Addiction has devastating effects that stretch out far beyond the person dealing with it. Regardless of who in the family has the problem, addiction can altogether turn the lives of the immediate family members and anyone else who cares about the person upside down.
If you suspect that your loved one is dealing with drug or alcohol addiction or you’re already feeling the emotional or financial strain, you’ll want to know what to do and how to treat them in a way that increases a positive outcome. Below are some tips for helping a loved one with an alcohol and/or drug addiction problem.
1.) Learn what Addiction is, including the Symptoms and Risk Factors.
Many people are still stuck in the school of thought that addiction is nothing but a mere weakness of will and continue to regard those dealing with it as immoral or a total waste of space. While no one coerced an addicted person to start abusing alcohol or drugs, it’s quite difficult to fathom how one would become devoid of control and go great lengths—even to the point of ruining their health, relationships, and their lives—just to satisfy their urge. Surely, if conquering addiction were as simple as quitting on a sudden turn of their mind, the problem would have been so much easier to address and relapse would not be an issue.
The best way to dispel misconceptions about addiction is to equip yourself with as much useful information as possible. Lear what addiction is, include the symptoms and risk factors of addiction. Learn how addiction impacts the family and other loved ones. Learn what resources are available for the individual using and the family members. Learn how and why a person may become addicted. Learn what to expect when some enters treatment. Learn the difference between a relapse and a lapse, its health and safety risks, and how to best address the situation. This way, you can take a level-headed, compassionate, and nonjudgmental approach to the problem, and ultimately become instrumental in your loved one’s recovery.
2.) Seek professional help.
The longer you try to solve the problem on your own, the more complicated it will likely become. Your best bet is to consult an addiction specialist, such as a psychologist, professional counselor, or social worker, who can help you devise an effective intervention strategy and connect you to community resources. In the context of alcohol or drug abuse, an intervention is an organized way to confront your loved one about their problem. The addiction specialist will recommend the best approach and the most suitable type of treatment and follow-up plan while taking into account your loved one’s unique circumstances.
Before discussing the addiction issue with your loved one, it is important to keep in mind your loved one’s current and historical behavior pattern. You should pay attention if your loved one has suicidal tendencies, history of violence or mental illness, or you think they may be under the influence of mood-altering substances.
3.) Be emotionally prepared to handle your loved one’s Defense Mechanisms.
Not all interventions are successful. Denial, in itself, is a coping mechanism that your loved one may use to deny the severity of their issue or to refuse treatment.
Make sure to prepare yourself emotionally for such possibilities, while remaining steadfast and hopeful that something positive will come out of the situation. Be patient, understand that this takes time, continue with your compassionate approach, and be prepared to deal with the challenges of having to follow through with your request for your loved one to become sober.
You and your family members can continue to do things to help, even if your attempts thus far have not worked. These include reaching out to support groups, asking the people around your loved one to not enable their destructive behavior, and ensuring that you yourselves are well enough to manage the stress of helping your loved one deal with addiction. Even if your loved one has refused treatment, continue to work with the addiction specialist who can guide you and equip you to navigate the emotionally taxing challenges of your loved one’s addiction.
Addiction Treatment and Recovery in Danville and Martinsville, VA
Sometimes you may think your efforts seem futile, because you can’t see where the road is going, but don’t lose hope—turn to us here at Epic Health Partners. We understand that there can be bumps in the road, but you can trust the expertise of our providers to help your loved one achieve full recovery, regardless of what type of addiction they’re dealing with.
Our team of highly qualified professional counselors and social workers combine their compassionate approach to care with evidence-based treatment modalities to deliver the best possible outcomes. The treatment approaches we employ include individual, family, and group counseling; intensive therapy to address co-occurring mental health problems, integration of coping skills, and psych-education.
If your loved one is dealing with opioid addiction, we offer comprehensive office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) services, through which our agency psychiatrist—who is certified in addiction medicine—provides Suboxone treatment in conjunction with other modalities to improve the possibility of maintaining sobriety.