When a drug addict wants to get clean, having their families support can make the situation easier because they have people they can rely on during a hard time. But it can be hard to know what steps to take when supporting an addict who wants to get clean.
Clean Out Your House
Before the addict even attempts to get clean, you need to go through your entire house and remove anything that could tempt them to use. It’s best to remove all alcohol, over-the-counter medications and prescription medications before your loved ones begin the detox process.
As they detox, their body goes through a lot of changes that can feel unbearable. Many addicts end up mixing uppers and downers in an attempt to try to suppress the symptoms they experience.
This isn’t safe – it could put strain on their heart and other major organs. Removing all medications from the house lessens these chances. Improper medication use accounted for almost 30% of all of the ER visits in 2009 alone, so taking the time to make sure that the medications aren’t available to your loved one is essential to their recovery.
Take a Few Days off of Work
If your loved one plans to detox at home, they need someone to stay with them to monitor their condition. You need to be able to call 911 if anything goes wrong during their detox as they may not be able to do it themselves. Addicts often experience nausea, insomnia, lethargy and some even experience hallucinations as they detox.
It’s best to take a few days off of work so that you can stay with them as they detox. Be prepared to provide them with constant attention and try your best not to aggravate them as they will be very temperamental during this period of time. If you notice that they are experiencing symptoms that are dangerous to their health, call 911 right away to ensure that they get the care that they need. While death during the detox period isn’t overly common, it can happen, especially if the person tries to self-medicate to decrease the symptoms that they feel.
Ensure You Can Occupy Their Time
It’s best to help your loved one stay distracted as they detox. You don’t want them to focus solely on the way that they are feeling because there is a good chance the symptoms will begin to be exasperated for them. Consider renting movies, buying things that you can cook together or simply buying a few board games you can play to kill the time. This will often spark open dialogue where your loved one can share with you the way that they are feeling, why they started to use drugs and what changes they want to make in their life after they are able to get clean.
Monitor Their Activities
The last thing you want to do when your loved one is detoxing is leave them alone. The urge to do drugs is so powerful that many addicts will try to sneak drugs to help minimize the withdrawal symptoms they feel. If you leave the person alone, they could take drugs without you knowing it. There is a good chance that they could end up overdosing because their body cannot handle the same dosage of drugs that they were taking before they started the detox process.
Stock the House with Food They Love
When addicts stop using drugs they often become very hungry and eat everything that they possibly can. This is because most drugs are appetite suppressors and once they stop using them, their normal appetite returns. Have food that they love to eat so that they aren’t triggered to want to go out and get the food on their own. Traveling while they detox isn’t a great idea because they will more than likely already feel nauseous and traveling in a car could make the symptoms worse.
Keep the Temperature in the House Comfortable
When someone detoxes, their body will often break out into an intense sweat, they may feel like they are hot one second and freezing the next. Be sure to keep the house at a comfortable temperature at all times and provide your loved one with ample blankets that they can use to keep themselves warm during times when they start to feel cold.
Be Understanding of Their Situation
It can be hard to handle the emotional mood swings that come from someone who is detoxing from drugs. They will seem completely happy one minute and angry at the world the next. Be patient with the person as they cannot control how much their attitude fluctuates. If you know that they are starting to get upset about something, try to diffuse the situation as quickly as you can regardless of who is right and who is wrong. You want them to know that you support them throughout the hard time and are willing to work with them to create an environment where they feel comfortable, welcome and supported.
If you discover that the detox period is too difficult for your loved one to conquer on their own, consider taking them to a professional treatment facility to get the help that they need. There are drugs that can be prescribed to decrease the intensity of their detox symptoms. Being able to get through detox as smooth as possible betters the chances of an addict being able to stay clean for a long time. With the relapse rates for addicts being as high as 60%, you want to be sure to provide your loved one with every avenue to succeed that you possible can. It will take hard work and dedication on both of your parts, but sticking together can make the process easier for both of you.