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How to Help Someone with Drug Addiction

If you know someone who is having a challenging time letting go of drug addiction, it can be a tough time for you as well. You care for this person and want the best for him or her. But before you push them into going to a rehabilitation facility, it’s first important that you understand what they’re going through. Here are the things that you need to know about how to help someone with drug addiction.

What You Need to Know about Drug Addiction

In previous years, drug abuse has been an increasingly growing problem among Canadian adults and youth, regardless of gender and age. The harmful and excessive use of drugs other than for medication purposes leads to numerous health problems that affect the overall well-being of the person. There are signs and symptoms of drug addiction and abuse that could help determine the problem at an early stage for immediate addiction treatment or intervention.

One of the tendencies of drug addicts is to increasingly and regularly use the drug several times every day even to the point of endangering themselves and other people.

Drug abuse affects people in different ways and levels but you would know addiction when they start neglecting and not giving importance to things they prioritized before. These may include family, friends, work, school, social activities, recreations, and other commitments.

The person that is hooked into drugs spends an enormous amount of time using, accessing and recovering yet going back to using drugs. Drug addicts become secretive particularly on their financial spending and their tendency to overspend on drugs just to satisfy their compulsive cravings.

Substance abusers may eventually resort to illegal and risky activities such as stealing money or driving without caution. Drug addiction leads a person to have cognitive and memory problems as well as keeping up with their commitments. Some of the physiological manifestations of drug problems include nausea and vomiting, bloodshot eyes, sleeping disorders or sleep pattern changes, and decreased appetite.

The Drug Problem: Drug Tolerance and Overdose

Substance abuse results in the need for a higher dosage in order to achieve the same effects and this is how a drug addict develops tolerance to drugs. Consequently, drug users who have higher and increased tolerance are also the most susceptible to a drug overdose.

An overdose happens when the substance user consumes more drugs than his body can handle. There are serious and permanent symptoms of a drug overdose, and in worse scenarios, death.

The common symptoms of drug overdose include seizures, dilated or pinpoint pupils, bluish skin, loss of consciousness and eventually coma, alteration in the breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure, and hypothermia or hyperthermia.

Drug addiction destroys lives not just of the ones addicted to drugs but the people around them as well. The good news is that Canadian drug dependents and abusers can now access support efforts, addiction treatment systems, services, and programs that comprehensively address the problems of illicit and prescription drugs. There are also continuous researches on newer treatment models that cater to the individual needs of the drug dependent.

Is Drug Addiction in Canada Getting Out of Control?

Drug addiction is a massive problem in Canada with a growing number of young people and adults succumbing to substance abuse and its negative consequences. There are various types of illicit and even prescription drugs that are commonly abused and used for non-medical purposes. It helps to know these drugs, how they work and how they are used, along with the corresponding Canadian statistics that show their impact on a personal and social level.

Most Abused Substances in Canada

The problem of substance abuse and addiction may be closer than you think because someone in your family or circle of friends may just be suffering from one right now. Here is a list of some of the most abused substances.

Cocaine addiction

Also known as powder lines, blow, coke, crack, and snow, cocaine is a stimulant that affects the brain’s reward system which makes it addictive. Cocaine triggers and traps dopamine, a brain chemical that is responsible for pleasurable feelings such as the sense of happiness after you have a fill of your favourite food.

The drug intake results in a pleasurable high through an elevated dopamine level and the need to maintain that high is what makes it addictive. According to available statistics, Toronto has approximately 1 to 2 cases of cocaine-related deaths per 100,000 residents while Vancouver has 30 reported deaths. Cocaine is also the most common drug of choice that is administered through injection.

Ecstasy addiction

The synthetic or man-made drug is used as a party pill and is also common among club goers due to its hallucinogenic effects. Ecstasy affects the serotonin levels of the brain, resulting in an increased level of euphoria and energy as well as lessens inhibitions. The drug releases a glorious rush of serotonin leading to an overflow of emotions and magnifies the senses.

There have been reports of the negative, sometimes fatal effects of ecstasy to the user such as the tendency of the drug to destroy brain terminals and toxicity. According to a study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, ecstasy users have lower levels of serotonin transporters while a reported teen death due to the “Happy Pill” is front news in the Calgary Sun.

Heroin addiction

The drug is a depressant which mimics the effects of painkillers particularly in the production of endorphins, a painkilling chemical. It slows metabolism, breathing, and heart rate as it intensifies the effects of endorphin, causing a feeling of contentment that would generally last for hours.

Heroin is the third most commonly used street drug among young people in Canada which is administered via injection. The use of heroin has increased in recent years while law enforcement operations are ongoing to seize heroin off the streets.

