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Helping A Family Member With Addiction

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Having a family member with addiction is, unfortunately, quite common. Millions of families worldwide grapple with the challenges and complexities of a loved one’s substance abuse issues.

There are many questions on how to help family members with addiction. Helping a loved one with addiction involves compassion, guidance, and encouragement while assisting them in finding professional treatment and resources.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction in the Family

Understanding addiction is vital in helping a family member with addiction. Firstly,  understand that addiction or substance abuse disorder (SUD) is a medical condition that can happen to anyone. It is not the result of a lack of willpower or morals. 

Whether an SUD starts with experimental, recreational, or prescription drugs, once addiction gets a choke hold on someone, it’s tough for them to quit. 

Sometimes, it’s difficult to distinguish the difference between one’s moods or behaviors and the signs of addiction. For instance, a teenager who sleeps a lot or prefers to be left alone may be showing signs of addiction. 

Common signs of SUD include: 

  • The urge to use a substance regularly
  • Intense drug or alcohol cravings
  • Needing more of a substance to achieve the desired effect
  • Spending more than one can afford on drugs or alcohol
  • Missing obligations related to work, school, or family
  • Continuing to use the drug, even though it’s causing personal or psychological problems
  • Engaging in illegal or risky behaviors to get drugs or alcohol
  • Driving or engaging in other risky activities while under the influence 
  • Failing in attempts to stop using
  • Experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using
  • Neglected appearance, like wearing the same outfit day after day, lack of hygiene
  • Changes in behavior, like sneaking around or drastic changes in friends groups
  • Money issues, like requests for money without an explanation or stealing money from family members

The risk of getting addicted to alcohol or drugs varies according to several factors. These include one’s genetic makeup, environment, and the possibility of a co-occurring disorder due to a mental illness.

A group learns how to help a family member with addiction.

The Consequences of Addiction in the Family

Addiction can have profound and far-reaching effects on families, impacting relationships, emotional well-being, and overall family dynamics. One of the most significant ways addiction affects families is through strained relationships and communication breakdowns. 

Family members may experience feelings of betrayal, anger, and frustration as they witness their loved one’s struggle with addiction. Frustrations may lead to a breakdown in trust and create a sense of isolation and dysfunction within the family unit. 

Furthermore, addiction often results in financial strain. Money goes to support the individual’s habit or cover treatment and the cost of rehab. Ultimately, addiction can fracture family bonds and disrupt the stability of the home environment, impacting everyone involved.

Impact of Addiction on Families:

  • Strained relationships and communication breakdowns
  • Feelings of betrayal, anger, and frustration
  • Breakdown in trust and sense of isolation
  • Financial strain and depletion of resources
  • Increased stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Disruption of family dynamics and stability

The effects of addiction on children are particularly devastating, shaping their emotional, social, and cognitive development in profound ways. Growing up in an environment where addiction is present can lead to a range of challenges and long-term consequences well into adulthood. Effects of Addiction on Children:

  • Instability and inconsistency in the home environment
  • Feelings of fear, insecurity, and anxiety
  • Difficulty forming healthy relationships
  • Guilt, shame, and self-blame
  • Impaired ability of parents to provide a safe and nurturing environment
  • Impact on physical health, academic performance, and social relationships
  • Increased risk of substance abuse, mental health disorders, and relationship difficulties in adulthood

How To Help a Loved One With Addiction Get Into Rehab

One of the most significant hurdles when helping a loved one with addiction is figuring out how to help someone who doesn’t want assistance. 

Getting a loved one into rehab may be extremely difficult but not impossible. It requires compassion, strategy, and preparation. Here are some tips on how to get someone into rehab. 

  • Express Empathy and Concern
  • Educate Them About Treatment Options
  • Focus on the Benefits of rehab: 
  • Assure them of your support
  • Set boundaries and consequences

When navigating how to help a family addiction, it’s crucial to determine if a loved one recognizes that they have a problem and if they’ll consider rehab. 

It’s encouraging when there are positive signs that someone is receptive to going to rehab, such as: 

  • Initiating conversations about getting help
  • Asking for information or advice
  • Acknowledging the impact of their addiction
  • Showing interest in support groups or therapy.
  • Making plans for treatment

Recovery from addiction is a daunting task, even more so when the person in question isn’t interested in seeking help. 

Common signs of resistance include:

  • Denial of Addiction
  • Resistance to Discussions About Rehab
  • Downplaying the consequences of addiction
  • Blaming Others
  • Refusal to Consider Treatment Options

At this point, it may be time to take charge with an intervention.

A family learns How to Help a Family Member With Addiction during treatment.

Helping a Family Member With Addiction Through Intervention

A drug or alcohol intervention is the most effective way to get a loved one into rehab. However, this requires a plan. A solid intervention plan includes the loved one’s closest family and friends.

Supporting a loved one through an intervention for addiction can be a challenging but vital step in their recovery journey.

Intervening in a loved one’s addiction requires careful planning, empathy, and understanding. 

Critical steps for a successful intervention include:

  • Gather a small group of supportive friends and family.
  • Educate yourselves about addiction and its effects.
  • Choose a suitable time and location for the intervention.
  • Prepare specific examples of how the addiction has impacted the individual’s life.
  • Express your concerns with empathy and without judgment.
  • Encourage your loved one to seek professional help and offer support in finding treatment options.
  • Communicate boundaries and consequences if they refuse help.
  • Reiterate your unwavering support throughout their recovery journey.

Interventions frequently include a licensed drug counselor or intervention professional, also known as an interventionist. Inviting a professional interventionist may make the process smoother and more successful. 

How To Help a Family Member With Addiction During Rehab

Once a loved one agrees to go into rehab, supporting them through the process is crucial for their recovery. While they’re undergoing treatment, your encouragement, understanding, and assistance can make a significant difference in their progress. 

Begin by educating yourself about addiction and the recovery process so you can better understand what your loved one is going through. 

Ways to support a loved one in rehab:

  • Educate yourself about addiction and the recovery process
  • Maintain open and honest communication
  • Offer words of encouragement and support
  • Respect their privacy and boundaries
  • Be available to listen and provide assistance
  • Remove triggers and temptations from their surroundings
  • Express your unwavering love and commitment to their well-being
  • Celebrate milestones
  • Participate in family therapy and support groups when possible.

Once a loved one has decided to go to rehab, support becomes even more critical. Furthermore, seeking addiction help for families will help family members, especially children, who are affected by the addiction.

A mother successfully learns how to help a family member with addiction.

How to Help A Family Member With Addiction Today

If your loved one is open to rehab, it’s time to help them choose a safe and effective treatment facility that best suits their needs. 

Lexington rehab, Lexington Addiction Center, is here to help. You can rest assured that your loved one will have the full support of our professional and compassionate staff. Our team dedicates itself to each person’s sobriety goals. 

No matter the circumstances, we are a solution for how to help a family member with addiction. 

Contact us today for more information about our individualized treatment approach and how to begin the addiction recovery process. 

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Addiction and co-occurring disorders don’t have to control your life. Louisville Addiction Center is waiting with open arms to give you the tools necessary for lasting change. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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