When a family member is suffering from addiction, it may be difficult to cope with the situation. Many people feel upset with their addicted family member while others may blame themselves for what has happened to them. No matter how the family handles it, drug addiction puts a strain on families.
Families usually cope in one of the following ways:
- Anger: family members may feel anger towards the addict for putting a strain on their family. This is when families may begin to spread apart and fight over important issues. This results in a stressful environment.
- Enabling: family members might blame themselves for their loved one’s drug problem. For example, parents of addicts might question their parenting style and blame their child’s addiction as a result of it. This results in the addiction persisting for longer by not letting them accept responsibility for their own actions.
- Supporting: when a family supports their addicted loved one, there is a better chance for recovery. There is open and honest communication and treatment options have been discussed. This results in a more positive outlook for the addict.
So, how does a family handle the impact of drug addiction correctly? Some people may feel anger about why they’d choose this path, while others may feel sad that they lost a special bond with them. Each member may cope with the problem differently and want to do it their own way, but its best to come up with a supportive plan for their loved one collaboratively.
What can you do?
Educate yourself. Learn about the signs and symptoms of drug addiction. Watch out for…
- Weight gain/weight loss
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Financial trouble
- Foggy brain
- Relationship problems
- Shady or unusual behaviors
- Mood swings
You may have your own stereotypes about addicts and the addiction process, so educating yourself will clear up the myths. Addiction and treatment options are constantly evolving.
Think of the causes. Why may your loved one have turned to drugs in the first place? Have they just lost their job or split up with their partner? Recognizing the possibilities of why the addiction started may help in the understanding process.
Accept the addiction. Even though it is hard, you need to be honest with yourself about what is actually going on with your loved one. Accept that they have an addiction; if you stay in denial, nothing will get accomplished.
Talk to your loved one. Let your loved one know that you are there for them no matter what and that you will always love them. Encourage open communication and honesty in conversation. Supporting them along the way is an extremely important factor that will help them in the recovery process.
Explore treatment options. Educate yourself on the different treatment options that are available for your loved one. Chose a holistic rehab facility that promotes the well-being of the person’s mind, body, and spirit so that their chances of recovery increase. It’s okay to get help; this is not a problem that can be taken care of independently.
Love them! It may be hard during this stressful time, but it is important that you still love the family member who is addicted. Know that there is hope for recovery, especially when they are supported by a loving family.
In the midst of this hard time for you and your family, try to maintain a positive and healthy environment. If your family member is suffering from addiction, get help now. For more information on addiction treatment and prevention, call Safe Prevention at 1-877-503-2608.