How To Support A Loved One Addicted To Drugs Or Alcohol
When a loved one falls into alcohol or drug addiction, the effects of that substance abuse go far beyond their health. The journey to support them in finding the necessary help to overcome the addiction can be long and painful. Learning how to support a loved one addicted to drugs is unchartered territory for many family members. By educating yourself on addiction, you can learn how to set boundaries and be caring while avoiding becoming an enabler during the treatment and recovery process.
The Truths About Drug Addiction
“Biological, environmental and behavioral factors all play a role in addiction,” according to Dr. Adi Jaffe, former UCLA lecturer and CEO OF IGNTD, LLC. Dr. Jaffe explains that some people have a biological predisposition that increases the likelihood of them becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. Genetic factors can shape some people’s behavior, making it difficult for them to say no or stop certain actions, even when they know the consequences can be detrimental. Dr. Jaffe says, “A faulty prefrontal cortex can make an individual much more susceptible to addiction.”
In addition to having a genetic predisposition that can lead to addiction, others are inclined to follow the cultural attitude of their surroundings, have an impulsive attitude, or use drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication.
Dr. Shahram Heshmat explains in a Psychology Today article that when people are surrounded by a culture that welcomes and promotes drug use, it’s much easier to become addicted and view substance abuse as socially acceptable behavior. He also notes those with an impulsive personality are at higher risk for addiction because “addicted individuals assign lower values to delayed rewards than to immediate ones. The excessive preference for the immediate rewards despite longer-term consequences leads to problems with addiction.”
Educating yourself on why your loved one has turned to drugs or alcohol is an important piece in supporting them through their recovery. It’s so important to understand that drug or alcohol addiction occurs with choices made one day at a time. Addicts rarely consider the long-term effects of drug use and as they turn to illicit substances day after day, the addiction emerges. When you consider that your loved one didn’t plan to become an addict, it can make the next stages of support easier to step into.
Support For Loved One Addicted To Drugs
Do not misinterpret support for enabling your loved one’s behavior. Their life depends on your guidance into an Arizona drug treatment center that can offer emotional, mental, and physical care. Express to your friend or family member how very deeply they are loved and supported. Individuals who suffer from addiction often feel alone and abandoned, so showing your ongoing support for their recovery can offer a new perspective.
Seek Self-Support When Needed
In addition to showing your love, it’s also crucial to help your loved one see the benefits of drug treatment. That can be a hard conversation, especially if your loved one refuses to acknowledge the addiction problem, which is the case for so many struggling with abuse. In 2017, of the more than 18 million people who needed but did not receive treatment for substance use, only 1 million, or 5.7 percent, of those people felt they needed treatment. Encouraging a loved one into drug or alcohol treatment can make you feel that you are alone in the battle, but statistics show that 1 out of every 8 adults struggled with both alcohol and drug use disorders simultaneously in 2017. There are millions of families that face the same journey of encouraging a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol to accept help. It may help you to find a support group or online organization that can help keep your mental health as you support your family member.
Set Emotional and Physical Boundaries
You will face many difficult days when loving a family member through addiction. At times, it may feel easier to simply provide a safe place for your loved one to stay or be available any time they need you, but you must develop boundaries. Leaning to set emotional and physical boundaries will not only keep you mentally healthy, but it will stop you from enabling your loved one’s destructive behavior.
Choose to not be around the family member when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is possible for you to love them and support them into treatment without condoning their behavior by offering your home, supplying money, or offering transportation each time they call. Be upfront with what you will and will not allow in your home or your presence. Leave no room for misinterpretation of your boundaries.
It’s possible to set these healthy boundaries without withdrawing your love. Your family member will need your support and emotional connection, which you can offer while still holding strong to your boundaries.
Take the First Step
The road to sobriety is long, but you have faith in your loved one and Springboard Recovery is here to help you support them into their first step of drug and alcohol abuse treatment. Whether you just want to equip yourself with information about our drug treatment program or you need help connecting with a professional interventionist, our highly-skilled staff is ready to assist. Contact our friendly team today to see how we can help you support your loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol into a holistic approach to addiction treatment.
- News in Health: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/10/biology-addiction
- American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
- Lifehacker: https://lifehacker.com/how-to-stop-being-an-enabler-1844428337
- UCLA Newsroom: https://newsroom.ucla.edu/
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323465
- Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201711/7-common-reasons-why-people-use-drugs
- Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction
- Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-recovery-coach/201706/dozen-ways-you-can-support-someone-in-recovery
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2017-nsduh-annual-national-report
- Medium: https://medium.com/the-mission/how-to-actually-support-your-loved-ones-fc44ae46d056