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Expert Q&A with Re-Solv: Ask any questions about addiction, recovery or advice for friends/family

ConnorConnor Posts: 454 Community Manager
edited October 12 in Drink & Drugs
Hello all!

Our next Expert Q&A will be covering everything surrounding the use of drugs! Including recovery, addiction, drug usage, and advice for friends & family :)

Whether you know someone struggling or are experiencing any struggles yourself, our expert Dan from Re-Solv is here to answer any questions you may have.

The expert Q&A will be taking place on Thursday 14th October.

Who are the Experts?
Dan is our expert and he works at Re-Solv.
About Re-Solv
Founded in 1984, Re-Solv works to reduce the harms caused by volatile substance abuse (‘VSA’ or ‘solvent abuse’) and the misuse of other legal substances across the UK.
We achieve this by:
- Keeping this ever-present and changing form of legal substance misuse in the forefront of policy and public awareness
- Continuing to drive prevention through education and training
- Providing support for the individuals, families and communities affected.

When?
The Expert Q&A will take on the 14th October.

Where?
Your questions will be answered in this thread. Feel free to post questions now ready for our expert.

How will this work?
If you have a question for Dan, you can either write it out in this thread, PM The Mix or use the survey form where you can ask your questions anonymously!
Post edited by TheMix on
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Comments

  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 966 Part of The Mix Family
    Hope I'm not too late! My question is:

    What advice would you give for somebody wishing to support a friend in recovery?
    Connor
  • TheMixTheMix The Mix HQPosts: 2,662 Staff Team
    Hello everyone, just wanted to let you know we're going to postpone this expert q&a to give a bit more time to get some questions together. We'll share an update soon with our new date! It will hopefully be within the next two weeks.

    - Aife & the team
    We're @Aife, @Connor, @Emma_, and @Mike - the staff team here at The Mix. If you're worried about another member, you can use the report button and drop @TheMix a private message. Our private messages are only monitored Monday-Sunday 9.30 am - 5.30 pm, and we aim to reply within 24 hours. We have a great team of moderators looking after the community outside of those hours to check in on any reported posts.

    We're not able to provide support on this account but if you're feeling unsafe and need support urgently, please contact Crisis Messenger or call 999.

    If you would like more information on using the discussion boards, head over to the Help Desk or send us a message.
    coc0mac
  • TheMixTheMix The Mix HQPosts: 2,662 Staff Team
    edited October 12
    Hello everyone,

    Just wanted to post on here and let you know we're going to be running our expert q&a on Thursday 14 October!

    Our expert is Dan from a charity called Re-Solv and he will be answering any questions you have about drugs, addiction or recovery. Feel free to use this thread to post your questions or the form we've linked above to ask them anonymously. Dan will then log in on Thursday afternoon to answer them :)

    We're really looking forward to the session and we hope you find Dan's answers to your questions helpful :)
    We're @Aife, @Connor, @Emma_, and @Mike - the staff team here at The Mix. If you're worried about another member, you can use the report button and drop @TheMix a private message. Our private messages are only monitored Monday-Sunday 9.30 am - 5.30 pm, and we aim to reply within 24 hours. We have a great team of moderators looking after the community outside of those hours to check in on any reported posts.

    We're not able to provide support on this account but if you're feeling unsafe and need support urgently, please contact Crisis Messenger or call 999.

    If you would like more information on using the discussion boards, head over to the Help Desk or send us a message.
  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 966 Part of The Mix Family
    Sounds fab! I have a few questions:

    1) What advice would you give for somebody wishing to support a friend in recovery?

    2) What's the difference between addiction and dependency?

    3) What different types of support/treatments are used to help people with substance related difficulties?
    Connor
  • ConnorConnor Posts: 454 Community Manager
    What advice would you give to someone who would like to experiment with drugs and how to do that in a safe way?
  • ConnorConnor Posts: 454 Community Manager
    "A close family member is struggling with alcohol addiction, how can I start a conversation to help them in a supportive way? When I bring up the conversation, they get defensive and don't feel they have a problem."
  • ConnorConnor Posts: 454 Community Manager
    What advice would you give to someone who is struggling but doesn't know who to talk to or where to go for support?
  • ConnorConnor Posts: 454 Community Manager
    What would your advice be to anyone who is concerned that their friends might be using solvents? and would your advice be different for this compared to another drug?
  • Dan_Re-SolvDan_Re-Solv Posts: 6 Expert



    coc0mac wrote: »
    Sounds fab! I have a few questions:

    1) What advice would you give for somebody wishing to support a friend in recovery?

    2) What's the difference between addiction and dependency?

    3) What different types of support/treatments are used to help people with substance related difficulties?

    Hello coc0mac and thank you for the questions.

    1) What advice would you give for somebody wishing to support a friend in recovery?

    Having support from friends and family can have a very positive impact on a person’s chance of recovery. It is important to note that what you may want for your friend may differ to their own feelings. Actively listening to them with an open mind and in a non-judgemental way can be very helpful. We can’t force or bribe someone to change, this often has limited results as the motivating factor is external rather than internal. Give the person time and metaphorically ‘leaving the door open’ allows them to feel supported yet not rushed. Providing them with local support information and contact details may also be useful. The pathway to recovery isn’t always a straight one, so having realistic expectations is important.

    2) What's the difference between addiction and dependency?

    It isn’t easy to give a 100% accurate answer. Roughly I would identify the differences as:

    • We often look at addiction as being a repetitious pattern of behaviour. This doesn’t have to be daily and sometimes words like binging can be used to describe a duration of high use over a shortened period of time. If someone struggles to stop using despite negative consequences, we may identify this as having an addiction.

    • Dependency we may describe as when a person stops using a substance they might experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may be physical and mental. if someone has become dependent on a substance they may require clinical support and/or medication in order to assist the person to safely come off the substance that they have been using. Withdrawal from substances such as alcohol, opiates and benzodiazepines can be dangerous and need to be handled carefully with assistance from a medical professional.

    3) What different types of support/treatments are used to help people with substance related difficulties?

    There are a variety of support options. Sometimes they may require some form of medication to stabilise their emotional wellbeing and/or to reduce possible withdrawal effects before other therapies can take place.
    Other methods would include an assessment with the person so that we could identify their needs and design a plan of action going forward. Within this we may use developed approaches such as:
    Motivational interviewing
    Harm reduction techniques
    CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy)
    Behavioural change work

    It is important to note that it isn’t a one size fits all solution. People will respond differently to different areas of support and this may involve some experimentation. They also need to be comfortable with their allocated worker in order to open up and feel engaged in the session(s).
    coc0mac
  • Dan_Re-SolvDan_Re-Solv Posts: 6 Expert
    Connor wrote: »
    What advice would you give to someone who would like to experiment with drugs and how to do that in a safe way?

    Please do your research!
    Forewarned is forearmed. The rate at which the drug landscape changes means that same drug can vary months or even weeks apart.
    • We are all genetically different to some degree and so therefore our experiences will also differ. Don’t use someone else’s experiences as a template for your own.
    • Always start low and slow even if you are familiar with that particular drug
    • Set & Setting. Be aware of your current mind set (how are you feeling) and setting, the environment in which you are in. Do you know how to get home; do you have plenty of phone battery. This can have an impact on your experience
    • Be with people you trust. Ideally have someone on hand who isn’t partaking in any drug taking activity
    • Test your substances. There are test kits available that are relatively inexpensive. This won’t remove all risk but they will inform you of what you have purchased.
    • If you are worried, concerned or if things go wrong. reach out!! Using 111 or 999 in the event of an emergency





  • Dan_Re-SolvDan_Re-Solv Posts: 6 Expert
    Connor wrote: »
    "A close family member is struggling with alcohol addiction, how can I start a conversation to help them in a supportive way? When I bring up the conversation, they get defensive and don't feel they have a problem."

    First we have to appreciate that some people will have different tolerances and social norms to our own. So, as to one person it could be seen as excessive to someone else quite normal.
    However, People often come across defensive if you have pointed out something that they know to be true yet are struggling to either deal with or contain. If their actions are having a negative impact on themselves or others around them then this would be a cause to raise the issue.

