Codependency Keeps The Addict Sick
The issue of enabling is a symptom of a bigger issue: codependency. Codependency is the term used to describe the highly dependent relationship between two people. The hallmark of codependency is when the actions of one person enable, support, or perpetuate the destructive, irresponsible behavior of the other.
At first, codependency masquerades as being helpful. No one wants to see their loved one in pain. Your actions are intended to help your loved one to avoid hurting themselves or others. This could be something like allowing your adult child to live in your home as they try to stop using substances. Maybe you cover for your inebriated spouse when their employer calls.
Codependency sets in as these behaviors shift from being a one-off or occasional thing into being the norm. The addict develops the expectation that you will cover for or save them whenever they get into a bad situation, and you step up to the plate every time.
You might think youre helping them by keeping them from falling on their face. The truth is youre only enabling their behavior and exacerbating the issue. They have no reason to stop doing what theyre doing because they know you will step in to take care of the problem every time something goes wrong.
What Do Parents Need To Know
When you have a child struggling with substance abuse, attempting to handle it on your own can be extremely overwhelming and can eventually become your first and only priority. It may also be difficult to take the first step because addressing the problem is disruptive of school and extracurricular activities.2 However, addiction is far more disruptive to your childs life in the end, and treatment can work. Taking the time now to get help can save your childs life.
What Are Substance Abuse And Addiction
The difference between substance abuse and addiction is very slight. Substance abuse means using an illegal substance or using a legal substance in the wrong way. Addiction begins as abuse, or using a substance like marijuana or cocaine.
You can abuse a drug without having an addiction. For example, just because Sara smoked pot a few times doesn’t mean that she has an addiction, but it does mean that she’s abusing a drug and that could lead to an addiction.
People can get addicted to all sorts of substances. When we think of addiction, we usually think of alcohol or illegal drugs. But people become addicted to medicines, cigarettes, even glue.
Some substances are more addictive than others: Drugs like crack or heroin are so addictive that they might only be used once or twice before the user loses control.
Addiction means a person has no control over whether he or she uses a drug or drinks. Someone who’s addicted to cocaine has grown so used to the drug that he or she has to have it. Addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.
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How To Know If You Need Help
Addiction or Substance Use Disorder is a chronic, relapsing disorder wherein a patient compulsively seeks and uses substances despite the negative effects. Anyone can be affected by SUD at any stage of their life, as it cuts across genders and ages. It develops differently in every person. Various factors like biology, environment, genetics, and others influence it.
So, how do you know if your substance intake is beyond what is considered healthy consumption? Here are some of the signs to watch out for:
-Loss of control & cravings: You find yourself thinking about it. You will be craving for that particular substance a lot. You try to stop or cut down your consumption but cant.
-Lack or sudden change of interests: You lose interest in the usual things you like, such as hobbies and routines. You may also engage in completely different risky activities or behaviors connected to substance use.
-Relationship problems: You have a hard time maintaining personal and professional relationships. Neglect of personal, familial, and professional responsibilities is also a sign. You may even find yourself in a completely new circle of friends .
Educate Yourself About Addiction
Before you approach your loved one, take the time to educate yourself about addiction, detox, withdrawal, and various treatment options. The more you know, the better youre able to approach the situation calmly and with confidence. Understanding what the person is going through, at least on an academic level, will help you speak knowledgeably when the time comes to discuss the problem.
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Tips For Coping With A Loved One’s Substance Use Disorder
The pathway to healing and recovery is often a journey that can progress over multiple years. Addiction not only involves the individual suffering from the substance use disorder, but their partner, their family, and their friends as well.
When supporting a partner or family member who is in active addiction to alcohol or other drugs, its critically important that you also take care of your well-being. It is a balancing act of offering support to your partner in navigating the treatment and recovery options available, while at the same time not losing sight of what you need to be happy and healthy.
Find 8 tips below for how to balance supporting the positive health behaviors of your partner, while also taking care of yourself.
Do: Seek Counseling Or Therapy
Addiction affects everyone, from the person in treatment to their loved ones. Its important to ensure youre well enough to manage the potential stress of helping someone dealing with addiction. Acknowledging that you may be in over your head and in need of professional help is normal and healthy. Its also necessary for you to help your loved one to the best of your abilities.
