How does your loved one addiction affects you

Addiction is like a black hole that sucks all those around into its orbit, this includes family, friends and colleagues. Helping someone battling an addiction as well as maintaining your own health and wellbeing can be very challenging. People using drugs are frustrating, irrational and often gut-wrenchingly pitiful and sad. They evoke a range of unmanageable emotions which are difficult for even the most well-adjusted human to handle. But don’t worry! Help is available for all those who are affected by addiction.

Understanding addiction support and the addict

Understanding the way that someone using drugs responds and the reasons why they do so helps to nurture compassion and this is the best place to support someone from. Many loved ones expect that their addict will respond rationally and when this doesn’t happen they get angry and resentful.

When you’re approaching someone who may not yet admit they need help, you can expect to encounter some very common responses:

  • Rationalisations of their drug use.

Your loved one may have a myriad of excuses for the negative consequences of their drug use. For example, they lose their job because of a decline in their performance but they blame their failure on a toxic workplace or nightmare boss. These justifications can be hard to swallow.

Learn addiction coping strategies and managing your expectations

Part of the reason for these excellent and often very creative excuses is because addicts are caught up in the cycle of shame and are trying to hide from the consequences of their addiction. Usually, the addict or alcoholic is caught up in their own personal cycle of shame plus they are often stigmatised by society too. So, if you are approaching them, and showing concern over their drug use it is important to do so from a place of non-judgement.

Your addict is far more likely to hear you if you are not shaming them. This doesn’t mean that you should not be honest with them but just that you need to frame things in a way where you take responsibility for your feelings.

You will undoubtedly have better results if you encourage treatment in a caring and supportive manner while also making your personal boundaries clear and consistent. This will usually mean having to reset them on a regular basis because someone using drugs and alcohol will not have the ability to respect these. It really helps to know that resetting them is part of the process.

Do not enable your addict

To be clear, offering support to your loved one does not mean enabling their addiction to continue. Remember, you can set your boundaries while continuing to offer the support your loved one needs and continuing to encourage treatment.

By making it clear that you love them no matter what and that you will do what you can to help them through the struggle against their addiction, you are establishing a trust in the relationship that they may not have realised was there. Learning these few simple coping strategies about how you deal with the addict in your family can make a huge difference to your emotional wellbeing.

Addiction help for families

One of the things that many families don’t realise is that they do not have to go through this alone. Even if the addict in your family is not ready to get help yet it doesn’t mean that you can’t. There are lots of support groups like Al-Anon and Narc-Anon which really help people come to terms with this very hard situation. Many drug and alcohol rehabs will also work with families to help oil the wheels of an intervention or just educate families on how to deal with this issue.

Reasons for seeking addiction treatment

Sometimes the reasons for seeking addiction treatment are obvious to families but not so to the person using despite mounting evidence. Usually, they gradually come to realise the following and this is what gets them to seek help. Helping them to see these truths is one of the best ways of supporting your addict.

  • The fear of losing your loved one losing their life is too great to ignore, yet somehow the person using thinks this will never happen.
  • They’ve become the kind of person nobody wants to be around.
  • Nothing else has worked; rehabilitation is probably the only choice left.
  • The exhausting cycle of them trying to stop alone has only led to relapse and disappointment over and over again.
  • You can see that they are missing out on all the things that give life meaning.
  • You can see that they missing out on the healthy life you see other people living.
  • The financial consequences of addiction have cost them dearly.
  • Treatment might be the only hope for rebuilding relationships broken by addiction.
  • They desire connection with people but don’t seem to be able to bring anything of themselves to the table.
  • They are scared and too exhausted to continue running from the consequences.

Effective addiction treatment and recovery

There are a few simple principles which can be applied to families seeking the best kind of addiction treatment for their loved ones.

  • Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behaviour. Drugs of abuse alter the brain’s structure and function, resulting in changes that persist long after drug use has ceased.
  • Treatment should be client-focused and varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual is critical to his or her ultimate success. Any professional treatment centre will be able to assess an individual and tailor an approach accordingly.
  • The best rehabs can admit patients very quickly because often there is a short window of opportunity for this to happen. As with other chronic diseases, the earlier treatment is offered in the disease process, the greater the likelihood of positive outcomes.
  • Effective, treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. A holistic approach is essential.
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical. The appropriate duration for an individual depends on the type and severity of the patient’s problems. However, research indicates that most addicted individuals need at least 90 days in treatment to significantly increase the chances of a positive outcome.
  • An assortment of therapies—including individual, family, or group counselling—are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment. Behavioural therapies vary in their focus and may involve addressing a patient’s motivation to change, providing incentives for abstinence, building skills to resist drug use, replacing drug-using activities with constructive and rewarding activities, improving problem-solving skills, and facilitating better interpersonal relationships.
  • An individual’s treatment should be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs. A patient may require varying combinations of services and treatment components during rehab.
  • Many people who present with a substance misuse problem also suffer from other mental health conditions and it is essential to enrol in a program that deals with these other issues concurrently. This is a complex area of addiction treatment and requires the help of specialists.
  • There should also be an aftercare component to the rehab program to continue to support the addict and their family in a new life of recovery.

Signs of drug addiction include needing increasingly larger or more frequent doses of drugs to feel the same effect. If you’re worried about yourself or someone you love, call our team at the Hader Clinic to find out how we can help. We have a family coordinator and run a successful family program to support those with addicted loved ones.