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Drug Abuse And Addiction

Alcohol or other drug problems can affect both the person with the addiction and others around them. As a carer, support and resources are available to help you, so while it can impact your lifestyle and life choices, you are not alone.

About drug problems

Substance abuse is the harmful use of drugs or alcohol for non-medical purposes. It can involve illicit drugs, but can also involve legal substances such as alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medications, caffeine and nicotine.

Caring for someone with a drug problem

You may want to help the person you care for. Some specific ways you can provide care include:

  • learning about why people misuse substances, and the effects on the mind and body

  • listening without interrupting, being judgmental or offering your opinion

  • being realistic about what you can do, as no one can be forced to change

  • providing encouragement, guidance and information about what treatment and support is available when they are ready to make changes

  • acknowledging any positive changes, however big or small

  • encouraging responsibility by not cleaning up their ‘mess’, such as paying their fines.

Looking after yourself

It’s important that you also look after yourself. You can try to:

  • set clear and consistent boundaries to protect yourself from the consequences of the substance abuse

  • take regular time out (respite) for yourself

  • talk to others about how you feel, join a carer support group or seek counselling if you need it

  • be reasonable about what you can and can’t do

  • plan and organise what you need to do

  • remember that continued drug use is their responsibility, not yours

  • know the signs that you’re becoming stressed and have a plan for when this happens

  • understand your legal and financial rights.

You should consider asking for help when you need it. Getting the help you need can benefit both you and the person you care for.

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