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Encourage Them To Get Help
As with other diseases, the earlier addiction is treated, the better. However, dont be surprised if youre met with denial or excuses as to why they cant or wont seek treatment. Be persistent about how important it is that they enter treatment for their addiction, but avoid making them feel guilty or ashamed in the process.
Another option is to hold an intervention for your loved one. Although these are often difficult to do, an intervention may be exactly what your loved one needs if theyre deep into their addiction. Consider bringing in an intervention specialist to help you navigate this process.
Is It Easy To Get Rid Of Addiction
Addiction is a treatable condition. The questions that come with acknowledging the issue can be staggering. Is it easy to get rid of an addiction? How long does it take a person to overcome their SUD? There are no easy answers to these questions. Various factors and risks come into play in developing this disorder.
One of the important things to know is the cycle of addiction and its stages. The appropriate addiction help varies depending on you or a loved ones engagement with the substance. Is it your first time using it? Are you a regular user? One-time users can possibly develop a habit and become regular user. This will lead to a full-blown dependence or disorder. Thus, seeking a professional assessment will help determine how to get drug addiction help.
Repeated substance use can significantly change the body, especially the brain. Thus, overcoming an addiction is not a mere moral dilemma. Addiction is a chronic condition. It requires a long-term plan to prevent or minimize relapses. Relapses mean returning to substance use after attempting to stop.
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How To Help An Addict: 5 Ways You Can Show Your Support
Did you know that substance abuse takes a lot of out of the countrys economy?
About $740 billion gets lost due to crime, health care, and lost productivity. It could cripple you too, even if youre not the one suffering from addiction.
Knowing someone with an addiction can lead to detrimental relationships among friends and family.
Fortunately, there are always symptoms of substance dependence, allowing you to know whether someone you know uses drugs to get by. This is a sign you need to learn how to help an addict recover.
Not sure how or where to start? If you dont know how to support them, you can use these tips:
Analyze Where You Are
Its coming down to the wire. If all previous attempts have failed, our number one solution will be the last ditch effort to getting your loved one off of drugs, and giving them the health and attention they need to recover. By taking a step back and looking at the last few weeks or months of events, youll be able to better determine if your efforts are proving useful or if you need to take one more stab at this.
Approaching And Helping An Addict
Trying to help someone with an addiction can be a long, challenging, and painful process. Unlike someone with a physical health condition, such as cancer, a person with an addiction might not recognize the true danger of their illness or understand the risks of not treating it.
Its important to remember that they are ultimately responsible for their own recovery. Typically, they must first recognize that they have an addictive disorder. Then, they must be ready and willing to address their addiction before their recovery can even begin. Setting realistic expectations and boundaries can help you provide support, while protecting your own well-being.
How To Help Someone On Drugs: Recovery Is Possible
Itâs difficult to help someone with a drug addiction. But, it is possible. If you can find the right program and enlist the right people for support, you should be able to help them get better.
Remember, more than 72,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2017. This is a widespread problem. You and your loved ones are not alone.
Throughout the process, itâs important for you to take care of yourself. The more stable your mental health is, the easier it will be to help them work through their issues.If life seems hopeless and recovery feels impossible, contact us. Our staff has helped hundreds of addicts move past their own addictions. We want to do the same for you and your loved ones.
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The Six Family Roles In Addiction
Active addiction not only affects the person using drugs or alcohol, but it also affects their entire family. Individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol tend to be erratic and unpredictable, leaving their confused family members to pick up the pieces. Addiction pushes family members to their breaking points and forces each person to conform in one way or another.
You may have heard of the six dysfunctional family roles in addiction before. As family members adapt to the unpredictable nature of their loved ones addiction, each individual copes in their own way. These coping skills usually fit into one of six different categories or roles within the family. Each role enables the individual with the problem in some way, either directly or indirectly.
Not all families have one person who fills each role. Sometimes one member fills multiple roles and other times some roles are left unfilled. Recognizing these general descriptions and behavior patterns is one part of how to help an addict without enabling.
How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction
If you think that someone you love is addicted to drugs, its important to handle the situation carefully. Before you talk to your loved one about help or treatment options for their drug addiction, you need to approach them about the problem.
- Its important that you dont confront your loved one in a way that will cause an argument.
- Its common for those abusing drugs to get angry and defensive easily, so you need to approach the situation with care.1
- Its natural to be afraid to approach your loved one about drug use, because of the uncertainty of how they will react.