Crystal-Meth addiction

This drug is used as a stimulant for the nervous system and an appetite suppressant. It is one of the fastest and most serious drug concerns among teens in Canada today. Crystal meth is popular because it can be made from chemicals that can be obtained legally.

Alcohol addiction

Generally, alcohol in beverages refers to ethanol or grain alcohol. When consumed, alcohol renders a depressing effect, decreasing the responses of a person’s central nervous system.

When someone drinks alcohol real hard and has been doing it for a long time, he is then classified as an alcoholic. An alcoholic person continues to consume alcohol despite the negative social consequences and health problems taking place in his life.

Cannabis addiction

Cannabis or marijuana is a flowering plant which is believed to have originated from the mountainous regions of the northern Himalayas. Otherwise known as weed, hemp or pot, cannabis is commonly used for smoking purposes. As a drug, cannabis usually comes in the form of resin or hashish, dried flowers or marijuana and various extracts or hash oil.

Smoking marijuana dates back to 3rd millennium BC but in the modern era, cannabis has become a drug that is used for recreational, medicinal and spiritual purposes. All over the world, about 162 million people make use of cannabis every year and 22.5 million people every day. In the early part of the 20th century, the possession, sale and use of this psychoactive drug (cannabis products) were prohibited in almost all parts of the world.

Other substances that are linked to drug addiction include prescription narcotics and stimulants, solvent, glue, inhalant, Methadone, Benzodiazepines and barbiturates, and oxycontin.

The rampant issue of drug abuse and addiction paves the way for more and more treatment facilities and government efforts to support addicts that want to go back to drug-free living.

methadone addiction

How to Help Someone Overcome Drug Addiction

When you know someone who is struggling with drug addiction, attaining sobriety for them may seem to be hard and impossible. But their way to recovery is possible no matter how difficult and hopeless their situation may be.

Keep in mind that change is always possible as long as you and your loved one can come up with the right treatment, and of course, the kind of support that they get from people around them.

Along with these, determining and addressing the root cause of their addiction needs to be considered as well. Do not give up; continue to support them and their aim to recover even if they have failed in their initial attempts.

Take note that the road to recovery is not going to be a walk in the park. As they pave the way to recovery, they will have to encounter pitfalls, bumps, obstacles, setbacks, and hindrances. But if they can examine their problem and think about change, they are practically ready to go.

How to Convince Someone to Change for the Better

In Canada, many people are struggling with drug addiction and not too many of them are aware of the tough parts of their recovery. The toughest part though is when someone has to decide for a change.

Uncertainty is something normal, especially in making a decision to change for the better. It is alright if your loved one is torn. In fact, committing oneself to sobriety involves making changes in things such as the following:

  • How they perceive yourself
  • What they usually do during their free time
  • The person whom they allow to enter their lives
  • How they deal with life’s stresses

If your loved one is on their way to make significant changes toward drug recovery, it is important to consider the following:

  • Help them be aware of their drug use. This includes the time when they use it and how much is the dosage they use in a given time. This is something that provides them with a much better sense of how addiction plays in their life.
  • Help them list all the advantages and disadvantages of quitting. They should also include how much they will have to spend if you continue using and how much benefit they will get if they quit.
  • Make them consider all things that really matter to them including their partner, kids, pets, career, health, etc. How is their addiction affecting the family and these entities?
  • Assist them in finding other trusted persons and ask them about their feelings toward your loved one’s drug addiction.
  • Ask your loved one if there is something that prevents them from making changes. Determine the ways on how they can make changes.

5 Key Steps to Drug Addiction Recovery

There are certain things that need to be considered as far as the war on drugs is concerned. Here are the five key steps that will lead your loved one to an effective and successful drug recovery:

  1. Always remind them of the reasons for their changes.
  2. Make them think of their previous attempts to recover – things that work and things that didn’t.
  3. Help them set specific and measurable goals including date and limitations on their drug use.
  4. Assist them in avoiding all things that remind them of drugs.
  5. Tell your loved one to inform other important people about their way to recovery.

How to Break the Stigma of Drug Addiction

Like many people who are somehow “different” to the society’s standards of what “normal” should be, those struggling with addictions are subjected to stigmas that can be extremely damaging.

Because of these stigmas, people with addictions are at higher-than-average risk of unemployment and homelessness. Their sense of self-worth, which is often low, to begin with, takes a dive and they are increasingly unlikely to get the help they need.

It is easy to say that people with addictions have made their own beds and now they must lie in them, but most situations are far more complex than that. Addictions have all kinds of origins – some of them are results of poor choices, others are borne of circumstances.

