Causes & Risk Factors
People become addicted because of a combination of factors.
- Genetic factors: Some people may inherit a vulnerability to the addictive properties of drugs.
- How drugs interact with the brain: People use alcohol and other drugs because they stimulate the brain in ways that “feel good.” This immediate rewarding experience makes people want to repeat it. All substances with addictive potential stimulate the release of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that is associated with reward and pleasure.
- Environment: Peoples’ home and community and the attitude of their peers, family and culture toward substance use can influence whether or not they develop substance use problems. People who experience prejudice or marginalization may use substances to cope with feelings of trauma or social isolation.
- Mental health issues: More than 50 per cent of people with substance use disorders have also had mental health problems at some point during their lifetimes. When people have mental health problems, even limited substance use can worsen the problem.
- Coping with thoughts and feelings: People may turn to substances as a way of coping with difficult emotions or situations. They start to rely on substances to regulate their emotions
Risk factors for substance use problems in youth include:
- alcohol or other drug problems among family members
- poor school performance
The protective factors for substance use problems include:
What Are The Signs Of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction can happen at any stage of life. Some older adults become addicted to opioids when dealing with daily pain or recovering from medical procedures. Other people may have been using drugs at some level since their teenage years.
When you first met your partner, you may not have been aware of their drug use. Addicts can be secretive about this part of their lives. When you spent more time together or shared living space, you may have noticed patterns of drug and alcohol abuse.
Drug Rehab Offers Hope To Those With Opioid Addictions
Perhaps you experienced some pain in your back that didn’t go away. Like anyone would, you consulted your doctor. He gave you an opioid pain medication that worked wonders for you. It wasn’t long before you were taking more of the drug than you should. Its effects were wearing off, so you felt like you didn’t have any other choice.
This is how many opioid addictions begin. People become addicted to opioids without realizing it. Even so, that does not mean you need to remain in this vicious cycle.
It is important for you to get the professional help you need. Even though doctors prescribe them all the time, opiate drugs can be very dangerous. They are not intended for long-term use. Doing so can easily lead to an addiction. Have you noticed that many of the above signs of opioid addiction apply to you? If you have, please know that at Northpoint Recovery, we want to help you.
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This Was An Issue That My Mother Dealt With Only Through The Medical Establishment
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin saw that addiction does not always mean that the addict ends up on the streets. Instead, her mother would see doctors to get the prescription pills that she needs. Her mother was also struggling with bipolar disorders.
She realized that her mother was sometimes incapacitated at times. She didnât act like her friendâs parents, and appeared very ill. Money was always an issue, as her mother would spend a lot of money on drugs and would not be able to hold onto a job.
As she grew older, she would have to take on household chores. She would also have to lend her mother money.
Many people donât understand that their loved ones are addicted when they are abusing prescription pills. Instead, they think that their loved ones are taking the prescriptions in order to deal with an illness or another medical condition.
When her mother was not abusing her prescription pills, she was fun and a lovely person to be around. And, thatâs the scary truth about addiction. It can strip someone of his or her positive traits.
How To Support Without Enabling
You can always let the addict know that what you have been doing is not working for them and yourself. You can concede to your mistakes and offer them professional help in exchange for your ineffective help. The addict has a right to use substances and you have the right to detach and stop enabling the behaviors and addiction. It is always helpful to set healthy boundaries and provide them with effective professional resources. Letting them know that you would be happy to discuss things with them after they are in treatment.
Please consider taking the following suggestions that can help both the family and the addict:
Enabling provided by the family that has produced entitlement for the addict does not disappear overnight. It takes work to undo years of unhealthy strategies that have compromised the familys sanity and the addicts recovery. The addict will not become well in one day and neither will the family. The process has to start somewhere if conditions are to improve. Staying where you are isnt sustainable. You either get better or you and the substance user become worse. Addiction is chronic and progressive and without professional help or some form of intervention it becomes worse and never better.
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Listen More Than You Talk
When someone with an addiction confides in you, try to listen without interrupting or criticizing them. Even if you do not agree with their behavior, it’s important to withhold your judgment.
Learn more about addiction from reliable medical sources, and try to understand their point of view.