- You can approach your loved one with compassion and empathy and ask if they will consider getting the help they need.1
A variety of drug addiction treatment centers and therapeutic approaches exist to best match the specific needs of each individual. Whether youre looking for inpatient or outpatient treatment, there are many options out there for anyone looking to take their life back from substance abuse.
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After Detox And Rehab: Supporting An Addict Who Has Relapsed
Recovery isnât always easy. Just because an addict gets clean doesnât mean theyâll stay that way.
For many addicts, a detox-to-rehab pipeline is an effective form of treatment. These folks are lucky enough to quit once and stay sober for the rest of their lives. Usually, their sobriety is kept in check by regular AA or NA meetings.
Not everyone is that lucky, though. Itâs common for people to relapse after sobriety. Some addicts need to go through detox and withdrawals several times before theyâre able to stay sober for the rest of their life.
This can be troubling for their family members and friends. After all, itâs painful to watch someone spiral back into addiction after months of being sober.
You might be angry to find out that a sober loved one. But, you should still aim to help them after theyâve relapsed. Otherwise, they may not stand a chance at getting clean again.
When someone relapses, itâs a sign that they have more work to do in recovery. There is something they havenât gotten over thatâs driving them to drink. They need to return to a sobriety community and get back to work.
Itâs common for addicts to do several rounds of rehab before they can get better. Those who abstain from rehab often attend AA or NA for many years in order to avoid relapsing. This could be just what they need to stay clean in the long run.
How To Help An Addict Who Doesnt Want Help
If a loved one does not want help with their addiction, you can take several steps to help them find the treatment they need. These include:
1. Educate Yourself About Addiction
Before you confront your loved one, take the time to learn about addiction, detox, withdrawal symptoms, and the treatment options available. The more you know, the better you can handle the situation confidently and calmly.
Understanding what the person is experiencing, at least on a scientific level, will help you speak knowledgeably when it is time to discuss the addiction.
2. Offer Support
When you are ready to speak with your loved one, avoid sounding judgmental or patronizing about their alcohol or drug abuse. Let your loved one know that you are aware of the problem and offer your love and support. Go through the treatment options available and encourage them to seek professional help.
3. Follow Through on Consequences
Many friends and family members threaten severe consequences for loved ones with substance use disorders who refuse treatment. However, someone with addiction problems may see these as idle, empty threats.
If you say you will enforce consequences, you must follow through with them. Whether you threaten to leave the family home or say you will take away the car, you must be willing to do it.
4. Stop Enabling the Addiction
6. Seek Help for Yourself
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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.
Understand Why They Use Drugs
While no one can pinpoint why addiction occurs, it can help your relationship if you understand the many reasons for drug use. One of the biggest causes is physical pain. Many men and women start taking prescribed medications for different types of pain. Unfortunately, its easy to become dependent on prescription painkillers, especially when a person begins taking more than they are prescribed.
Another reason your loved one may have turned to drugs is because of a mental health condition. Major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental illnesses often trigger drug use. Some addicts turn to drugs out of boredom or stress. There is also research showing that addiction runs in families. Whatever the reason, try to understand that your loved one didnt start out to become an addict. Looking at their issue from a place of compassion will help you approach them calmly.
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Drug Or Alcohol Abuse Symptoms
Mayo Clinic offers a comprehensive list of symptoms that may be displayed by a person struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. Many of these may be internal experiences for that individual however, symptoms that may be evident to others include:
- Appearing intoxicated more and more often
- Developing problems with cognition and memory
- Being lethargic, sleeping more, sleeping irregular hours, or appearing unwell or tired
- Developing problems at work or school possibly losing ones job or dropping out of school
- Attending social events only if drugs or alcohol are available becoming intoxicated before the social event or attending fewer social events specifically to drink or use drugs
- Stealing money or valuables to pay for drugs
- Lying about the substance or how much they are using
- Becoming angry, sad, or lashing out when questioned about their substance abuse
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to take the drug
- Neglected appearance and poor hygiene
People who struggle with substance abuse problems are likely to behave differently when they are intoxicated versus when they are sober they may say or do hurtful things, and they are likely to take serious risks with their life, such as driving while intoxicated. These behavioral problems can cause intense worry and fear in loved ones.