Regardless of how addiction starts, the person suffering from it has a far greater chance of overcoming it if the people around them are non-judgmental and supportive. If you remember these facts about addiction, you can help break down the social stigmas and give addicts a better chance at overcoming their challenges and improving their lives.

Addiction is a disease

People suffering from addiction do not have control over their cravings. Those who do try to quit often experience such frightening withdrawal symptoms that they don’t feel that they can survive without taking the drugs or alcohol.

People are separate from their addictions

The addictions can make them behave in ways that appear to be selfish, aggressive or irresponsible. But those are symptoms of the addiction – it does not mean that the person is innately selfish, aggressive or irresponsible.

Most addictions have a backstory

Some addicts were bullied as teens. Others were childhood victims of sexual molestation. There are veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mothers with post-partum depression, people with mental illnesses, and many other people whose addictions have a root cause.

Some people are born with a genetic predisposition for addiction

They have a natural disadvantage when it comes to coping with anxiety or conflict in their lives. The cycle of addiction can be passed from one generation to the next. Children who are raised in a home with parents who are addicts have a far greater likelihood of becoming addicts themselves. If the parents are given help, the benefits to younger generations can be immediate.

Most people are inherently good, and that includes those who suffer from addictions. Addicts are human beings, and just like anyone else, they deserve the opportunity to turn their lives into something positive. Many people who recover from addictions go on to accomplish remarkable things. They just need a helping hand and support along the way.

Understanding Why Your Loved One Doesn’t Want to Go to Rehab

Even though Canada suffers from a strong prevalence of drug abuse, only 1 in 10 people suffering from addiction seek out some form of treatment. The stats are unfortunate since there are many resources for individuals to take advantage of. This includes online information, inpatient rehabilitation, and help phone lines.

Many individuals choose not to admit themselves to rehabilitation for a number of personal reasons. Whether these reasons are acceptable or not, they are often the things that stop people from getting the help they so desperately need.

If someone you know requires rehabilitation but refuses to attend, it may be hard to understand. However, the following are 5 reasons people don’t go to rehab, to help you get a better grasp on the potential underlying issues.


When it comes down to it, a lot of addicts are simply afraid of the unknown. If they’ve never been to a rehabilitation facility before, they may have created a false assumption of what it will be like, or that they will have a terrible time while they’re there.

They may also fear the idea of not having their substance to use, or that they will fail at completing the treatment. Of all of the reasons people don’t go to rehab, fear of the unknown tends to be one of the main issues that addicts struggle with.

Previous Experiences

Some addicts have already tried to admit themselves to rehab and most likely had a bad experience. This could be for a number of reasons, but it is often that addicts don’t enjoy themselves because they were not ready to get clean in the first place.

Having a poor experience in the past may stop addicts from wanting to give rehab another try, and they may attempt to recover on their own instead. This is where your support is vital.

Judgement from Others

It is never easy admitting to having an addiction problem of any kind. Many addicts fear what others will think of them, or that word will spread that they’re attending a rehabilitation program.

What is important to note is that individuals can admit themselves to rehabilitation without anyone knowing, and their information is kept as confidential as they request. It is suggested that those with severe fears about this issue consider attending rehabilitation in another town or province, as a way of decreasing their anxiety and focusing on their treatment.

Not Enough Time

Many addicts feel that they don’t have the time to take part in 30 or 60-day inpatient treatments, either because of family or job obligations. They may decide to put off attending rehab until a time when things are less busy. Unfortunately, this is often an excuse not to go at all.


When it comes down to it, some addicts just don’t think their situation is all that serious. They may deny that they have an addiction, or disagree that attending rehabilitation is as necessary as everyone is telling them. Denial is a common response to family worries and interventions, and it is one of the main reasons people don’t go to rehab.

Other reasons people don’t go to rehab include the potential costs of the programs, as well as their unwillingness to open up and share with others. But a good thing is that drug addiction is not such a taboo topic anymore in this day and age. Loved ones of addicts might consider reaching out to them about the many options they have for treatment.

Relapse and the Road to Recovery

Many people complete their treatment programs for substance abuse and head home to begin the recovery stage of their journey. However, not everyone is able to stick to their plan, and many people relapse.

Relapse is common; many people struggle to maintain their newfound sobriety or they haven’t prepared themselves properly to succeed. There are some signs to look for that can suggest potential relapses. By recognizing these signs, support systems of users may be able to stop a relapse before it happens.

Signs of Drug Addiction Relapse

To recognize potential relapses, the following are 7 warning signs of relapse to keep an eye out for:

Stop Attending Meetings

The 12-step program meetings, AA meetings and other gatherings are put in place to help recovering addicts maintain their sobriety. Here, individuals are surrounded by support and they are reminded of how far they have come.

