Helping Your Friend through Detox
Detoxing from drugs and alcohol can be one of the most difficult and painful experiences a person can go through, especially if the drug in question is particularly potent or the addiction severe. If you have a friend or loved one that is about to go through this difficult process, he or she will need all the help you can give to get them through the gauntlet.
The body is going to think it’s starving or dying and the associated symptoms will surely feel like death. Sometimes a detox is severe enough to require professional medical care and shouldn’t be attempted at home. But if you’re friend is lucky enough to have you by his or her side during this difficult process, here are a few ways to be as supportive as possible.
1. Be a Good Nurse
Regardless of whether your friend is in the hospital or not, it’s important that you help with the little things like taking a drink of water or getting some food down. Help with comfort in the best ways you can, offering pillows and blankets. These are simple things but they make a big difference to a person who will be likely weak, shaking, and in pain for days.
2. Be a Vigilant Guardian
During a painful detox, it will be extremely tempting for the person undergoing the discomfort of withdrawal to want to make it all stop by getting a fix or a drink. You as the friend and guardian can’t allow this to happen, as it will undo all the work that’s already been done to weather the detox. Keep drugs and alcohol out of the house and far away.
3. Offer Distractions
The best part of having you there by your friend’s side is that he/she isn’t alone. Just having someone to respond when they groan in pain or to tell stories and jokes to pass the time will make the whole process much easier. If the patient isn’t in the mood, you can program something on the television or just sit closely by to be there if you’re needed.
4. Offer Encouragement
This one seems obvious but continually reminding your friend that this is a good thing to be doing, despite the challenge, is helpful and can push them through to the end. Be supportive and encouraging, reminding the patient that it will all be over soon. That voice of assurance can get a person through some very dark places.
5. Know When to Call for Help
If your friend is severely addicted to heroin, meth, or crack cocaine, a detox at home may not be an option. The same can be true of a severe alcohol addiction. These drugs create such a powerful dependency within the body that a sudden lack of them in the bloodstream can induce severe sickness, convulsions, and cardiovascular stress. Stay in contact with your local hospital, keep them informed of your friend’s symptoms and situation. If it’s serious enough, and you are advised to do so by a medical professional, it’s important that you get your friend into medical care. We all want to do it alone but sometimes surviving the detox means doing it under a doctor’s supervision, just in case advanced medical procedures are medications are required.