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Understanding and helping those who face addictions

by LlamaGama

Hello everyone!

I’ve been thinking lately about the amount of members that talked to me about themselves or their friends who face addictions. Also, there are listeners who don’t fully understand the issue of facing an addiction or don’t know how to help a member in that situation. Therefore, I thought it would be a nice idea to write a post about a few facts and tips on how to help somebody who faces an addiction, as it could be useful to both members and listeners.

Firstly, before thinking about the tips we could give somebody in this domain, we have to understand what addiction is:

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the reward structure of the brain. It is caused by neurochemical reactions that are prompted by the introduction of certain substances and behaviors. Addiction impairs a person’s judgment, physiological independence and emotional well-being.

Secondly, we have to look at what causes addiction in order to understand the problem. I collected information from my experiences with the members who dealt with addiction and some quality articles, therefore we have: high stress levels, having a parent with a history of addiction, severe trauma or injury, exposure to substance abuse at a young age, mental health conditions, especially mood disorders such as chronic anxiety and depression, psychological trauma (including loss of a loved one or chronic loneliness).

 There are 11 tips for both members and listeners who want to help people that are dealing with an addiction:

💗People need to make their own decisions – support, but do not command, bully or beg

💗Never directly disagree with the person, but do not pretend that you agree with them either (if you don’t)

💗Ask questions, avoid statements

💗Try to highlight inconsistencies in statements made, in a way that does not engender a feeling of resistance in the person you are trying to help

💗Try to not give up too easily and try to represent an emotional support for those who face an addiction

💗Demonstrate empathy and concern – try to avoid outright sympathy or criticism

💗Don’t rush it – take your time and wait for a spontaneous response

💗You need to feel safe and sometimes you may need to make hard decisions (such as referring or ending the chat) to protect yourself

💗Accept that the person’s using is driven by subconscious influences

💗Allow the natural consequences of the using behaviour to occur – neither help nor hinder

💗Try to avoid taking on the role of the professional helper. You always can refer them to a professional.

 Hopefully, this post will be useful for you. Thanks for taking the time to read it. 💗

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