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Xpert Interventionist Q & A

How Do I Know If My Son or Daughter Is Addicted to Drugs?

Being able to spot a drug addiction is not always easy, and all the years I have been working with addicts, there are times where I have had to look twice. However, many of the obvious social cues are easy to pick up on. For example, someone who is abusing drugs will tend to sacrifice the things they enjoy. They may have been avid about playing hockey or other sports or enjoy outdoor activities such as camping. Someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol may avoid these things, and choose not to meet up with friends. There are also patterns of dropping hobbies or pastimes they enjoy, and because of the addiction they may physically not be able to take part. The secrecy and solitude is also a clear indicator, most addicts choose to be by themselves, and avoid family and friends. Of course, there is the financial indicator, with them not having any money or always asking for money. The physical signs of addiction would include rapid weight loss or weight gain, noticeable sores that never heal, and always looking tired or worn out. Addicts also tend to take certain risks, many of which may be dangerous. They may start hanging around with a different crowd of people and avoid their current friends. Drastic mood swings are seen, and happen frequently at home, especially with parents. If you start to notice these changes, that would be the time to start asking questions. As parents, you should have a straight forward and caring conversation with your son and daughter.

What Goes into Choosing the Right Drug Rehabilitation Center?

Across Canada, there are many different treatment options to choose from, private, government-funded, inpatient, and outpatient. There are also countless treatment methodologies and counseling methods to help addicts. When I am working with families who are choosing drug treatment, I try to gather as much information from them about the addict. Choosing the right form of treatment is about finding a program that will benefit the addict. Every addiction is different, and not every form of treatment will work for each addict. Some addicts have been abusing drugs for many years, with numerous underlying issues. Other addicts are recreational drug users, and are not using heavily daily or facing numerous problems caused by their addiction. An assessment is important, and this will narrow down the treatment options. Based on the assessment you can choose what facility will be the right fit for them. A family must also look at financing because not every treatment program is funded. The family must explore options to pay for drug rehab. Most drug treatment centers offer different types of financial solutions, and everyone is different. Finally, look at the credentials of the program, the qualifications of the staff, is the facility accredited, etc. Many programs in Canada are accredited by external accrediting bodies, and this does make a difference with how families choose treatment.

What If They Are Unwilling to Go to Drug Rehab?

The many times I have done interventions, I have always noticed that most addicts become willing to seek out treatment. However, they are often faced with a bottom line because of the intervention and are faced with no other options but treatment. Intervention is the most successful way to help any addict understand the importance of treatment. Most addicts will have blinders on and will not see what is front of them besides their addiction. The family is witnessing them destroy his or her life, and more often they feel helpless and not knowing what to do. When families contact me for intervention, I will walk them through every step. And interventions are successful when the family is on board, and everyone is working towards the same goal. The best way to convince an addict to get treatment is to hire a professional interventionist. There are numerous intervention groups in Canada who will travel to any province or territory and do the intervention. This comes down to saving the addict's life, and doing whatever it takes to do this.

How Do Families Pay for Treatment When Considering Private Drug Rehab?

Paying for drug treatment is not always easy, many families are maxed financially because of the addiction. Other families may have already paid for treatment more than once, and are at the end of the line when it comes to paying for more. If the family is exploring treatment options, then part of them wants to help their loved one. However, there will be a consideration with wanting to pay for private treatment. If this is the first treatment program they are considering, then there may not be many barriers to consider. Most private drug rehabilitation programs provide payment plan options or may refer you to a third-party financing service. Some families will consider a line of credit, loan, or pulling money from savings. There are options to consider, and I would encourage families to look at as many as they can. If a family has already paid for treatment more than once, and are considering another go at it, this can be a more difficult situation to justify doing again. I would encourage families to consider the programs they are speaking with. Talk with the experts and the professionals who treat addiction, and get a sense of the treatment methods provided. Addicts in situations where they have been through treatment more than once often come around and eventually want to do something. The same financial options are available, and families should look at these when they are searching for another program.

What Advice Would You Give to People Who Are Choosing to Abuse Drugs or Alcohol?

Understand the risks involved; even recreational drug use can lead to addiction. The substances you are using may seem like a good idea or are solving a physical or emotional problem, but it eventually leads to serious issues. Having a drink every day to deal with stress can lead to having multiple drinks every day to cope. Young people are especially at risk and are exposed to so many things making drug and alcohol use as being normal. Stay educated about drugs and alcohol, and keep yourself informed. So many of the drugs being used today are being cut with other dangerous substances and the risk of overdose is high. The synthetic drugs being passed around have a potency strong enough to kill you. The risk is high, and even after you get educated, and you still choose to use drugs, you are taking your life into your own hands. If you are dealing with physical or emotional pain, there are many other healthier ways to cope. Reach out for help, and find someone you can talk to about the issues you are facing.

Sylvain Fournier, Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist