Thursday, August 9, 2018

Substance Abuse and the Risk of Suicide: How to Help a Loved One



Photo via Pixabay by Free-Photos

Substance Abuse and the Risk of Suicide: 
How to Help a Loved One 
By Guest Blogger Melissa Howard


Substance abuse has been linked to many other disorders and issues, from depression to thoughts of suicide. While using substances doesn’t automatically mean an individual will also be at risk for other dangers, there is a greater possibility that they will. If you have a loved one who is abusing substances, it’s so important to try and understand what they are going through so that you’ll know which symptoms to look for. Help comes in a lot of forms, but it will be difficult for you to assist your loved one if you aren’t prepared for what they’re going through.

It’s also important to do some research on the various treatment options available to your loved one. They may be feeling overwhelmed or unwilling to reach out for help because they are afraid of what the future holds, but if you can help them find a treatment that works for them, they may be more willing to accept your assistance.

Keep reading for important tips on how to help your loved one if you’re worried that they are a danger to themselves.

Do Some Research

Substance abuse covers a lot of territory, including alcohol, opioids, and prescription medication. They all affect an individual differently, making it necessary to do some research on the type of substance your loved one uses. It’s also important to keep in mind that substance abuse and mental health disorders often display similar effects, making them difficult to diagnose separately. Not only that, some individuals use substances to cope with undiagnosed disorders such as depression or PTSD, leaving the two intertwined and more difficult to separate.

Look at Different Treatment Options

The type of treatment that your loved one needs will vary depending on their history and the state of their mental health. The two most common options include holistic treatment -- which looks at the state of the body, mind, and soul as a means of recovery -- and a 12-step program, which may or may not be associated with a religion-based treatment and can be done as either inpatient or outpatient therapy. Read on here for more information on the various treatment options that are available for your loved one.

Listen

Many people who are living with substance abuse feel isolated from friends and family because they are either ashamed of their behavior or because they feel that they don’t belong. Sometimes, having someone to talk to -- someone who will listen without judgment -- can be the best thing for someone who is battling addiction. It can be difficult to initiate a conversation with your loved one about what they’re going through. Doing so may be the catalyst for their recovery.

Help Them Find a Safe Place

If you believe that your loved one is a danger to themselves or to others, it’s imperative to help them find a safe place. Remove any items that may pose a threat or be used as weapons, and if you fear for their immediate safety, call 911 as soon as possible. Helping your loved one find a safe place where they don’t feel threatened is important if they are having suicidal thoughts.

Helping a loved one who is living with substance abuse can be stressful, so it’s a good idea to practice self-care as often as possible. It will be much more difficult for you to help them if you are suffering from anxiety or a lack of adequate rest. With a good plan and a bit of research, you can begin getting your loved one the help they need.

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