You should also avoid trying to solve their problems for them. For instance, telling them that they should “quit cold turkey” or that they just have to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” are unhelpful ways of talking to someone about their addiction.
What Is Opioid Abuse
It is very important to understand that there is a difference between drug addiction and substance abuse. These two terms are not the same, although they’re often substituted for one another.
As far as opioid drugs are concerned, abuse refers to any use of the drug that contradicts the prescription. This means that there are many different actions and behaviors that can constitute as abuse. These include:
- Taking a prescription opiate for a long period of time
- Taking doses too closely together
- Taking more of the drug than prescribed
- Chewing the medication instead of swallowing it
- Grinding up the drug or liquefying it to increase its euphoric effects
Opioid addicts do all of the above too. However, the difference is that those who are abusing the drug don’t feel the need to do so. They don’t experience cravings, and they don’t have withdrawal symptoms. They donât have a chemical or a physical dependence on the drug. They can stop at any time. Many times, abusers are only doing it for the euphoria the drug gives them.
There is definitely a difference between abuse and addiction. However, addiction to these drugs always begins with abusing them first.
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Principle : They Must Learn From Their Mistakes
A tricky habit people fall into is becoming a bit of a coddler of their loved one, especially after the person completes their rehab treatment program. Remember that you are supportive, but you are not a safety net. Life is full of challenges, and you are not always going to be around to protect your loved one from making mistakesnor should you prevent them from doing so! Part of recovery is learning how to learn from your mistakes and finding solutions for your problems instead of using substances to cope. As much as it may pain you, you will have to know when its time to let go and let your loved one fend for themselves in the real world.
This also means refraining from making your loved ones recovery easier. Dont tell friends and family members to keep drinks and/or drugs away from the person to withhold from bringing it up in conversation. Allow the person to learn how to gracefully reject tempting offers and speak about their substance abuse without shame. Your role in their support circle is to help them if they slip and to continue giving them love and courage to get stronger. Its not about catching them when they fall. Rather, its about reaching a hand out to them so they can get back up.
Pros And Cons Of Loving People In Recovery
An addict in recovery may be one of the most aware people you will meet. If theyve been in recovery for a while, they are often:
- Involved in continuing care
- Aware of ways to stay clean and sober
- Experienced with treatment programs or drug rehab
- Working on their mental health, often through therapy sessions
- Practicing coping skills to stay clean
On the flip side, there are some inherent risks of being in relationship with recovering addicts:
- Drug addicts can be pulled back into using and may relapse.
- A recovered drug addict may have health problems.
- They may refuse to enter, or return to, addiction treatment.
- They may be more prone to addiction after medical problems or surgery, such as opiate addiction.
- Recovering alcoholics and former drug addicts may be more vulnerable to process addictions like gambling addiction or sex addiction.
It is important to set boundaries that keep you and your relationship as healthy as possible, especially if you are struggling with addiction yourself.
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The Facts About Being In A Relationship With An Addict
Before we focus on addiction and divorce together, lets discuss how the relationships with addicts look like. Because theres no divorce without a dysfunctional relationship.
But first of all, a few facts about the addicts. Although it is usually very hard for the non-addicted spouse to believe in that, the addiction and the binges are not about them.
It is a very private relationship between the addict and the substance. In a similar way, deception is also not something to be taken personally.
Addiction has a way of making the addict believe they cannot live without the substance, and they will do anything to obtain it, or to keep using it. Not that you should condone lies, but you just need to understand why it happens and not get distracted by being hurt by lies.
Main Reasons Why Addicts Manipulate
Why do addicts manipulate the people around them? As a friend, spouse, or sibling of an addict, its not always easy to understand why a person would continually manipulate the people who love him or her most. Despite the confusing behaviors, there are several very clear reasons why addicted people manipulate those around them.1
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What Is Detaching With Love
Detaching with love is the process of stepping back and away from harmful, codependent, and one-sided relationships. You choose to invest less emotional energy in your loved one until they are in a mental state where they are capable of reciprocating the attention you give them. However, it doesnt mean giving up on them, cutting them out of your life, or refusing them care. It does mean stepping out of your role where you likely enable their substance abuse, which can be difficult for both you and them.
