How to Help a Tussionex Addict
Tussionex is a combination of hydrocodone, an opioid painkiller and cough suppressant, and chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine which eases allergy symptoms 1. As a cough medicine, Tussionex is frequently prescribed to both children and adults. It is an effective medicine when taken as directed; however, it can be abused by people seeking to get high. Hydrocodone is an opioid capable of eliciting feelings of euphoria and has a high potential for abuse and addiction 1.
You may know someone who suffers from Tussionex use and abuse and you may wonder if help is available. Many concerned people dealing with a loved one’s possible drug addiction find it difficult to approach the person about the topic. Often, instead of confronting the issue, well-meaning friends and family may cover up for the drug user by, for example, calling into work for them and telling their boss that they're sick when they're actually under the influence or recovering from intoxication. Others may lend a user money or bail them out of jail.
These kinds of behaviors are called enabling an addict. Often, the enabling family members and friends think they are helping but they are actually hurting in the long run. The enabling behaviors serve to keep the addicted person in a place where they can keep using Tussionex without having to face the negative consequences.
People in the midst of an addiction to drugs, such as Tussionex, will often continue abusing these drugs, despite serious consequences that can range from physical and mental health to legal problems. It is sometimes difficult to know if your loved one is just experimenting or suffers from an addiction to Tussionex. Often, people try to ignore the problem and hope it will go away, but addiction is a debilitating and progressive condition that typically requires support and treatment. It’s important that you are aware of the signs and symptoms of Tussionex addiction. Recognizing these signs will help you identify when your loved one is in need of an intervention and treatment.
As the controlled substance hydrocodone is the primary psychoactive component of Tussionex, a person who is addicted to the drug is considered to have an opioid use disorder, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) 2:
- Spending the majority of time getting Tussionex, using it, or recovering from its effects.
- Frequently failing to cut back or stop using the drug.
- Taking more Tussionex or taking it more often than originally planned.
- Having a strong craving to use the drug.
- Continuing to use Tussionex despite having legal, physical, mental, or social consequences from using.
- Choosing drug use over important recreational or occupational activities.
- Using Tussionex when it is dangerous to do so, such as before or while driving.
- Developing tolerance to the drug, which means the individual has to take increasing doses to elicit the desired effect.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when Tussionex use is stopped (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, “goose bumps,” sweating, muscle aches, fever, excessive yawning etc.).
Additional signs of Tussionex abuse you should be aware of include 2:
- Intermittent euphoria.
- Constricted pupils.
- Dysphoria, or a state of dissatisfaction.
- Slowed movement and thought.
- Impaired judgment.
- Slurred speech.
- Memory problems.
How to Approach a Tussionex Addict
Family and friends are often reluctant to approach a drug addict, because it can be easier to remain in denial about their problem. However, as with any form of abuse or addiction, early intervention is better than waiting. If you believe your loved one has a problem, it is better to act now instead of later. Contrary to popular belief, someone doesn’t have to reach rock bottom before making a commitment to change and seeking treatment.
Approaching someone about an addiction is never comfortable or easy. Media portrayals sometimes feature aggressive, highly confrontational interventions with addicted people, but these situations are no longer the norm. Instead of speaking to the Tussionex addict in a threatening manner, it’s recommended that you use a calm, concerned, and caring approach. This has been shown to be more effective, as many addicted people will walk away from a harsh confrontation and refuse to engage in a conversation about treatment with that kind of presentation.
The Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) approach is frequently used to engage people with addiction into seeking treatment 3,4. CRAFT views family members and friends as important collaborators throughout the recovery process and teaches them skills to improve interventions 4. A main goal of CRAFT is to make abstinence from abusing drugs, such as Tussionex, seem much more appealing than using drugs 3. An intervention builds upon the addicts’ motivations to stop using drugs, and it helps to find incentives for them to achieve sobriety. The support system of the Tussionex addict can help identify these incentives and have an active role in supporting positive behaviors and abstinence.
One of the first things CRAFT encourages family members and friends to do is to stop enabling the person’s addictive behaviors and let them face the consequences of their actions. Members of the support system are taught to resist the temptation to protect the Tussionex user from the consequences of his drug abuse 3,4.
How to Talk to a Tussionex Addict
When approaching the person with an addiction, the CRAFT method suggests the following 4:
- Remain calm and understanding.
- Communicate in a nonjudgmental and compassionate way.
- Be direct without being aggressive. Keep it brief but be specific as possible.
- Understand that you have the right to ask your loved one to seek help.
- Suggest treatment and offer to attend therapy with them, if you receive an open-minded response.
- Also understand that the addict has the right to refuse help.
