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People who experience heroin addiction are not always honest with themselves about their drug use. Some may not know how, when, and where to seek heroin addiction treatment. Talking with a heroin addict, whether a friend or loved one, could save their life. Below are some ways you can help a heroin addict seek treatment.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction is obvious when it completely controls the user’s life. Addiction may be less obvious, however, in early stages. Know the early signs of addiction so that you can support them getting help fast, before many detrimental effects have taken hold. Physical symptoms include:
• Falling asleep suddenly
• Loss of self-control
• Flushed skin
• Dry mouth
• Slow breathing
Other (less physically-manifested) symptoms of heroin addiction are:
• Memory loss
• Feelings of heaviness
• Disorientation or confused thinking
• Difficulty making decisions
• Suicidal thoughts (for chronic heroin abuse)
How to Plan an Intervention
An intervention is a planned process by friends and family in consultation with a professional or doctor. Keep the gathering intimate and sincere, with a few people the addict trusts. Be gentle but firm as you discuss the consequences of addiction in order to encourage them to accept treatment.
During the intervention, you can provide examples of destructive behavior caused by the individual and how it impacts their loved ones. Provide them with a pre-arranged treatment plan with clearly defined steps and goals. An intervention comprises the following steps:
1. Create a plan: Involves creating an effective intervention plan by consulting a qualified addiction professional.
2. Collect information: Involves researching the condition, determining the severity of a loved one’s addiction, and identifying treatment programs.
3. Form an intervention team: The team should comprise loved ones, nonfamily members, and a professional to keep the discussion focused on the problem. Don’t let the person with a heroin problem know what you’re planning. Invite them to the place you plan to hold the intervention meeting and let everyone invited take turns to express their feelings and concerns.
4. Follow up: Involving a family member, spouse, or other close relationships to help a person with heroin addiction encourages them to stay in treatment to prevent a relapse.
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Avoid Enabling by Setting Limits
A person struggling with heroin addiction often does not want recovery but needs help. They may request a place to stay or financial assistance.
Even though you may want to help them, there should be limits. Enabling someone’s addictions takes many forms, including:
• Consistently offering a place to stay when they are under the influence
• Giving them cash when they ask for it, or paying their bills
• Hiding their addiction from family and friends
When you do the above for someone struggling with addiction, even though you mean well, it will hinder their drive to seek recovery and sobriety. Instead, encourage them to be accountable for their behavior and choices. If they see that you’re not happy with their behavior it will push them to seek treatment.
Understand the Treatments Available
There are numerous treatment options available for heroin addicts. A healthcare professional or doctor will help you decide the best medications to help your loved one.
But if your loved one has a severe heroin addiction, they may benefit from residential or inpatient treatment. They may have to stay under the care of an addiction professional to avoid a relapse. Other forms of treatment are:
• Hospital-based treatment programs
• Inpatient detox
• Therapeutic communities
• Intensive outpatient therapy
• Support groups
Before choosing a treatment plan for your loved one, find out how effective it is and if it’s affordable. Choose a program licensed at the local, federal, and state levels, and is backed up by scientific data. Prioritize a program that’s long enough for your loved one to have a full recovery. The staff should be able to customize it to fit your loved one’s needs.
Get professional help when looking at different treatment programs. Talk to your loved one’s doctor, who will have knowledge of their medical history. They are the best resource to advise you on what methods may be appropriate. If they are working, visit their workplace and find out if they offer employee assistance programs for treatment referrals.
Choose the Best Heroin Addiction Treatment Center
Before choosing a specific heroin addiction treatment center, research the facility to confirm that they have the resources that your loved one needs. Choose a facility that has a long-established reputation, showing that their treatment programs have a high success rate.