Identifying drug-seeking behavior is one of the most important steps to dealing with it. This is true whether the drug-seeking person is an addict, a recreational user, or someone who has never taken the drug they are seeking out. But it is not always easy to tell when it’s happening.
And perhaps more frustrating than that, it is not always easy to know what to do even if you can identify the behavior. One of the first steps to dealing with addiction is the addict admitting that they have a problem. You would be hard-pressed to create consequences for someone seeking drugs if they do not think it is a bad thing to do. And it would be even harder to treat them.
It is hard, but not impossible. Drug addiction and drug use are ugly things. One of the worst parts about them is the fact that they spell inevitable doom for the addict themselves.
Eventually, the drug-seeker will run into a situation where their habit will create a problem for them. It is possible that they only seek help and treatment after that. Let’s talk about how to get ahead of that to stop it before it happens, and how to respond to it if it does happen.
What are the Signs?
To begin with, let’s talk about how to spot drug-seeking behavior. It is easy to get paranoid, especially if you are living with a recovering addict or even raising a teenager in a rough area.
Perhaps the most important thing to focus on when you are trying to identify drug-seeking behavior is which drug you think your subject is seeking. Many parents make the mistake of worrying about every drug imaginable when they worry about their kids looking for drugs.
The drugs a person can get their hands on in a certain context are limited. If you know someone with a history of substance abuse problems, then you should figure out how and where that drug is acquired. If it comes from a prescription, then see if they have made trips to pharmacies.
If the drug comes from a dealer, then it is pretty easy to see if they have gone out of their way to find a dealer. And don’t be afraid to get invasive either. Being invasive is rude, but if there is a serious danger then it might be necessary. And the more specific you can make your concern, the more precise and less invasive you will have to be to resolve it.
What to do if You Catch Them
If you catch your loved one with their “hand in the cookie jar”, so to speak, then it can be hard to know how to resolve the problem effectively. The real problem is that taking action in that case is not difficult—in fact, it is all too easy to try and be authoritative and command them around.
This is hardly effective, as it is an incredibly alienating approach. What you will want to do instead is extend sympathy towards them. Understand what they are trying to accomplish.
You will have to put your foot down and make it clear when their goals are unethical. Most people, both addicts and teenagers, will say that they are seeking drugs to have fun or be more social. Those are easy motives to work with. But they might also say they want to get high.
That is a case where you are going to have to tell them that their desire is wrong in and of itself. And that is a tough battle to fight, as it requires you to be in a position of authority over them, or at least be perceived as being an authority over them. This is why it pays to take things calmly.
The most practical solution for dealing with drug-seekers is removal of their capabilities to acquire the drugs. As we mentioned before, getting a hold of drugs requires specific circumstances. Alien the drug seeker from the people and places they would get a fix.
How to Help an Addict Recover
Let’s imagine that the worst has transpired. Your loved one has developed a problem or fallen back into one. What do you do to help them get out of this situation?
The first step is to be patient. Remember that no matter how they act, they are still your loved one. That means that no matter how tempting it is, you are not trying to bully them into behaving properly. That never works. And the reason that never works is complicated.
Anyone going through addiction is isolating themselves. They put themselves in a vicious cycle of using a substance to solve a problem, then creating a new problem by becoming dependent on the substance. This leads to more substance abuse. You want to break this cycle.
The first step is getting them off the substance and onto some sort of medical treatment to deal with any physical symptoms of withdrawal that they have. Then, you will want to help them make a plan. Mentally reconcile with them what they will have to go through and how to do it.
Something that will come both first and last is the emotional resolution of dealing with substance abuse. It will start with reminding them of your connection and how their substance abuse harms it. Don’t make it a “it’s me or the drug” ultimatum though. They might call that bluff.
This emotional bond, forgiveness, and patience will be critical to getting them through their problem. If you mess up and get mad or impatient, that’s fine. You are human, it happens.
Just keep your eye on the prize.
The “prize” obviously being recovery. And remember, recovery is possible. It is something we have both studied and practiced extensively. We have plenty of resources for helping you understand what addicts are going through, as well as what to do about it.
So, come visit us here: https://www.oceanrecovery.com/los-angeles-alcohol-detox/