Why Some People Stay With An Addicted Spouse
When thinking about leaving an addicted spouse, it is common for people to feel anxious and uncertain. It is important to determine the source of these feelings before making a final decision about leaving.
Possible reasons someone may stay with their addicted spouse include:
- if children are involved
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So What Does Someone Who Is Withdrawing From Opioids Look Like Someone Who Is Withdrawing From Opioids Will:
- Be more agitated than normal. They may explode at you for the smallest of things. For example, you may have simply not heard them ask a question. Or, you may have forgotten to do something thatâs not too important, like picking up bananas on the way home.
- Be more anxious than normal. They may seem jumpy or stressed for no reason at all.
- Complain of muscle aches or pain, despite not having a reason for being achy or in pain.
- Appear like they have the flu. You might notice them complaining of pain and having the sniffles.
- Look like theyâre always tearing up.
- Be sleeping at odd times or not sleeping at all. They may even yawn a lot despite having had enough sleep the day before.
- Complain of abdominal cramping.
- Have diarrhea or experience vomiting. Often, theyâll also feel nauseous.
- Have dilated pupils. This can be difficult to see. Youâll need to be up close to notice this symptom.
- Have goose bumps all the time despite it not even being cold.
Someone who is addicted to opioids will begin to exhibit these symptoms when the opioids are leaving their body. This is basically a cry for help from the body. Itâs begging for more opioids. These symptoms cause many addicts to relapse even when theyâre trying to get clean.
There Are No Easy Answers But There Is Hope
If someone you care about is using drugs or alcohol in a way thats threatening their health, relationships, finances, career, and perhaps even their life, you no doubt feel overwhelmed and desperate to help them come to their senses.
But in order to truly help those who have lost control, its important to understand some of the realities of addiction:
1. Its not about you.
It can be tough for loved ones, especially parents and significant others, not to take addiction personally. Its not unusual to think that something you did caused them to use drugs or that you couldve spared them from harm if only you did things differently. But their addiction is not about you. Guilt isnt productive for anyones healing, but your involvement in their treatment and recovery can give them much-needed strength and support. Practice forgiveness and let go of the past so you can have that new beginning you have all worked toward.
2. Detox does not equal treatment.
3. No one expects to become addicted.
4. The fact that someone has started treatment does not mean they have decided to quit.
5. Deceit goes with the territory.
6. People relapse for a reason.
7. You cant do it for them.
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Take Our Substance Abuse Self
Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
Remember That Theyre Human Not A Monster
Addiction is a disease. It results in a distorted value system that shifts toward supporting ongoing substance use. It is OK to get frustrated or angry with your loved one and, for your own well-being, you may need to limit your contact if your loved one is actively using. But be wary of treating the person like an outcast or a disgrace to the family. This can shame your loved one and interfere with them reaching out for support. Once they enter recovery, though, communicate with them and try to understand how substance misuse became a routine part of their life.
Things To Consider Before The Divorce
All this may be traumatic for both partners and the children. This is why there are a few things you should carefully consider before you do decide to file for the divorce.
First of all, is your spouse beyond help?
Did they try and fail rehabilitation?
Are they endangering you or your children?
Is your marriage broken beyond repair?
You can finally make up your mind only after you consider these things to make sure you are arriving at the right decision. In case your marriage can still be saved, give marriage therapy a try by all means while getting the right support and assistance via mental healthcare providers for your partner.
Is Your Spouse Or Partner Willing To Change
This is an important question to ask as having a strong desire to change is key to achieving sobriety. If your spouse or partner is taking accountability for his or her actions and has a strong desire to attend rehab and change, this may be a sign that you can continue your romantic relationship with him or her.
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Things To Do When You Love An Addict
Its very common for your life and needs to be off balance when you love someone with an addiction. This can lead to high levels of emotional and physical stress and put you at risk for developing your own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems. Not surprisingly, research has shown that caregivers of people with substance use disorders experience a lower quality of life, depression and high stress levels. Its essential to maintain your health and well-being and keep your life balanced when your loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol. This doesnt mean you care any less, it simply means youre dealing with your loved ones addiction as a part of your life and not allowing your life to revolve around their problems. Here are some ways to live a balanced life when youre dealing with a loved ones addiction: