An addiction to any kind of substance is never an easy to handle, both for the sufferer and their loved ones. Still, the moment that the former begins to recognize the problem themselves, which is also not an easy feat, they’re now on the road toward recovery.
Unfortunately, the road toward recovery isn’t an easy undertaking too. What makes this process difficult is the withdrawal symptoms that an addicted individual may experience. These symptoms usually take place days or weeks after their last consumption of the substance. What’s even worse is that withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the drug and the person’s reliance on it, hence there’s no universal solution to help your loved one navigate this difficult task.
With the temptation beginning to resurface after staying away from drugs or alcohol or even the need to ease withdrawal symptoms, your loved one may fall back into their bad habits. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to show your loved ones that they’re not alone in this battle. To help you out, here are some ways to support a loved one as they combat withdrawal:
1. Educate yourself
Oftentimes, a person experiencing withdrawal symptoms may not be open to their family about their feelings. This is perhaps the reason why they feel alone and helpless. As the first step toward supporting your loved one, you must be able to identify some of these symptoms yourself. This way, you don’t need to wait for your loved one to initiate the first move, but as soon as you notice some signs, you can now be there for them. (1)
For your reference, here are some substances along with their withdrawal symptoms:
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings (2)
- Decreased libido
- Weight loss
- Digestion problems
- Less appetite
- Mood swings (2)
- Memory loss
- Sleep problems
- Social isolation
- Mood swings (2)
2. Be their exercise buddy
If your loved one is no longer feeling lethargic, then try to encourage them to exercise. Even simple exercises, like walking or climbing up and down the stairs, will already suffice. Doing other activities may allow them to take their mind off the substance or prevent any unwanted thoughts. Also, by exercising, they may achieve a better sense of themselves. The more time they spend exercising, the lesser the chance that their mind will be occupied with drug use or even the symptoms they’re feeling. (3)
3. Accept things you can’t fix
Another important thing that you have to keep in mind is that substance abuse is actually a serious mental health issue. Because of this, your loved one could need the help of a medical professional. If you try to neglect the help of experts, especially if you know that your loved one is already dependent on a substance, then you further complicate their symptoms.
In addition to helping them at home, it’s also a wise decision to have well-rounded support, which includes opinions from experts and support groups. (4)
4. Convince them to go to a specialist
In connection with the point above, always do your best to convince them to go to a specialist. Take note that, just like any other physical or mental issue, the earlier it’s treated, the better the outcome would be.
Still, don’t be surprised if they hesitate to go or even deny that they have a problem. If this is the case, try to be persistent by relaying to them the benefits of getting treatment. But it’s still important that you don’t make them feel guilty or ashamed. If you do, then they may go back to their old habits. (1)
5. Take care of yourself
Last but not the least, in addition to helping your loved one, you must also take care of yourself. This is especially important since, in addition to the stress caused by your loved one, there may also be other factors, like work, that cause you to burn out. In this case, if you neglect your health, it may create some form of resentment, making it more difficult to help your loved one navigate through their symptoms.
As mentioned earlier, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment when it comes to addiction, along with its withdrawal symptoms. With that said, choose a form of treatment that suits well with your loved one. What’s important is for you to make them feel that they’re not alone in this journey.
1. "How Do I Help Someone Struggling With Drug Addiction", Source: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/drug-addiction/related-topics/help-someone-drug-addiction/
2. "What To Do If Your Loved One Is Experiencing A Withdrawal", Source: https://www.providence-recovery.com/blog/what-to-do-if-your-loved-one-is-experiencing-a-withdrawal
3. "8 Helpful Ways To Cope With Drug Withdrawal", Source: https://diamondhousedetox.com/8-helpful-ways-to-cope-with-drug-withdrawal/
4. "9 Tips for Helping Someone Overcome Drug Addiction", Source: https://www.altamirarecovery.com/blog/9-tips-for-helping-someone-overcome-drug-addiction/