    • Pick a suitable time of the day to broach the subject, somewhere you both have time and your schedule is free
    • No raised voices or shouting, keep it relaxed with open gestures and a soft tone
    • Be sincere and know when to back off if the conversation is becoming heated or circular
    • Try not to embarrass or blame as this only tends to push people further away
    • It’s ok to start the conversation and not to finish it in one sitting. Opening the doors so conversation can flow is important
    • Leave the door ajar so they know you care and are always a willing ear should they decide they would like to talk
    • Distraction techniques, make them feel useful. Perhaps pick a skill they are good at and devise a scenario that they can help you with to lift their spirits making them feel valued.
    • Provide useful non-judgmental literature or support service information
    • Making sure they are keeping to some form of routine or structure is important. Eating regularly and staying hydrated amongst the alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks

    It can be difficult to see someone in need of help that doesn’t feel that they need it or are not ready for it. We can’t force someone in to accepting support but we can be nearby offering that daily encouragement and instilling their importance to us. Keep trying, sometimes it’s just a matter of time and perseverance.
  • ConnorConnor Posts: 454 Community Manager
    "How common of an issue is solvent abuse, is there any difference between younger people and older people when it comes to solvent abuse?"
  • Dan_Re-SolvDan_Re-Solv Posts: 6 Expert
    Connor wrote: »
    What advice would you give to someone who is struggling but doesn't know who to talk to or where to go for support?

    There is so much information out there it can hard to know where to start.
    If you have friends or family and you feel comfortable talking to them then start there, as often a problem shared is a problem halved. I know some people feel that is too close to home and would rather speak to someone they have never met before.
    Always look for official or legitimate websites and services. FRANK has a great feature whereby you enter your postcode into it and gives you the services closest to you. It can be tricky to make that first step and although a lot of places have a phone number they also accept emails or even online support if you are not ready for a voice call or face to face support. Making that first step can be the hardest but also the most beneficial. The services are often free and confidential so you have nothing to worry about. They all have a wealth of experience and although you may feel alone or that no one understands, there are always people that are where you are right now or are coming out of the other side.
    Re-Solv operates a live chat service via their website which is anonymous. You can ask questions there and someone will try and offer advice or point you in the right direction. For instant access, places like Child line and the Samaritans offer a fantastic phone service and are always there to listen.


  • Dan_Re-SolvDan_Re-Solv Posts: 6 Expert
    Connor wrote: »
    What would your advice be to anyone who is concerned that their friends might be using solvents? and would your advice be different for this compared to another drug?

    Solvents are traditionally very volatile and as such highly dangerous!
    Sharing awareness and information about the risks would be a good idea as a lot of people are not aware of the risks carried by solvents.

    Approach the conversation with concern but also understanding. We may not know the reason why they are using solvents. We don’t want to scare anybody but the risks associated with solvent use are very high.

    Unlike some other substances where we can look at harm reduction advice to reduce the risk, we cannot adopt the same approach with solvents. Not using solvents is the only way to reduce the potential harms and dangers.

    Solvents are also often very flammable or contain hazardous chemicals that can cause burns and breathing difficulties.

    Re-Solv has a website which has a lot of free information and support specifically around solvents.
    https://www.re-solv.org/
    We also offer a free helpline and live chat service for people concerned about their solvent use or would like support.

  • Dan_Re-SolvDan_Re-Solv Posts: 6 Expert
    Connor wrote: »
    "How common of an issue is solvent abuse, is there any difference between younger people and older people when it comes to solvent abuse?"

    Solvent use is quite hidden and can be hard to identify. As the products used are often legal to purchase from shops. People don’t tend to come in to contact with other support services as often and therefore go unidentified.
    Sometimes people don’t associate solvents as being a drug so they feel there is no help or when asked about their drug use they don’t offer that information.
    In terms of age groups, we have a real mix of people who seek our support and it spans all ages, genders and cultures.
    The risk when using solvents is ever present and it doesn’t matter what your age is.
    Through our support lines we can offer advice and support remotely which enables people to come forward who might not otherwise. There is a lot of stigma around solvent use and people don’t like to ask for support as readily as they may with other substances. Our aim is to spread awareness, education and upskill others so that they have the ability to identify and also support people who are using solvents within their communities.

    https://re-solv.org/
  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 966 Part of The Mix Family
    Thank you so much for answering my questions! This whole thread is so insightful and I've learned. lot. Thank you! :heart:
    Aife
  • AifeAife LondonPosts: 2,371 Community Manager
    I'm glad to hear you found the q&a so insightful - thank you for your questions! We'll be running a few more q&a's across the next few months so keep an eye out for the next one <3
    Maybe somethings don't get better, but we do. We get stronger. We learn to live with our situations as messy and ugly as they are. We fix what we can and we adapt to what we can't. Maybe some of us will never fully be okay, but at least we're here. We're still trying. We're doing the best we can. That's worth celebrating too ❤
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