Starting the Conversation About Substance Abuse Treatment

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Many often subscribe to the idea that there are certain things that you just don’t talk about. A friend’s personal problems might be one of them. Like most, you might assume that if your friend wants help, he or she will ask for it.

Unfortunately, statistics show that conversation is unlikely to ever happen. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that as many as 95 percent of those who need specialty treatment for addiction don’t actually think they need it. Thus, if you are worried that your friend’s addiction problem may be leading him or her down a dark and potentially dangerous path, you are probably going to have to broach the subject of getting treatment.

Recognize the Need for Change

The first step towards helping your friend confront his or her addiction is first realizing that it is there. This can be difficult because you may engage in some of the same activities on a casual basis (e.g., a drink or two at a club, the occasional use of marijuana). Labeling him or her as an addict may make you feel hypocritical. Ask yourself, then, these questions:

  • Does he or she partake of drugs or alcohol all the time, or only when they made are available?
  • Does he or she experience significant personality changes or mood swings after have had a drink or taken drugs?
  • Has he or she experienced troubling side effects (e.g., increased sickness, memory loss)?
  • Has he or she withdrawn from you and spent more time with those who provide him or her with drugs or alcohol?
  • Has his or her drinking or drug use affected your friendship, or his or her other relationships or job status?

If you can answer any or all of these questions with a “yes,” then the time has come to talk with your friend about substance abuse treatment.

Talking with Your Friend

Where should you start this conversation? Here a just a few suggestions:

  • Point out what has become different: Your friend will likely ask what is prompting your concern. Be prepared to tell him or her the changes you’ve noticed both in your relationship as well as in his or her own life. This will have a far greater effect than you reciting statistics.
  • Ask them what is wrong: Often, addiction is the result of significant life changes. Understanding what changes might have initiated your friend’s downward spiral can help you identify potential coping mechanisms that will assist in his or her treatment.
  • Discuss treatment options: Your friend may be willing to quit, yet think himself/herself incapable of doing it “cold turkey.” Talk about how a wide variety of personalized treatment options (such as Outpatient Detox) are available and can allow him or her to get off drugs or alcohol with the supervision of treatment professionals.
  • Express your support: Let them know that you will ensure that he or she never feels alone during this process.

Trust the Professionals

While encouraging your friend to seek treatment for his or her addiction issues may be difficult, the good news is that neither of you are alone in this process. We at High Focus Centers are here to help every step of the way. We can offer counseling, education and support which will give your friend insight and awareness into why he or she is abusing drugs or alcohol.  And of course, there’s our outpatient detox programs that can help safely and comfortably place your friend on the road to recovery. To learn more about the many services we offer, give us a call at 800-877-3628 today.