The Importance Of Taking Action
It is always better to do something rather than worry about whether it will succeed or not in almost any situation. The importance of taking action lies in the fact that your loved one will see that you are concerned, even if they have not admitted to themselves that there is a problem. This small step can start a family member struggling with drug addiction down a path towards recovery. Beginning this line of communication, while still being respectful of the fact that they are an adult, can be a crucial moment in a persons life.
What Are Some Of The Signs Of Drug Or Alcohol Addiction
While the symptoms of addiction may differ depending on the substance someone is addicted to, its important to recognize the signs of substance abuse early before the addiction becomes worse. Long-term drug abuse and addiction can be harder to treat, although not impossible. The longer a person abuses drugs or alcohol, the more the body and brain become physically and psychologically dependent on the substance. When someone attempts to quit taking the substance, they will experience withdrawal side effects that can be painful, and emotionally distressing.
The signs and symptoms of chronic drug or alcohol abuse share similarities across all substances. The common thread among all symptoms is that the individuals personality, motivations, and habits all drastically change, and not for the better.
- Sudden or gradual disinterest in school, work, activities, and relationships.
- Poor performance at work or school.
- Failure to perform adequate duties, such as neglecting their children, or financial obligations.
- Unexplained fatigue, or unexplained, sudden bursts of energy.
- Secretiveness, defensiveness, and social isolation.
- Socializing with a different crowd of friends.
- Change in physical appearances, such as a lack of proper grooming or hygiene.
- Financial difficulties, such as running out of money or forgetting to pay bills on time.
- Sudden weight loss or significant weight gain.
- Poor physical appearance.
Obsession And Defensive Behavior: The Core Issues
The problem usually begins when both family members and the individual struggling with addiction remain stubbornly defensive about why they behave the way they do. The person dealing with substance dependency will always find reasons to justify seeking the next high or their irrational actions. Meanwhile, the family members might blame the cause of addiction and the entire situation for why they are irritable, angry, or confrontational.
Both parties, in their own world, feel like victims. They take turns with their outbursts, emotional episodes, and often an exchange of harsh words that can prove to be damaging in the long run. In this way, both parties refuse to take responsibility and act like the bigger person willing to solve the issue at hand in a mature, rational manner.
For as long as both remain stubborn, defensive, and obsessive, the problem remains and continues to grow larger with each day that passes. There may be times when those struggling with addiction try to quit, but the lack of support and understanding from family members may force them to start seeking the substance again.
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Schedule Private Therapy Sessions
While lifestyle alterations can be a big help for families in crisis, addictions can cause deep wounds that often benefit from seeking professional help. Research has found that families of addicted people experience increased levels of depression and anxiety. Caregivers can feel worn out from everything theyre asked to do for their family member, and they may not have access to healthy coping skills. Siblings or children can feel forgotten or feel like they have to do better to make up for the addiction, leading to self-esteem issues.
Theres no judgment or blame here a private therapy session is a safe place for stressed family members to talk openly and work through issues.
Private sessions typically follow a skills-based format, in which caregivers learn more about how to deal with destructive thoughts and habits developed during years of addictive behavior. They might learn to meditate to handle stress, or they might work on assertiveness skills. They might do group work involving anger management, or they might learn how to let go of codependent behaviors so they wont feel responsible for the poor choices of others.
It takes time to go to personal therapy sessions, and theres often homework to complete between sessions. However, this time comes with a number of very real benefits. Family members who spend their time in these sessions may get the help they need in order to help others, and they may find the strength and resolve thats been missing until now.
Open Yourself Up To Education
The good news is that youre already off to a great start. The fact that youre reading this guide is a step in the right direction. The first step in helping loved ones with addiction is education.
Addiction is a complicated and multi-faceted problem. Its a disease that doesnt let go of its victims without a fight. The more you understand about addiction and the process of recovery, the better off you and your loved ones are.
There is a ton of educational and informational resources out there on the systems of drug abuse.
Remember, its easy to miss the signs of drug addiction even when theyre right in front of you. This is doubly true if you dont know what youre looking for.
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Detecting The Signs Of Substance Abuse
No matter how well we think we know the people we share our homes and hearts with, every individual is capable of keeping secrets. Addiction, by its nature, drives the individual to suppress painful emotions and harmful behaviors in order to fuel episodes of drinking or using drugs. The signs of addiction can range from obvious to subtle, revealing themselves in an individuals appearance, behavior, moods, mental function, occupational status, or finances.