An individual who may relapse will likely stop going to these meetings, or begin making up excuses for why they cannot go. Whether they say it’s boring, too long or unhelpful, this is a surefire warning sign that they don’t think they need help anymore.

Rekindle Bad Relationships

If an ex-user has begun surrounding themselves with their old crowd of users, a relapse is certainly possible. These friends or acquaintances are likely still using, and they act as severe triggers for a recovering addict to start using again.

Ditching Positive Elements

To maintain sobriety, many people rely on a few positive reinforcements to keep them going. Items such as writing journals, a group of clean friends and new hobbies are ideal for keeping them busy and clean.

If an individual begins getting rid of these positive influences, that’s certainly a red flag. This is one of the clear warning signs of relapse since these factors were they to help support and maintain a sober life.

Defensive Attitude

When friends and family approach an ex-user about potential relapses, they may respond with a moody and defensive attitude. Although others will explain the changes they’ve noticed in attitude and behaviour, a user will likely deny any of these changes. This is usually because the user recognizes it in themselves, but they are too ashamed to admit that they’re losing control.

Testing Their Limits

When a recovering addict starts thinking about testing their control, this is usually a sign that they’re thinking about using again. The most obvious warning signs of relapse include those where the ex-user actually takes that first drink or drug, just to see if they have the control to stop themselves after that. Generally, the recovering addict already knows they won’t be able to, but this is a great excuse to get that first hit again.

Romanticizing the Past

It is common for users to fantasize about all of the good times they had when using, and to ignore or forget all of the bad things that happened. Romanticizing about previous encounters with a substance is a warning sign that an addict will relapse because they’re denying that anything bad ever came of it.

Keeping an open line of communication is a great way to let your loved one know that you are there for them; relapse is very common and it may help to know that you support them even when they struggle.

How to Choose the Best Drug Rehabilitation Facility in Canada

Addiction Canada is one of the premier facilities in the country that offers flexible addiction recovery treatments. There are different locations, settings, and actual programs that cater to the unique and varied needs and financial situations of the client. The facility focuses on contemporary approaches particularly on cases that require effort, time, and aftercare programs for full recovery.

What makes Addiction Canada different?

Drug abuse clients mainly require privacy and the need to preserve self-respect and dignity and this is what the addiction recovery centre offers through one-on-one attention at the highest level.

There is close monitoring of the recovery of each patient and the provision of an effective healing ambience that is efficiently designed for drug addiction rehabilitation. The Non-12-Step Treatment Program is the unique treatment feature that only Addiction Canada offers.

What’s the Non-12-Step Program?

The Addiction Canada Empowerment Program or ACE offers the Non-12 Step cognitive program that is designed to get into the root cause of the addiction through a solution-based cognitive approach. It also focuses on the empowerment of the individual through a uniquely developed recovery program based on the individual’s history and substance abuse problems.

The approach seeks to find better matches of support groups and the addiction recovery programs that suit their approach in order to facilitate optimal response. It also encourages more public knowledge of the support alternatives and philosophies that dig deeper into the underlying issues of addiction.

Transparency and Support

Addiction Rehab Toronto has accredited staff members and professionals that provide the support that your loved one needs; supporting them from day one. The services offered are transparent and give a detailed account of the patient’s progress and other salient information necessary for full recovery and treatment.

Must-Know Details about Addiction Canada

Addiction recovery clients find a reliable and strong foundation towards their journey to a drug-free lifestyle. The recovery facility welcomes clients and offers them numerous services based on their addiction treatment needs, budget, and other preferences. Here are some of the basic things you need to learn about the centre:

  • Treatment Fees. Clients can choose the rehab location and the accommodation that suits their needs including meals, sports activities, resources, and the programmed therapy and counselling sessions for full permanent recovery.
  • Critical Detoxification. Detox is one of the first steps to recovery and Addiction Canada offers an effective process during the initial stages of treatment. These processes alleviate the discomforts from physical withdrawal and provide a good springboard to recovery from addiction.
  • Outstanding Lodgings. There are top quality accommodations for stay-in clients such as the bedrooms that are fully equipped with facilities including a spacious living area and Jacuzzi. There are also rooms with scenic views and panoramic backgrounds.

Substance abuse is a critical issue that has been bombarding the country for decades and Addiction Canada is one of the many initiatives that aim to empower the individual on the road to recovery. The centre utilizes programs and approaches that guarantee full and permanent treatment with high success rates. Get the help that your loved one needs today.