Should I Blame the Friends My Loved One is Hanging Out With?
It’s tempting and even understandable to want to blame your loved one’s friends for the addiction that has harmed your relationship. Maybe blaming them makes you feel better because you don’t have to feel so guilty yourself. In reality, however, the person who’s responsible and accountable for addiction is the addict, rather than anyone else in their life.
Yes, peer pressure is often a factor when someone starts using drugs, especially in the teenage and young adult years. But you shouldn’t blame anyone else—or yourself—for addiction, or for the experimentation and self-medication that may have paved the way to it.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t draw lines when your loved one’s friends pressure them to use drugs or alcohol. That social circle clearly has a negative influence on your loved one, and you want to keep them away from it if possible. But blaming allows your loved one an escape route away from accepting the responsibility for their own addiction—and that acceptance is a vital step they must take if they’re to recover.
Blaming their friends for the depth of their addiction hinders them from learning from their experiences and letting them rise above it. Holding them accountable for their actions is important.
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50% of adolescents believe that prescription pills are safer than illegal drugs.
Experimentation With Substance Abuse During the Teenage and Young Adult Years
Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to dabbling with addictive substances, often out of boredom, curiosity, or the need to share a bonding experience with peers.
Peer pressure is at its height during these years, and when your loved one sees friends using drugs at fraternity parties or other college events, the pressure to join in can be overwhelming.
The stress of these years, as your loved one tries to find their place in the world, is an added pressure, and many turn to drugs to escape from stress or from depression or low self-esteem since the drugs make them feel better.
More than a few young people are introduced to dangerous substances when they turn to trusted doctors after injuries, in sports and otherwise.
The prescription for OxyContin or other painkillers can seem like a godsend at the moment and turn into a crippling addiction all too quickly.
Self-Medication and the Symptoms for Co-occurring Disorders & Trauma
While some of your loved one’s friends may have be involved with substance abuse themselves, they have nothing to do with any underlying mental issues your loved one is dealing with. Many people use drugs or alcohol to deal with the emotional pain they feel after experiencing trauma or bullying.
In addition, many people start using drugs as a form of self-medication as they try to cope with a variety of mental health disorders, including anxiety, PTSD, depression, and eating disorders.
It can be hard to try to figure out which symptoms are due to substance abuse and which are due to mental illness when dealing with these co-occurring disorders. This chicken-or-the-egg situation feeds on itself: Someone might try to escape clinical depression by self-medicating with drugs, while another person might experience severe symptoms of depression as a result of taking opioids.
Several drugs, such as alcohol, cocaine, THC, methamphetamines, and LSD, can cause depression, anxiety, and psychosis. The only way to determine if these symptoms are drug-induced is for the individual to remain clean long enough to see if the symptoms subside.
If your loved one is battling both a mental health disorder and substance abuse issues, they must receive treatment for both disorders at the same time. Trying to treat one while ignoring the other doesn’t work and can even make the symptoms of both disorders worse.
A Better Today Recovery Services can connect you with a recovery program that can offer the treatment that co-occurring disorders patient’s need. Regardless of your circumstances, we are ready to help you find the answers you need.
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The goal of treatment for substance addiction is to help your loved one develop healthy coping mechanisms and return to a normal life. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy during treatment, your loved one can change both their attitude and behavior regarding substance abuse. They can also learn healthy life skills and start setting constructive goals.
Treatment for substance abuse issues can take place both in an inpatient or outpatient setting. In a medically-supervised, reputable treatment program, your loved one will undergo one-on-one therapy to work through their issues and learn how to respond to triggers in the future. They will also undergo a full mental health assessment to make sure that any co-occurring mental health disorders are also being treated simultaneously to increase the chances of a successful recovery.
Patients often also go through group therapy and family therapy as part of treatment. When they are introduced to a community of people who are dedicated to leading sober and fulfilling lives, your loved one can start to understand their own behavior from a new perspective. Being part of a support group like this also helps them take advantage of the available personal support to make the needed changes in their lifestyles.