Why Drug Addiction Is a Family Affair
October 12, 2017 - Drug Addiction - 0 Comments
Addiction is a disease that doesn’t just impact the sufferer but also everyone close to them, making it very much a family affair and not someone else’s problem. Partners, children, parents and other relatives and friends can all be affected by the suffering of someone close to them, which is why it is so important to seek treatment for drug addiction. Everyone has a perception of what an addict looks like or how they live that is often based on images from the media so when it comes to someone close dealing with the disease, it can be very difficult to accept.
People close to addicts naturally want to help as much as they can, although without a specialized understanding of the disease, damaging mistakes can be made and a sufferer can be forced into isolation as a result. Living with someone struggling with addiction can create a very negative atmosphere in households and it’s easy for others to think it’s something a person can ‘just snap out of’, when in fact it’s a clinical disease that inevitably gets worse unless treatme nt for drug addiction is sought.
So, Why Can’t They Just Stop?
The most commonly held misconception about addiction is that it is some kind of lifestyle choice, whereas it is actually a very serious disease rather than a moral weakness. The person who is suffering is unable to help themselves without the assistance of medical professionals and may even be in denial that there’s even a problem. Living with someone in this situation is incredibly difficult, especially if their health is noticeably deteriorating and still they’re refusing to admit there’s an issue.
The problem with drug addiction is that the substances taken change the way neurotransmitters in the brain function, leading to compulsive behavior that is beyond the control of the addict. Naturally, cases where addiction has been prolonged are likely to result in more damage to the brain’s function and so the sooner drug addiction treatment has been received, the better the long-term health prospects of the addict.
Addiction can’t be controlled by willpower or by just saying ‘no’ and like other diseases; it can run in families depending on environment and genetics. This is why addiction is progressive in that deterioration increases over time and in some cases can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
This is something that has to be fully accepted by the families and friends of people with addiction so that the wrong techniques aren’t employed in misguided attempts to help them. Withdrawing support or using ‘tough love’ to force an addict into isolation is possibly the worst step that can be taken with the best of intentions. Addiction is a disease that operates on ‘triggers’ and feeling harshly judged or that no-one understands them can lead someone to use even more.
How Can Families Help an Addicted Loved One?
Although there is no substitute for attending a drug addiction treatment center, there are some steps families can take to create the conditions where that decision appears as an attractive option. Ultimately, addicts are not ready for treatment until they recognize they have an issue themselves and there are some ways they can be encouraged to take that step:
- Be respectful at all times. It’s always important to treat someone close who is suffering from addiction with respect. Although it may feel more natural to be angry or resentful with them, apportioning blame will only lead to more resentment in the relationship.
- Communicate. Honest and open communication is an integral part of programs at addiction treatment centers and even if it’s challenging to talk to someone in the depths of addiction disease, letting them know they can open up and talk whenever they need to is the best kind of support.
- Encourage change. It’s easier to encourage someone to change their lifestyle when those close to them are making the same changes. Whether it’s a more healthy diet or increased physical exercise, these are important and healthy choices someone with addiction should be making.
- Exercise Patience. Recovery from addiction is a lifelong journey and so those close to addicts should realize they need to be patient from the outset. We all have twists and turns in our lives but for those with addiction disease, these can easily lead to relapse if they feel unsupported by those close to them. Consistent and patient communication is something that should be a lifestyle change for the whole family and not just the recovering addict.
- Get Family Support. Because addiction is a family affair, it isn’t just the addict that needs support from professionals. Support is widely available for families of addicts and helps to rebuild any broken issues, including damage to physical, emotional and financial health.
His and Her Houses offers industry leading Drug Addiction Treatment Programs. We were founded in 1994 and we base our Drug Addiction Treatment programs on five key principles: commitment, honesty, integrity, respect, and service. These five principles guide us in all that we do and all the care we provide. Contact us today to see how we can help you or your loved one at (888) 376-7268.