Opiates are drugs that are commonly given as a prescription to help someone get pain relief. Sometimes, they are given after a surgery. Other times, a doctor might prescribe them to treat chronic pain. Either way, the person who is using them can develop an opiate addiction.
If you know someone who has an opiate addiction, you may want to know what you can do to help them get their life back on track. There are a wide range of solutions that can help them to overcome the addiction and turn their life back around.
Deciding to help your friend or loved one overcome their addiction can be a tough decision. You may not even be sure how they are going to react when you first talk to them about their opiate use. You might worry they aren’t going to listen or respond to what you have to say. Some people have mixed feelings about getting involved in their friend or family member’s life choices. However, try to remember that sometimes people need others to support them in recovery, just so they know they aren’t alone in this fight. If you have decided to help your friend or loved one, that is the first step.
Are you unsure whether your loved one or friend has an opiate addiction? If this is the case, there are some signs that you can look for in them to recognize an addiction. Some of these signs include:
- Say they need to use opiates
- Take larger amounts or a bigger dose of opiates than prescribed
- Always occupied with using or getting drugs
- Stealing money or other belongings from friends or family members, so they can buy drugs
- Seeming to be on edge, depressed, or irritable most of the time
- Withdrawing from family members and friends
- Not having an interest in work, school, or hobbies
- Experiencing regular mood swings
- Nodding off
- Having more energy than usual
- Relationship issues
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Weight gain or weight loss (without another known cause)
- Needing more opiates to get the same effect they used to get
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when missing a dose or even prior to the next dose
If you have noticed any of these things in your friend or loved one, they may have an addiction to opiates.
Now that you realize your friend or loved one likely has an opiate addiction, it is crucial that someone talks to them. It is important to let your friend or loved one know they aren’t in this alone.
If you aren’t ready to talk to your friend or loved one about their addiction, that is okay. You may just need to be better prepared first. The guide below offers some tips on how to prepare yourself for this conversation. Some of the best tips to help guide you are:
- Don’t have the conversation when your friend or loved one is high or irritable from not having the drugs
- Have the conversation in a neutral location, but not at a bar or anywhere that is serving or has drugs or alcohol
- Talk about the facts, not emotions (that way they can see how their addiction and behaviors are affecting their life and the lives of others around them)
- Be ready for many reactions such as anger to sadness (during the conversation they may even go from one extreme of emotions or responses to the next)
- Be prepared to have more than one conversation
- Be ready to talk to your friend or loved one about the various treatment options available (N.A., other support groups, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, intensive outpatient rehab, and partial hospitalization)
- Find support for yourself before having this talk with your loved one or friend
Hopefully, this guide will help you to be more prepared before you talk to your loved one or friend about their addiction. If they are suffering from an opiate addiction, these tips should help them to see that they do need to get into a treatment program.
You have recognized the signs of opiate addiction in your loved one or friend. Maybe you have already had the addiction conversation with them, too. If they were receptive to this conversation and agreed to get help, there are numerous treatment programs they can start with to begin overcoming the addiction.