Jun 30, 2020 | By Tim Stoddart

3 Ways to Approach and Support Someone Abusing Cocaine


abusing cocaine

It’s not always easy to observe addiction from the outside, especially when someone is abusing cocaine. While the focus is understandably often on the addict themselves, it’s important to keep in mind those around them and close to them. Addiction can cause real harm to these individuals and, paradoxically, they also hold the key to helping those abusing cocaine to get sober.

Today we’re talking about how to support a person abusing cocaine in their efforts to get clean. These points are important to understand before talking to a person about their cocaine abuse and can help to frame the approach in a way that is conducive to a safer and more productive confrontation.

Mindset Matters

First and foremost, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the individual abusing the drug. The mental frame they inhabit determines their actions and, although the behavior of an addict can appear irrational and incomprehensible from the outside, it’s still possible to learn from considering their mental state directly.

A key point in this regard is the shame of substance abuse. Although cocaine is commonly depicted in the media as a party drug that’s used in glamorous and sociable ways, the reality of addiction to the drug is often more private and quiet. Many cocaine addicts consume the drug alone, falling further into the spiral of addiction in a secretive manner so as to hide the same of their addiction. This is key; addiction is a disease that grips the addict more strongly over time, pushing them away from friends and loved ones so that their consumption can continue unchecked.

Many adults who abuse drugs including cocaine in this fashion do so to alleviate the symptoms of social anxiety and depression. The origins of these can vary, but often include incidences of childhood trauma, which the majority of addicts in treatment have experienced in some manner. By understanding this we can appreciate better that their addiction originated as a coping mechanism which, due to the addictive properties of cocaine, then progresses into a more self-fueling addiction. 

Mood Swings are Common

It’s important to be ready for drastic changes in mood when a person is confronted about their substance abuse, and cocaine is no exception to the rule. As we’ve discussed, this kind of drug abuse is often rooted in a shame that the user would rather avoid and keep secret. When approaching someone, even in a friendly manner, the fear of this being exposed can lead to the individual lashing out.

Practically speaking, this means it’s sensible to talk to someone about their substance abuse in a place where an exit is possible. Once emotions get heated and reach a certain point, it’s likely that any chance of a fruitful discussion is gone at that moment. In such a situation it’s better and safer to retreat, give them space and return another time.

Timing is Important

Timing is doubly important where cocaine abuse is concerned due to the strong stimulant effect of the drug. If you are considering approaching a person who is addicted to cocaine about their use, it’s important to be aware of the pattern of their consumption. Many addicts follow a pattern of consumption and the strong and overt effects of cocaine make it clear when a user is high. Approaching a person who is high on cocaine in an effort to discuss their addiction is futile; emotions are charged and the individual will find it difficult to concentrate at best.

Instead, look to speak to the person between the binges common to cocaine addicts. Give them time, let them sleep off the effects of the drug and its comedown and sit down with them when they are, for a moment, free of the effects of the drug.

You Matter

In closing, it’s important to reiterate just how important friends and family are to the cocaine rehab process. Being emotionally available and supportive at all stages of addiction and recovery is difficult, but it is one of the most decisive factors in supporting and enabling recovery. To attempt to do so is brave, commendable and important.

Although it can be difficult to be present for a person who is abusing cocaine, there is comfort to be taken in the knowledge that doing just that may be the one thing that can draw them away from their substance abuse for good.

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