How to Help a Heroin Addict Help Themselves?

The basic premise of getting out of any tough situation is creating a mindset where you want to get out of that situation. Working towards solutions will not be a problem, then. Heroin addicts are not known for accepting help, and unless they decide that they want to help themselves, no solution will ever be permanent for them.

This begets the question: how do you get a heroin addict to help themselves in the first place? With an overwhelming amount of love and support of course!

An addict has a brain hijacked by the incessant need for taking drugs. With them, all conscious decisions take a back seat. It takes a lot of patience from influencers like friends, colleagues and loved ones, to convince a heroin addict to help themselves.

And how can influencers achieve that?

Let’s answer the question here.

The Disease is Bad–Not the Person. Know the Difference.

Addiction is legally defined as a chronic, progressive brain disease where the patient compulsively seeks drugs despite being aware of the harshest of consequences. Most heroin addicts lose the support of friends and family due to the nature of the disease.

In any typical drug addict situation, the addict would always choose the drug before family or friends. The loved ones would feel estranged and leave the addict on their own. This only makes the addict more vulnerable to the disease and they fall into a vicious loop of drug abuse.

 The problem with the situation described above is that the influencers, who left the drug abuse patient, felt that the choice was a conscious decision. That the root of the problem was the person.

Only when a drug abuse patient is treated as such—a patient—is when the concerned loved ones can provide the motivation to the heroin addict to agree to a positive change.

Love Cannot Cure All Diseases. Seek Professional Help

Another mistake that people, trying to help their loved ones that have fallen into drug abuse, make: They think that their support is enough. Yes, there have been studies which show that numerous Vietnam War veterans who became addicted to narcotics overseas stopped using them without therapy.

Many individuals who have been successful at overcoming addiction talk about how they had to fight their own mind to get through the cravings.

But the common factor in play here is this: these people had their own motivation which helped them out. Most heroin addicts don’t. So, don’t fall into the trap of the “love cures all” philosophy and seek professional help. Working with a therapist and self-help meetings can be great places where the drug addict should be able to realize that they have a disease that must be cured.

There are effective drug treatment programs that can help addicts through their addiction and become model citizens. It’s not easy to do it alone and programs like these will provide everything they need to be successful at overcoming their addiction.

Know Where to Draw the Line

Let’s talk about two extremes which are a common occurrence when a heroin addict is in therapy:

1. Placing the addicts feelings before everything else

2. Being unnecessarily harsh to the recovering addict

Both practices are wrong and can easily push heroin addicts over the edge. Walking the fine line between these two practices can certainly prove to be difficult, but it’s not impossible.

Treat the heroin addict as a person, and involve them in social activities or any other healthy activities that they enjoy. But define boundaries about the abuse and don’t waver in the face of unacceptable behavior (e.g. asking for money).

 

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