Best practice and behaviour

Best practice

Drug addiction can be enormously debilitating for those suffering from it, but it can also affect the people close to them including friends and family. If an addiction has been identified then it will require treatment of some kind, from simply breaking a habit by no longer indulging it, to a residential stay in a dedicated detox clinic.

Habits that someone might consider to be nothing more than a harmless vice can quickly spiral into addiction, and once this happens it can be difficult to reverse the damage done – physically, mentally and socially. This is especially the case if an addict does not believe that they have a problem, or they are unaware of how their behaviour is affecting others.

The first step in the recovery process is by encouraging an addict to admit that they have a problem, not just to others but to themselves too. If they genuinely do not believe that they have an addiction, or if they simply don’t want to give up, then there is very little chance of a successful recovery.

It is of crucial importance to talk to an addict calmly and without causing them unnecessary stress in addressing their addiction. Explain to them the negative impact that their behaviour is having as well as the risks to their health, and emphasise that help and support is available. This is also a time to listen, to try to understand how an addict is feeling, why they turned to drugs in the first place, and how you can best help them. While the 'Intervention' approach can highlight the difficulties faced by those closest to the situation, it can put undue pressure on the addict that can cause them to react negatively. Often, a one-on-one approach with someone that the addict trusts is a better way to initiate a change in behaviour.

Once an addict has admitted that they have a problem, the first port of call in the recovery process should be a doctor, who can assess the severity of the addiction, discuss treatment options, prescribe medication and offer advice to help an addict on the path to a successful recovery.


Recovery from addiction can be a difficult and arduous process, and in severe cases an addict will potentially have to resist the temptation to return to their former behaviour patterns for the rest of their life. Once an addict has embarked upon the recovery process, it is important to reduce this temptation wherever possible by limiting the opportunities that an addict has to take drugs.

Whilst withdrawal symptoms vary from drug to drug, a detox process can be very unpleasant for an addict, leaving them in much distress. It is crucial to support and encourage them positively throughout the process as much as possible, and to remind them of why they have to succeed.

If an addict engages in regular behaviours that usually lead to drug taking such as associating with other addicts or visiting places where drugs are available, then an addict will have a far better chance of recovery if they simply stop going to these places. This, however, should ideally be of their own volition where possible; addicts are renowned for going to extreme lengths to get another fix, and can react badly to rules or curfews that they don’t necessarily agree with, particularly if their rationale is being put under strain by the detox process.

Some substances that are liable to abuse are relatively easy to obtain, such as alcohol or over the counter drugs. In these cases a recovering addict needs as many people on their side as possible to remind them of how damaging their addictive behaviour was, and why they need to get clean and stay clean. It is a long road, but with sufficient determination and support it is possible to recover from any addiction.