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When to get help for drug addiction

Using drugs to cope with life’s problems often makes the existing situation worse and can sometimes cause new problems to develop, leaving a person feeling helpless or ashamed. Help for drug addiction is widely available, however, as Port of Call explains in this blog.

If you’re worried about your drug use, or that of a friend or family member, it’s important to know that help is available. Learning about drug abuse and addiction, why and how it develops, what it looks like, and why it can have such a powerful hold on a person will give you and the people who care about you, a better understanding of when to get help for drug addiction, how best to deal with it and where to go for drug addiction help.

when to get help for drug addiction

Common signs of drug addiction

Drug addiction usually begins when a person develops a tolerance for the substance they are taking. This leads to them using drugs in higher quantities and more frequently to get the highs they are looking for. When you use drugs for a prolonged period of time, your body develops a chemical dependency to the drug. Addiction occurs when a chemical dependency is combined with a strong desire to use the substance.

Knowing how to spot the signs and when to get help for drug addiction, for you or someone close to you, is important. Approaching such a sensitive subject with a loved one needs to be handled with care. It’s important you don’t confront them in a way that may cause an argument. Some people who use drugs may get angry very easily, so you need to handle the situation with care and sensitivity. It’s natural to be a little bit afraid of approaching someone you care about to ask them about their drug use, but doing so could have a profound effect on a person’s life.

Some of the physical warning signs of drug abuse can be:

  • Bloodshot eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual.
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming habits.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body or clothing.
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination.

Some of the psychological warning signs of drug abuse can be:

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness.
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or ‘spaced out’.
  • Appearing to be fearful, anxious, or paranoid for no reason.

Where to get drug addiction help

If you, or someone close to you has an issue with drugs, there are a wide range of addiction services that can help. Some services are provided free of charge by the NHS, and some are specialist drug facilities run by charities and private organisations. You can also get help from your GP. They will discuss your concerns with you, assess the nature of your problems, and help you to choose the most appropriate drug treatment. They might offer to treat you themselves or refer you on to your local specialist drug service. Of course, Port of Call also offers free and confidential advice and support, and can organise your drug treatment programme for you – whether that be a detox, drug rehab, drug counselling or another relevant service.

Who can help with drug addiction?

Your local drug treatment service:

If you are seen at your local drug treatment service, you will first be assessed to find out what the most appropriate solution might be. If you are deemed appropriate for treatment, you will then be allocated a keyworker. This keyworker may be a doctor, nurse or a drugs worker. Your keyworker will help you to organise the treatment you need and develop a personalised care plan with you. They will be your first point of call throughout the treatment process and you will see them for regular one-to-one sessions as long as your treatment programme lasts.

Charities and private drugs treatment:

Outside of the NHS, there are lots of voluntary sector and private drug treatment organisations that can help you. In addition to providing residential rehab centres, voluntary organisations also offer various community services. These include structured day programmes, outreach and harm reduction services, counselling, aftercare and housing support services. These organisations will usually be linked to NHS services in your area.

Make us your Port of Call

Whatever your issue might be, if you or a loved one is trying to face up to drug addiction, Port of Call is here to help you to access the advice and support that is right for you. With access to a wide and varied network of drug rehab centres and treatment programmes, our expert team is waiting to take your call. We can find a rehab local to you, or further afield if you prefer. If you are unsure as to how to get drug addiction help, don’t delay – take that first step towards recovery by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010, text ‘PORT’ to 82228 for a callback or email us at help@portofcall.com.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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