One of the hardest things to go through is to see a loved one suffer in silence with an addiction.
We want to be able to tell them the perfect answer, give them direction on the right way to go and get help and be able to bring back the person that they used to be.
We find, at our Melbourne Rehab, that when it comes to mental health and addictions, even Ice addictions - that they really have to decide that they need help in order to be open to the idea.
A decision can be made out of intervention from the family or by the user of drugs (illicit or prescription) but only if they can see that there is hope and a way out. The key is inspiration to a better life.
There are various ways that the decision to get help can be made, not all of them are pleasant but we list the most common ones here to help you understand yourself or a loved one;
- Hitting financial stress due to prioritising money to the addiction rather than bills, food and other basic needs.
- Needing to borrow money or use loved ones houses for accommodation and a place to recover when the sustainability of keeping up the addiction runs out momentarily (can slip back in a week or two later).
- Physical deterioration (particularly with heroin and ice addictions) such as extreme reduction in weight, dry mouth and sores on body and face.
- Clothing and other items are not looked after as they normally once were.
- Long amounts of time between contact (inability to contact a loved one for a longer than normal time).
- Court ordered due to possible jail time.
- Increase in sick days or loss of job.
- Increased anger when asked or confronted.
When it comes to helping a loved one to make the decision it comes down to them feeling supported and a sense that they are ready.
Some people need to hit rock bottom, or some people have support and potentially see a way out.
Conventional counselling, psychology and other rehab services in Australia can cost a lot of money and time. The issue is that they are not healing the emotional pain and trauma as to WHY someone would need to use a coping mechanism such as drugs or habits.
Our programs are completely focused on the underlying cause and pain of addictions.
Think of this story when it comes to helping your loved ones get help...
Imagine you have a pinched nerve in your back which has been there for over a year.
You visited your doctor and told them of your symptoms.
They prescribe you a drug which temporarily band-aids the pain so you can get through each day without having to feel excruciating pain.
Every time you feel the pain, you take another pain killer in order to live with some normality and be in a better mood on a day to day basis. You don't know what else to do because of the friendship and trust you have with this doctor.
You see some older people come out of his office, looking bent over and pale, like they have been struggling for years - but they trust the doctor and keep going back for more prescriptions.
You aren't aware of an alternative and you decide that this is how it is going to be, for you have a great relationship with this doctor and you see yourself as a loyal person.
You go in more frequently now, and the doctor advises that you are now asking for too much and he refuses to prescribe you anymore.
He advises that you should go to a physiotherapist. You adhere and go and visit the physio, you are counting down how many pills you have left and this causes a slight panic.
You visit the physio and the physio does a scan and checkup on you, he advises on how many appointments you will need and maybe he can fit you in in 3 weeks. You start feeling more anxious now because you are down to your last 2 tablets and you won't be able to get through the next few days without being in immense pain.
You snap at our partner, family and colleagues. You feel desperate and don't want to have to think about the pain.
You are loyal and deep down a good person, but you need this pain relief before you lose your job and ruin your relationships.
You go and see another doctor and hope that they don't see your records with your regular doctor. You are slightly excited about the potential of a script being made out.
Emotionally, this will help you numb out the guilt of getting angry and taking it out on others.
Scientific studies have shown a great link between emotional trauma and physical pain.
Knowing this, can you see the correlation between prescription drugs and street drugs. Yes the side affects can be less - but are still there. When we are trying to block emotional pain or physical pain out and find something that works, we tend to stick with it because deep down we all want to feel pain free.
It is so important that the underlying causes, such as trauma (sometimes repressed), childhood trauma in particular, suppressed emotions (lack of emotional support or emotional intelligence), lack of hope to be freed from the pain needs to be addressed and healed.
Imagine, asking someone to talk about these issues. Re-living them and bringing up the thoughts and emotions that they are trying to repress! Of course they are probably not wanting to do this and it may make them want to numb it out more.
This calls for a different approach, as the current system has only a 10%-15% success rate.
A qualified yet caring therapist who has been there is the best inspiration that someone with an addiction can have. Keep this in mind when you offer ways and strategies to enable people to seek help.
Think back to the story, if you were in this much pain then how would it feel to stop the pain killers and be told to go away and talk about it over and over again.