If someone you care about struggles with a substance abuse problem like cocaine addiction in New York or Princeton, you may be unsure of how to start addressing the problem. Your loved ones’ addiction has likely already taken an emotional toll on you, and you’ve probably learned that lecturing, pleading and reasoning will seldom get through to an addict in any meaningful way.
Those with substance abuse problems often have significant difficulty admitting that a problem actually exists. It may be especially hard to motivate your loved one to seek treatment if he or she continues to function at a high level. Your loved one may not fit the stereotype of a hopeless addict and may keep up the façade of a normal life even as substance abuse begins to take a substantial toll behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, even those who accept that they have a substance abuse problem face a number of barriers that may prevent them from seeking treatment, including:
- Fear of exposure. Your loved one may be concerned that entering a treatment program, or even attending group self-help meetings, will stigmatize them.
- Ambivalence towards drug-related consequences. Though the issues of drug use can be quite clear after a serious crisis, your loved one may quickly forget the pain of the problems caused, and this can make it difficult to achieve long-term motivation to change.
Some friends and family members of addicts try to deal with these barriers head-on by cutting off support or staging confrontational interventions. Though interventions can sometimes be effective as a last resort, these tactics can also backfire, leading to self-destructive behavior on the part of the addict—especially if attempted without professional guidance.
Instead, it’s best to take a gradual approach that slowly encourages your loved one to realize that his or her situation is unacceptable and needs to be changed. If you have a loved one who struggles with alcoholism, cocaine addiction or another substance abuse problem, the most important step in facilitating change is to consult an addiction specialist who can offer counseling and strategies that help you steadily motivate your loved one to seek treatment. An addiction specialist may point out ways that you’re inadvertently ignoring or enabling the addiction, as well as positive ways to move forward.