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How Do I Help a Loved One with Painkiller Addiction?

How Do I Help a Loved One with Painkiller Addiction?

When a loved one struggles with addiction to painkillers, it is hard to watch them slowly disintegrate and fall apart. There may be anxiety and fear along with anger and sadness about just wishing they could become sober and clean. Perhaps they are defensive about not needing help with addiction right now. Painkiller addiction is painful but it is also difficult for those who love a person struggling with addiction.

Why People Resist

Part of the resistance comes from understanding that the person may consider themselves to be dependent on painkillers. They may not agree that addiction is a problem. Not everyone who takes painkillers will develop an addiction. Dependence, on the other hand, occurs when the body comes to rely on a substance to function. Regardless of which is happening to a friend or loved one, dependence may still progress to addiction.

Ways to Help

There are helpful ways to support a loved one struggling with addiction. No matter how they are struggling, there are some tools to keep in mind that may be helpful.

  • Show concern for person’s well-being without being judgmental. Displaying an open willingness to help a loved one without trying to dictate the course of action.
  • Show empathy and compassion as any person might for someone suffering. Telling a person what to do is often not as effective as showing them you are on their team.
  • Create a structured, stable environment. Establish basic expectations of behavior along with simple routines to help reduce stress and limit chaos.
  • Seek out an assessment with a licensed addiction treatment specialist. A professional and impartial evaluation can usually determine if a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction.
  • Be aware of risk of overdose. Ask loved one’s doctor whether a prescription for naloxone, a medication used to counter effects of opioid overdose.
If the loved one is in treatment, the best way to help them is:
  • Regular communication with treatment staff which enables you to stay updated on progress of treatment as well as contribute to planning and help with arrangements when discharged.
  • As the loved one prepares to leave rehab, make sure the next steps are written out clearly which will help plan post rehab journey.

Newly Sober Help

If a person is in early recovery, the most useful first step is to determine what form of support the person needs. Family members can help give support by:

  • Encouraging the person to continue with treatment, including medication and counseling.
  • Understand the risk of overdose and keep drugs and alcohol away from the person as much as possible in the home (including opioids and alcohol).

Whatever your journey through addiction, we want to help you take steps to recovery well. From detox to rehab, we will help you find what you need. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401