Can you force someone to stop drug abuse?

Whether it’s illegal substances or prescription medication, you can’t force anyone to stop their drug abuse. But there are ways to support their recovery.

Witnessing someone you care about battle a substance abuse disorder can be extremely distressing and take a heavy toll on your own mental and emotional well-being. Whether the drug abuser is a close friend, spouse, parent, child, or another family member, it’s easy for their addiction to take over your life. It can pile on the stress, test your patience, strain your bank balance. Or even leave you racked by feelings of guilt, shame, anger, fear, frustration, and sadness.

You may worry about where your loved one is at any given time, their risk of overdose, or the damage they’re doing to their health, future, and home life. Perhaps you are in debt from paying their living expenses, the cost of legal issues resulting from their drug abuse, or from failed attempts at rehab and recovery. You could be worn down by covering for your loved one at home or work, having to shoulder the responsibilities they neglect, or being unable to devote more time to other family, friends, and interests in your life.

Signs your loved one may have a substance abuse disorder include:

They appear high more often and take more days away from work or school to compensate. Their work performance or school grades suffer, they neglect their responsibilities at home, and they encounter more and more relationship difficulties. They may even lose their job, drop out of school, or separate from a long-term partner.

Changes in sleep schedule, often appearing fatigued or run-down, pronounced weight loss or weight gain, glassy or bloodshot eyes, and forgetfulness or other cognition problems. Depending on the type of drug abuse they are in too, they may also exhibit frequent sniffing, nosebleeds, or shaking.

Your loved one may be more secretive and lie about what they are doing, where they are going, or how much they are using. They may be quick to anger or lash out, especially if you try to talk to them about their drug use. Heavy drug users often lose interest in old hobbies, lack energy, and become more moody, withdrawn, and sad. They may even neglect their appearance and personal hygiene, and suffer withdrawal symptoms if deprived of their drug of choice.

Your loved one may run up credit card debt to support their drug use, seek loans, or ask to borrow money without any solid reason. They may even steal money or valuables to sell for their drug abuse.

Spot a loved one’s substance abuse through the new or increased presence of drug abuse paraphernalia.

  • Paper wraps, small pieces of cling wrap, and tiny plastic bags are used to store drugs.
  • Rolling papers, pipes, bongs, or pierced plastic bottles or cans are often used to smoke drugs.
  • Burnt foil, spoons, and syringes may indicate heroin use.
  • Those abusing prescription medications may be renewing their prescriptions more frequently or have bottles of medication prescribed for someone else.

Does getting angry about drug abuse help?

It is not going to help if you are going to get angry.   You will get their back up and will not achieve the end result you are looking for.  Try to draw the in with encouragement and don’t expect things to be fixed in a moment.  It will more than likely take more than one discussion with them to convince them that they need help.

Prepare yourself for their denial.   They will more than likely become angry and even defensive and refuse to speak to you.   Do not let this put you off.   Keep trying because they will eventually come to the point where they will even ask you for your help and assistance.

The most difficult step toward recovery is the way they deal with stress and decide to make changes in their lives.   They will feel uncomfortable and question whether they are ready to start recovery.  They will also say they don’t know what to do.   All of this is normal because they have to find alternative ways within which to deal with their problems.

Sobriety means that they have to change many things in their lives.   The road to drug abuse recovery has much to do with who you allow in your life, what you do in your free time, how you think about yourself and the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take.

Drug abuse recovery is not an overnight fix.  Recovery takes time and effort not only from the addict him or herself but from the people who are involved with the addict in trying to help and assist them