Addiction is a vicious cycle that is very difficult to escape without the assistance and support of those around you.
One thing leads to another, and the negative social consequences further intensify the problem. Especially if the family is not supportive or distance themselves from the person, things can go from bad to worse.
If you have a loved one suffering from addiction, you need to be very careful in dealing with them. You are a significant part of the recovery process, and both during and after the treatment, your support matters.
Following are some tips you should use when dealing with an addicted loved one.
1. Encourage them to seek professional help
The first thing anyone can do for an addict is to help them join a drug rehab center. An addict would not initially want to hear about it, so begin by establishing an attitude of compassion and support towards them.
Once they are ready to listen to you, make well-informed suggestions about treatment approaches. There are many interventions, ranging from inpatient treatment and residential rehab to partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient programs, depending on the severity of the addiction.
The length of the recovery also varies from patient to patient, typically lasting at least 90 days. Some patients may need different interventions in a stepwise manner.
Most rehabilitation interventions accept insurance coverage, so you won’t have to worry too much about expenses. The rehab cost covered by insurance varies depending on the insurance plan and rehabilitation center.
The Delphi Health Group, for instance, accepts most insurance plans and offers affordable clinical therapies, both as residential hospitalization or outpatient treatment.
2. Support your loved one through treatment
Recovery from addiction is not a quick or one-step process. While you may have pushed the person towards seeking treatment, let them assume responsibility for the treatment process and assist them in doing so.
Remember not to expect too much too early because that may only lead to disappointment. Give them time and space and ensure that they are following through on the treatment advice.
You can help them identify and avoid triggers to substance cravings by keeping them distracted. Assist them in developing new interests like joining sports camps, hiking, cycling, or painting.
While treating the primary problem, don’t forget to address co-occurring concerns like anxiety or depression. These may worsen as the withdrawal sets – the person may have been relying on drugs for symptom relief.
Hence, keep an eye on such symptoms and look for healthier coping mechanisms. In short, don’t let them feel abandoned during the treatment process.
3. Educate yourself
Educating yourself about addiction will help you adopt a positive attitude towards the person and avoid blaming the victim.
Research suggests that addiction often stems from brain changes, not wilfulness or weakness. This can minimize feelings of resentment or anger towards the addict.
Hence, educate yourself about the causes, treatments, and neurological changes associated with addiction. Such knowledge will also let you give your loved one more well-informed advice and support.
Many treatment interventions educate the patient and the family about the association of brain chemistry with anxiety or depression and health with addiction.
They are informed about relapse prevention, ways to cope with stress, and the role of the family in recovery. Such knowledge is the first step of your part in the treatment.
4. Set clear boundaries and avoid ‘enabling’ behavior
When your loved one suffers from withdrawal symptoms, you will certainly feel sympathy. However, remember not to give in to their requests, provide financial assistance, or cover up for them. Doing so only worsens the situation and harms them in the long run.
Establish rules, talk to your loved one directly, and be their constant support while setting rules against drug use and visiting other drug users or suppliers.
Don’t pay off their debts for them. Demand that they pay their part of the house rent and don’t lend them money.
As difficult as this may be, it helps create a sense of responsibility in them and a fear of the consequences of their actions. Keep reminding yourself that you are only protecting them in the long run.
5. Don’t forget to care for yourself
Living with an addict can be immensely stressful and frustrating. You must avoid burnout from the constant struggle in helping the person fight the addiction.
In caring for the addict, remember not to let it affect your eating habits and sleep patterns. Also, find support for yourself by joining a support group or talking to friends, as catharsis can be very helpful in relieving pent-up stress.
You can also practice catharsis through other activities like writing, exercise, or volunteering.
In recovery from addiction, the family plays a vital role. It is also essential to know how best to deal with the situation.
Educate yourself, don’t enable the addict, set boundaries, and seek rehab intervention. Yes, it might be challenging to see your loved ones suffering withdrawal symptoms, but know it is in their best interest.
If you live with a loved one who is an addict, stress is inevitable. Just don’t let the stress overwhelm you, and don’t neglect your own health.
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