It may be helpful to have a collaborative outlook when battling addiction. It’s likely that your addicted loved one will react less defensively if you acknowledge that you have to make positive changes as well.
How Not to Talk to a Tussionex Addict
There are some things that you should avoid when talking to a loved one about their addiction, including the following:
- Do not act angrily or threateningly. This may cause them to be defensive.
- Do not degrade them. This may perpetuate the guilt and shame they may feel.
- Do not approach them in public or while under the influence.
- Do not blame your loved one for their Tussionex addiction.
- Do not demand that they seek treatment.
It’s important to remember when approaching your loved one that you create a supportive and loving environment that promotes honesty and openness.
Using an Intervention
If your family member or friend won’t admit they have a problem and refuses to seek treatment, you may want to consider holding an intervention. This organized meeting can be done with a group of friends and family members or it can be facilitated by a professional 5.
A proper intervention occurs when a group of loved ones can come together to approach the Tussionex user about the negative consequences of his or her behaviors 5. The goal is to provide the addicted person with a structured opportunity to seek treatment and recover from addiction 5. A caring and supportive approach is most likely to produce a positive reaction. An intervention can be scary and emotional for friends and family, which is why a professional may be helpful. A professional can assist in this process, aid in drug education, and help the family feel more comfortable about approaching the Tussionex addict 5.
Although an intervention can be helpful in engaging a Tussionex addict into treatment, there are some risks associated with interventions. These may include:
- The person may react defensively and deny having a problem.
- The person may lash out at loved ones, putting further stress on the family.
- The person may feel shame or guilt and withdraw from the support system.
If your loved one doesn’t respond positively right away, don’t become discouraged. Be patient. It may take several intervention attempts before someone agrees to seek help.
Tussionex Addiction Treatment Options
If your loved one is addicted to Tussionex, you may want to explore the different recovery programs available. Some common treatment options include:
- Detox programs: If a drug abuser suddenly stops using the drug, they may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Detox programs are short-term treatment options that help the addicted individual to withdraw safely and comfortably from Tussionex. Patients often transition into a longer-term recovery program to continue receiving therapy and counseling.
- Inpatient addiction treatment: Inpatient programs require that the patient lives at the treatment center for the duration of the program, which can range from 30 to 90 days. The treatment staff provides around-the-clock medical supervision and supportive counseling to help someone on the road to recovery from addiction.
- Outpatient addiction treatment: Outpatient treatment settings, in some cases, provide a step-down level of care following completion of a residential or inpatient program. They also reinforce the coping skills learned in more intensive treatment settings. Some people with relatively less severe addictions primarily utilize the recovery services offered from an outpatient substance abuse treatment program. Many factors are considered in determining the best course of treatment, including the severity of the addiction to Tussionex. Consultation with an addiction treatment professional can help you know what type of treatment setting—be it outpatient or residential—is most appropriate for you.
Support for Loved Ones of Addicts
Addiction doesn’t just affect the Tussionex addict. It impacts the lives of those around them as well. Your mental and physical health may be negatively affected by your loved one’s addiction. However, you are not alone. Many support groups can link you to other people in similar situations.
Support groups include the following:
- Nar-Anon: Group meetings allow family members to discuss personal experiences with their loved ones’ addictions and provide each other with support throughout the process.
- Co-Dependents Anonymous: Provides members with a place to discuss their role in the process of enabling an addict, breaking those patterns, and forming healthy relationships.
- SMART Recovery: Participants can use the CRAFT model, as well as other evidence-based practices, to learn to support their addicted family member and care for themselves.
Oftentimes, family members and friends of addicts will spend the majority of their time tending to the needs of the addict. Throughout the recovery process, it is important for close friends and family members to take care of themselves too. It can be easy to neglect yourself, but going through such an emotional time without adequate self-care can lead to extreme stress, emotional burnout, and even physical illness.
Set aside time to engage in activities that you enjoy, whether it be reading, gardening, cooking, or any other relaxing pursuit. What works for one person may not work for another, so make sure to explore your options. Promise yourself that you will make stress management a priority in your everyday life.
Other forms of self-care include the following:
- Deep breathing.
- Playing an instrument.
- Creating art.
- Exercise classes.
- Hanging out with loved ones.
- Going to the movies.
- Going to the beach or a park.
- Learning a new skill.
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- U.S. National Library of Medicine (2016). Hydrocodone combination products.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Miller, W. R., Meyers, R. J., & Hiller-Sturmhofel, S. (1999). The community-reinforcement approach. Alcohol Research and Health, 23(2), 116-121.
- South Central (Rural) MIRECC Clinical Education Product. Community Reinforcement and Family Training – Support and Prevention (CRAFT-SP).
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (2015). Intervention-Tips and Guidelines.