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.
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.
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.
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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