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Charlie Sheen Substance Abuse: FAQ

Experts Weigh in on Common Questions About Addiction and Outrageous Behavior

What Should You Do if a Family Member or Friend is Addicted?

If you suspect that a family member or friend is addicted to drugs or alcohol, try to get them help. "I think if you're concerned about someone's health and safety, you're compelled to step in and intervene to see that the person gets help," Goldman says.

There is a chance the person will try to avoid facing the problem, especially if he or she also has a mental illness. It's common for both drug users and people with conditions such as bipolar disorder to deny there's anything wrong with them.

If your friend or family member refuses treatment, it's hard for you to do much more, unless the situation is spiraling out of control.

"Some states do have laws that allow you to commit someone who is addicted and out of control and potentially harmful to themselves because of their addiction," Howell says.

How Can People Stay Clean After An Addiction?

Once you've gone through treatment, you need begin the process of learning how to live without drugs or alcohol. That can be hard, especially if you've relied on the substance -- or substances -- for years.

Sheen says he just "blinked and I cured my brain." But getting clean is never that easy.

"There's no magic to it. It's a long, arduous road," Howell says. "It's a chronic problem that's going to be with people throughout their lives."

Part of overcoming addiction involves changing your perspective, and starting to see your addiction not as something you're going to be "cured" from, but as something you'll have to work on throughout your life.

"Addictive disorders are chronic diseases. In other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, we don't measure success in absolute terms over the course of a lifetime. It's similar with addictions," Goldman says.

The longer you stay in treatment, the better your odds for success.

"People have to be convinced personally," Goldman says. "They have to be very motivated and committed to living a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle."

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