Perhaps most importantly for families, addiction can affect the quality of interpersonal relationships. Addiction can undermine formerly strong relationships, creating an atmosphere of distrust and provoking feelings of betrayal. The following checklist can help family members identify the potential signs of addiction in the early stages of the disease.
When looking for the potential signs of addiction, remember that substance abuse affects many areas of an individuals life, and one or two changes in habits or appearance do not necessarily prove that a loved one is abusing drugs. These changes may also be caused by conditions such as depression, personal loss, job stress, or a difficult life transition. A mental health professional or addiction counselor can help to determine whether the changes in the persons life can be attributed to chemical dependence or abuse.
Consider A Family Intervention
If youre having trouble getting through to your family member, consider planning an intervention with family, their close friends, or other loved ones.
Theres power in numbers. In addition, bringing others together can show your loved one that there are multiple people who care for them, are concerned, and want to help.
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Smart Recovery For Friends And Family
SMART Recovery stands for Self Management and Recovery Training. Are you looking for resources to help you support someone struggling with addiction? Is someone elses addiction negatively affecting you? Perhaps youre seeking an alternative to tough love? We provide effective, easy-to-learn tools to help both you and your loved one. Our methods are based on the tools of SMART Recovery and CRAFT Therapy . Our meetings available both in-person and online provide concerned significant others the tools they need to effectively support their loved one, without supporting the addictive behaviour. These tools also help Family & Friends better cope with their loved ones situation and regain their peace of mind.
SMART has both in person online meetings as well as a host of pod casts, videos and worksheet on their web site. SMART is an international organization that has been around for 26 years and started in the USA and is now in many countries across the world. They have an online store that you can order a manual as well as get support with it. Visit their website here.
The Effects Of Addiction On A Family
Just like addiction causes a variety of effects on the person using substances, it leads to another set of the impact on the family. The exact outcomes depend on things like which family member struggles with addiction, the age of the children, or whether children live with their parents. Not all families experience the same effects, but oftentimes they are at least somewhat similar.
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How To Get Your Loved One Into Treatment
Having a family member with an addiction problem is painful, confusing, and overwhelming. The situation is not hopeless, though. Treatment facilities can help people with substance abuse problems and the families who love them.
If you want to know how to get someone into rehab, we can help. Peace Valley Recovery provides well-rounded, comprehensive addiction treatment programs. If your loved one wants to stop using drugs and alcohol, we can help.
We know the pain of caring for someone who cant stay clean and sober, and we are here for you. Call us today to speak with an admissions counselor who can answer any questions. You dont have to walk this path alone!
Help For Family Members Of Drug Addicts Identifying Addiction Helping Vs Enabling Interventions & Treatment
One of the most important factors in alcoholism or drug addiction treatment is the strength of the support system around the person in need of help. If youre a family member of someone undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, you can have an enormous impact on their recovery by showing them that you are available and supportive.
However, because a loved ones addiction can be emotionally taxing, family members dont always have the resources or energy to provide this crucial support. In these cases, group therapy may be the best help for family members of drug addicts to overcome intense feelings and frustration.
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Addiction To Drugs & Alcohol Can Seem Like A Hopeless Situation But There Is Always Hope
Before you alter your behavior, things may seem hopeless and grim. The environment within your home can continue to get drearier and more unbearable with each day that passes. However, even though this may seem like the darkest of situations, there is always hope.
Addiction robs an individual of peace, sanity, and self-control. It affects career, family relationships, love lives, education, and social standing. Keep this in mind next time you feel like blaming your loved one and their addiction for destroying the environment of your otherwise happy home. The situation may not be in their control anymore.
Dealing with a million thoughts and experiencing devastating effects of their addiction in every aspect of their lives, individuals struggling with substance abuse may already be filled to the brim with anger, disappointment, guilt, and shame without you loading some more onto them.
Open your mind, your home, and your arms to help your loved ones recover not just from their addiction but from a damaged family relationship.
Addiction isnt one persons problem it is a condition that affects and tests every member of the family. If you are committed to helping your loved ones recover, youll need to make a few changes, and thats what The Forge is here for.
The Effects Of Drug Addiction On Family Members
Battling a substance use disorder is difficult for everyone involved. Although recovery is often viewed as a personal experience, substance use disorders can have devastating effects on friends, spouses, children, and parents.
