It’s no secret that addiction is known as the family disease due to its unique ability to reach even the least engaged members. A passage in Psychology Today states that every family has its own “organization,” and family members develop particular ways of acting and reacting with each other and the outside world. They help shape the dynamic, and those in tight-knit families understand that they operate as a unit.
There is a quote that says a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and when a family member succumbs to the disease known as addiction, it can tear the family to shreds. Lies, deceit, and theft begin to accumulate as trust begins to deteriorate. At a certain point, the entire family starts to break apart.
The addiction of a loved one brings up many difficult questions that may leave you at a loss. It is common not to understand why and what is happening, and it feels like a rollercoaster of emotions that you don’t know how to get off.
Enabling a drug user may feel like the right choice at the moment. You begin to rationalize their behaviors and say they can’t help it. You may think they are going to get hurt if you don’t give them money, or the person in question will be harmed if they have nowhere to sleep that night.
The other half of the family may tell you to let them learn the hard way, while one side wants to help. Unfortunately, this behavior is known as enabling and can be the quickest one-way ticket to the grave.
Sending a family member to rehab may be one of the most challenging decisions someone can make, and sometimes the family who is dealing with the drug user is stuck in their own frustration, anger, depression, or sadness. No family is immune from addiction, and anyone can become addicted at any time. On that same note, anyone can become affected by another person’s addiction as well. The stress of worrying about an active drug user has the strength to ruin families, but it can also decimate the people around them.
Unfortunately, we cannot control an addiction no matter how hard we try. Love is not enough when it comes to treating addiction, and someone who is not ready to change will not take the necessary precautions to begin dealing with their issues. There are some things you can do as a friend, family member, or loved one to encourage someone to seek treatment and help them prepare for the transition into sobriety. There are a few things you must know before considering getting someone into treatment.
Knowing the Signs
You must be conscious of the signs of addiction and be ready to address the problem to the family. At one point or another, addiction is going to make its presence felt despite how much someone tries to hide it. In order to try and stop it from becoming deep-rooted, knowing the signs can help combat the problem and potentially save the drug user’s life. Addiction has a way of going unnoticed for months even years.
Different drugs will come with a different set of physical and emotional signs. Drug use as a whole, however, comes with several common behavioral signs. Long periods of addiction will yield greater consequences as the disease has festered in someone’s brain and the effects are more profound in their life.
Below we will list some general signs and symptoms of addiction that can give you a better picture if someone in your family is struggling with a substance use disorder:
- Isolationism: It is extremely common for drug users to withdraw from their normal routine and hobbies they enjoy. It may result from depression or trying to hide their drug use because of guilt.
- Changing social circles: You are the company you keep is a phrase you may have heard a family member mutter when you were growing up. When you are using drugs, sudden changes in friends that abuse drugs or alcohol can indicate their own habit is becoming more serious.
- Loss of control: Drug use often starts recreationally or because of an accident. 80 percent of heroin users began using the drug because of prescription opioids. When dependence does occur, the user will find it difficult to stop using the drugs in excess. They use drugs to maintain normalcy in their lives.
- Decrease in work or school output: Benzodiazepines or alcohol can affect cognition and mental ability when the user is under the influence. It can cause someone to perform poorly in school or work and can cause them to feed their addiction and avoid painful withdrawal symptoms.
- Engaging in risky behavior: Drug use and risk-taking go together, and when desperation kicks in to attain the drug, users may go to extreme lengths to get their hands on their drug of choice.
- Legal issues: Increasing risks and engaging in questionable behavior can lead to legal consequences. It can happen if someone is caught with drugs, trying to steal money, or committing crimes to get their fix.
- Physical changes: Drug use can create adverse effects on our bodies such as weight loss, weight gain, a noticeable change in our appearance and hygiene.
Finding the Right Level of Care
If everything we’ve described above adequately describes a family member, it’s imperative that you learn about effective treatment. One thing to know about addiction treatment is that it is not a one-size fit all solution. Human beings all possess unique characteristics that make us who we are. Addiction treatment must reflect these individual traits and allow the person to be themselves while adjusting to life without drugs.
Effective treatment will address multiple needs, and customize the process on an individual basis. Upon entry, clinicians will do a thorough assessment of their client that aims at finding what will help this person abstain from drugs long-term. Treatment must last long enough to address these needs and involve evidence-based therapy options. The level of care your family member is placed in should have the tools to handle these requirements.
Do They Have To Want Treatment?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a study notating that treatment does not have to be voluntary for it to be effective. Sometimes putting your foot down and pushing a loved one out of the house may seem like coercion, but the drug user may need to hit rock bottom before treatment works.
Addiction treatment research has also shown that mandated treatment can be useful. Sometimes the person is so lost in the fog of using that they can’t imagine getting help. When they are placed in a position where they have to get treatment, it can lead to better outcomes.
Let Serenity at Summit Help Your Family Member Today
If your family member is currently struggling with a substance use disorder involving drugs or alcohol, it’s imperative that they get the treatment they deserve. Sometimes you can get so lost in addiction that you can’t decipher the difference between fantasy and reality. Unfortunately, this is the path that can lead to darkness or even death.Let Serenity at Summit be the hand that guides you toward the bright light of sobriety. Our addiction specialists are ready to listen to your story today. Feel free to give us a call 855-956-4940 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help.