How to Help a Hash Addict
How to Approach a Hash Addict
The goal of approaching someone who is abusing any substance is to urge him or her to consider going into treatment.
It is extremely difficult to watch loved ones or close friends with any type of addiction continue to engage in potentially destructive behaviors. Many struggle with whether to confront their loved one and how to go about having a conversation about the issue.
There are several things to consider when approaching the topic of addiction with someone who’s suffering:
- First, any approach that is perceived to be confrontational or based on anger will most likely not be successful.
- Second, expect a good amount of resistance from the person and prepare for it.
- Third, the goal of approaching someone who is abusing any substance is to urge him or her to consider going into treatment. The goal is not to chastise, punish, accuse in any way, or retaliate for any emotional distress that the user has caused others. Any approach should have this focus and this focus only.
When approaching an addicted loved one, you may wish to utilize one of the following:
- An intervention.
- Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT).
A planned and proper intervention consists of one or more close friends and/or family members confronting the individual in a non-threatening manner and attempting to convince the person that he or she needs help.
An intervention is a formalized, planned, and organized approach that can take a number of different forms. It can consist of a simple intervention where there is a one-on-one communication between the addicted individual and someone who is extremely concerned about him.
It can also be a more classic intervention where a group of loved ones take several steps:
- Meet to discuss a plan and then organize an intervention.
- Work out each individual’s role in the formal intervention.
- Meet with the person to discuss 1) how the addiction is affecting her and 2) why she should enter treatment.
Planning and staging an intervention can be extremely stressful for everyone involved. Many people prefer to rely on a professional interventionist or mental health professional specializing in addiction to guide the process.
- Developing an understanding of their loved one’s behavior.
- Learning ways to modify their behaviors and reactions toward their loved one.
- Improving communication.
- Allowing natural consequences to occur/avoiding enabling.
- Learning effective ways to encourage treatment.
Treatment for addiction requires several phases of overall involvement. The following are options for treatment:
- Detox services typically involve the use of medications for the symptoms that individuals experience with withdrawal from hashish. The symptoms are most often mild physical symptoms such as headache, nausea, nervousness, as well as psychological symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, depression, and severe cravings.
- Inpatient treatment services are great for individuals with severe drug addictions and those living with toxic environments that increase the risk of relapse. Such conditions include an abusive family, homelessness, or living in an area or situation where there are many other individuals using hash.
- Outpatient care and treatment provides therapy to the client on a set weekly schedule but allows the client to live at home while receiving care. Those coming out of an inpatient program may prefer to transfer to outpatient care to continue therapy.
- Therapy or counseling to assist the individual with identifying the personal issues driving the addiction, directly confronting any irrational beliefs or thoughts concerning the individual's substance use disorder, learning coping and stress management skills, engaging in a proactive form of relapse prevention, and addressing any other issues of importance. Therapy can be performed in an individual, group, or combination of individual and group session format.
- Participation in social support groups, such as 12-step groups that can assist the individual with developing a positive support system and offering the opportunity for long-term participation in a treatment program.
- Any other needed services such as vocational rehabilitation, occupational therapy, and case management services.
Is It Addictive?
Hashish is a very concentrated product derived from the cannabis plant. It has extremely concentrated amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids, the active ingredients in the cannabis plant. Individuals can develop a level of physical dependence to THC; in fact, cannabis use disorders, as well as the symptoms of cannabis withdrawal, are well described in clinical literature and diagnostic manuals such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-V). In addition, many people who use hashish display the same types of obsessive and dysfunctional behaviors associated with other substance use disorders. Thus, the answer to the question “Is hash addictive?” is that the odds favor a "yes."
The clinical term previously used for substance abuse and addiction, dependence, is now called substance use disorder. The number of symptoms that an individual consistently displays is used to determine the severity of the individual’s substance use disorder. Individuals displaying few symptoms are diagnosed with mild substance (hashish) use disorders. Someone displaying more symptoms is diagnosed with a more severe disorder.
What are the Signs of Addiction?
There are a number of signs associated with the development of addiction, particularly regarding hash, the more concentrated form of the active chemicals in cannabis. Although the development of physical dependence to a drug is neither necessary nor sufficient for diagnosis of a severe substance use disorder, it has been established that a mild level of physical dependence does occur to THC.
Other signs of the development of a cannabis (hashish) use disorder, as outlined by the DSM-V, include:
- Use of hashish in greater amounts or for longer periods of time than intended.
- Unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use.
- Spending a great deal of time using, obtaining the drug to use, or recovering from use.
- Strong cravings to use hashish.
- Continuing to use the drug despite negative effects associated with its use.
- Failing to attend to personal obligations as a result of hashish use.
- Using it in situations where it may be physically dangerous.
- Using hashish despite knowing that it is causing physical or mental health issues.
- The development of tolerance (needing more and more hashish to achieve the effects that were once achieved at lower amounts).
- Withdrawal symptoms that occur when not using.
Am I Addicted to Hash?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I wish to cut down or stop using but always find excuses as to why I do not?
- Do I spend quite a bit of money to buy hashish?
- Do I often use it to relieve stress (more than once a week)?
- Have I ever used hashish in situations where I knew that I shouldn’t have, such as operating an automobile, operating machinery, at work, or at school?
- Do I find myself thinking about using it nearly every day?
- Do I spend the majority of my time buying or using hashish?
- Have I given up activities that I use to engage in because of my usage?
- Have I ever missed work, school, or other important events as a result of using hashish?
- Do I need more hashish to get the same effects that I once got from smaller amounts?
- Do I feel irritable, jittery, slightly nauseous, headachy or nervous if I have not used it for a day or two?
- Have I ever used hashish for a longer period of time or in greater amounts than I originally wanted to?
If you are honest with yourself and find yourself answering yes to two or more of the above questions, you may need addiction treatment. The questions above provide only a guide to determining whether you or a loved one need help and should not be construed as an official diagnosis.
Call Our Hotline Today
- Morgan, O. J. & Litzke, C. H. (2008). Family intervention in substance abuse. New York: Halworth Press.
- Association of Intervention Specialists.
- Smith, J. E., Meyers, R. J., & Austin, J. L. (2008). Working with family members to engage treatment-refusing drinkers: The CRAFT program. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 26(1-2), 169-193.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders – fifth edition. Washington, DC: Author.
- Jones, R. T., Benowitz, N., & Bachman, J. (1976). Clinical studies of cannabis: Tolerance and dependence. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 282(1), 221-239.
- Chung, T., Martin, C. S., Cornelius, J. R., & Clark, D. B. (2008).Cannabis withdrawal predicts severity of cannabis involvement at 1‐year follow‐up among treated adolescents. Addiction, 103(5), 787-799.
- Allsop, D. J., Norberg, M. M., Copeland, J., Fu, S., & Budney, A. J. (2011). The Cannabis Withdrawal Scale development: patterns and predictors of cannabis withdrawal and distress. Drug and alcohol dependence, 119(1), 123-129.