Friends and family members play an important role in recovery, but it can be a difficult journey. Unfortunately, time and time again, we see the struggle that relatives endure when their loved one is in a recovery program.
If addiction is affecting your family, know that youre not alone. At the Calgary Dream Centre, we are dedicated to providing the family support you need.
Keep reading to learn more about the 5 ways substance use disorders affect families and what you can do to strengthen and regain your family connections through addiction.
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Is There A Way To Avoid Making A Loved One Angry While Still Empowering Them To Seek Help And Stop Enabling Behaviors
When confronting a loved one about their addictive behavior, emotions on both sides of the issue can quickly become heated, and conversations can spiral out of control. Its essential to avoid blaming language, or accusations. But for loved ones whove been enabling an addict for a long time, this can be especially difficult. Sometimes, writing a letter to the addicted loved one can prevent anger from boiling over.
Composing an intervention letter gives family members time to get the tone right. For the addict, reading a letter can provide them with time to process their emotions, and it can seem less confrontational.
When writing an intervention letter, its vital to come from a place of love and concern, not anger and blame. Its all right to express negative emotions in the letter, but its important to do so in a non-confrontational tone. The point of the letter is to help the loved one accept that enabling behavior is going to stop and that their addiction has gotten out of control and they need help.
- Begin the letter with a statement of love.
- Give a specific example of how their addiction has affected you, and what you will do to stop enabling behavior.
- Demonstrate that you understand that their addiction is a disease.
- Repeat the statement of love and concern.
- Close the intervention letter by asking them to seek treatment for addiction.
What Should You Do In An Emergency
Does your loved one have any of the following symptoms? If so, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
- Lost consciousness after taking drugs.
- Became unconscious after drinking alcohol, especially if five or more drinks were consumed in a short period of time.
- Had been drinking and is seriously considering suicide.
- Has a history of heavy drinking and has severe withdrawal symptoms, such as confusion and severe trembling. Severe withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens , can cause death.
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If You Participate In Treatment
The process of treating addiction varies depending on the type of treatment that a person receives. If you are involved in your loved one’s treatment:
- Keep working on establishing trust. Try to evaluate where you are with trustbefore going to counseling with your loved one.
- Be honest about your feelings. Tell your loved one what their addiction has been like for you and be honest about what you want to happen next.
- Do not blame, criticize, or humiliate your loved one in counseling. Simply say what it has been like for you. Being confrontational generally doesn’t work and can damage your relationship.
- Be prepared for blame. Don’t be surprised if your loved one expresses some things you have done or said that are contributing to their addiction. Stay calm and truly listen to what they’re saying, keeping an open heart and mind.
If your loved one chooses to pursue treatment on their own:
- Respect their privacy.Do not inform friends, family, or others about your loved ones treatment without their consent.
- Respect their privacy in therapy. If they dont want to talk about it, dont push for them to tell you what happened.
- Practice patience.There are many approaches to addiction treatment, but no change happens overnight.
Dont: Give In To Manipulation
When a person with an addiction is unwilling to seek treatment, they will resort to whatever they need to do to continue feeding their addiction. This may include lying or trying to guilt the people who care for them. Its important to establish boundaries and learn how to say no. It may be very difficult to not react negatively or to stick to your established rules, but its necessary for everyone involved.
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Stay In Touch With Personal Joy
Managing expectations is a little easier when individuals are responsible for their own bliss. That means every member of a recovering family needs to take time to do something thats relaxing and fulfilling. This could include:
- Playing an instrument
These activities and others like them can make the participant feel happy, preserve a sense of efficacy and worth, and help boost mental health.
For example, research has shown that knitting can be beneficial for psychological well-being, as people who knit experience feelings of calmness and happiness. A hobby such as knitting can serve as an effective form of stress relief for those coping with a loved ones addiction.
Understand That Recovery Is Not Linear
Relapse is a part of recovery. Its a hard fact to accept, but that doesnt make it any less true.
In a perfect world, our loved ones would enter recovery, complete the program, attend meetings, and never pick up their drug of choice again. But we dont live in the perfect world. We live in the real one.
The real world is filled with struggle, hardships, triggers, and temptation. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rate in America is between 40% and 60%.
If your loved one falls back into old, addictive habits, they need help as soon as possible to get them back into treatment and on the road to recovery once more. This is where being solid support in their system will help them get healthy and stay healthy for life.
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