How to Treat a Recovering Opiate Addict

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 24.6 million people are addicted to one opiate or another worldwide. Many of them seek treatment and are in recovery. One of the most frustrating things when you have a friend or loved one in recovery is knowing how to treat them when you know. To most people, this is an embarrassing often worrisome issue that can be painfully uncomfortable. You can do a few things when you are talking to an addict that will make you both feel more comfortable.

Remember they are the Same People

A recovering addict is the same person that they were before the addiction. They have the same thoughts and feelings. They may have been different on the drugs but as the drugs leave their system they will return to a person that is closer to the person you knew before the addiction. Some of their attitudes and behaviors may have changed but they are essentially the same. If you treat them how you treated them before the addiction, they will be grateful for it.

Remember they are Struggling

Depending on where they are in recovery, they are struggling with cravings and the desire to use opiates. It is difficult to watch someone struggle, but the best thing that you can do is be there for them.

If They Want to Talk about it let Them Talk

Not everyone who is a recovering addict wants to constantly talk about their addiction. If they want to talk about it they will. If they do not, then do not focus on it. The best thing that you can do is listen to them if they want to talk about it but do not pry. Some people are very open about their addictions and the problems that go with it, while others are less so.

Remember not Everything is Going to Trigger a Craving

Just because a recovering addict is around opiates or other drugs, does not mean they are automatically going to relapse if they see what they are addicted to. Some opiate addicts have issues being around the drugs, others do not. Every individual is unique.

Just Relax, not Everything is About the Drugs


It will take time to restore trust with a recovering addict.

Remembering to relax around the addict is always a good idea. Although they might think about using regularly or crave the opiate, they are not always looking for the drug. Acting normal is the key to redeveloping your relationship with the recovering addict.

It is Okay that Trust is Still an Issue

The recovering opiate addict knows that the drug use is still a factor in the relationship. They do not need constant reminders of what they did while addicted or what happened. You might not trust them completely at first and that is all right. Trust develops over time.

Remember Recovery is a Difficult Process

The recovering addict is going through pain, cravings, and other symptoms of addiction. This is very difficult. Remember you can help support them emotionally but only if you are ready for it. There are programs that can help you realize the best ways to treat a recovering addict and how to behave around them. Programs like Narc-Anon, will help you learn how to deal with an opiate addict.

Being around a recovering opiate addict, can be extremely difficult but it is important for them to understand that you still care for and support them. For more information about how to treat a recovering opiate addict, call us at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? .

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