being covered up by the drugs. Working to just halt the drug use is pretty typical of today’s quick-fix society.

While it may be true that these drugs are dangerous and potentially deadly, the drugs themselves are not the source of this problem. This type of approach has led to the appearance of what are called, “Detox Centers”. Patients with substance abuse problems enter these facilities and are helped through medical means to get through the initial period of withdrawal from their drug of choice. If that patient does not then somehow learn to deal the original causes of his or her addiction, chances of any permanent changes in behavior are very low.

Such detox centers might be necessary for the first few days of withdrawal, especially when withdrawing an addict from heavy and long-term use of alcohol or benzodiazepines. But this must then be followed by actual rehabilitation, including an effective address of the underlying causes of substance abuse. Otherwise, we’re just heading right back into the same situation, again and again.

Addiction, of course, IS a problem of its own, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an underlying problem, ruining the life of the addict. The addiction is really symptomatic, and is another, more deadly problem stemming from and hiding the original trouble. The addiction needs to be addressed, of course, and now. But to only deal with the addiction and not then continue onward until the original trouble is found and solved, will only lead to another relapse. And relapses turn deadly too often.

What is necessary, in a realistic approach to handling a drug addiction is basically:

1. Withdrawal

Drug addiction is a combination of many factors, of which one is the pain of withdrawal. Withdrawal is often the most feared aspect of quitting. However, getting through withdrawal can be done with a minimum of discomfort if you know how to do it.

This is not a small accomplishment, but in relation to the whole job of rehabilitation it is just the beginning.

2. Body Cleansing

The addict’s body is a toxic waste dump of drugs and drug residues. It is vitally necessary to clean this trash out and give the person a chance to start again, to start renewed, and not living in the middle of constant chemical reminders of what he or she is trying to forget!

It is essential that the toxins built up over years of drug abuse are removed so real rehab can begin.

3. Rehabilitation

Now it is possible to begin to┬árebuild a life. Finding what was missing in the former addict’s life skills and filling those gaps is what is necessary for long-lasting success to be possible.

Remember, the goal is not just to end addiction to drugs. We have to help the person to become able and ready to compete in the job markets and in life without any need of the crutches that drugs seemed to provide.

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