Recovering from any form of addiction can take a lot of time and energy. When your family is affected, it becomes difficult to know what to do. If your child is suffering from any form of addiction, as a parent it is very hard to know how to cope. Although there is a wealth of material available online, this can often be contradictory or ill-informed, and the wrong advice can end up causing more stress than you were already under.
If you have a family member who is suffering from any form of addiction, here are the right steps to take. They can help them, and you get through the addiction cycle and find your freedom and peace of mind on the other side.
Learn about addiction
There are many studies and research programs that are learning as much about addiction and drug abuse as possible. You need to do the same. Learning about drug addiction can be very beneficial for both hope and real-world expectation. Knowing that addiction can be beaten is a positive step in the right direction, but there is another reason why you should get up to date on the latest research – blame.
Addiction is easy to blame on any number of factors, but the fact is that it remains both a physical and mental issue. The more that you understand how addiction affects people physically, the less likely you will blame either yourself or the addict themselves.
Spotting signs of addiction
It can be very hard to recognize if someone very close to you has an issue with addiction. Addicts will usually go to great lengths to ensure that they are not found out, and that makes it even harder to identify. There are extensive lists of signs available that might help, but the most common indicators of addiction are usually:
- Consistent nausea
- Sleeping problems
- Dilated pupils
- Track marks from needles
- Weight loss or gain
There are also behavioral changes that might be noticeable, and these can sometimes be easier to recognize than hidden physical signs:
- Argumentative attitude
- Depression/mood swings
- Neglecting relationships
- Changes in grooming and cleanliness
If you suspect that someone in your family is suffering from addiction, then you may find that drug paraphernalia is found hidden around the home. These items can be:
- Small spoons
- Cigarette papers
Addicts constantly go through mood changes that can dramatically affect their relationships with the people around them. If a member of your family is ignoring their usual friend group and instead spending all of their time with a new friend circle, this too can be an indicator that they are experimenting with drug use or developing addictive behavior.
It’s important to understand that addiction is treatable. There are recovery programs available for drug addicts of every kind, and they are scattered throughout the country. Look for a local rehab center and make an appointment to work through what the addict can expect. You may need to check your health insurance policy, as some policies have different rules regarding the state that they can be used in. However, it’s never been easier to find Addiction Treatment Services that will take your insurance. It’s certainly worth remembering that it’s not just the addict that is going to need support. You are also going to need to find some mental and emotional support, and you can do that far easier if you have a support network.
Connecting with Peers
It’s certainly not easy living with someone who is suffering from addiction. Whether the addict still lives with you or they are in a rehab center, the more support you have, the better. There are a wide variety of support programs available for families of addicts, and these non-judgemental spaces can provide peace of mind, as well as being a useful source of education and resources. Finding the right support group can help with:
- Improving your quality of life
- Helping your ability to cope with living with an addict
- Reduced stress levels
- Better psychological coping mechanisms
Living with an addict can make those around them feel isolated and vulnerable. Finding a support network can reduce negativity and help you understand what your family is going through.
Looking after yourself
While the majority of your focus is going to be on helping your family through the addiction cycle, it’s essential that you take the time to look after yourself as well. Make sure that you schedule time in your day for personal enjoyment. Don’t miss out on your usual activities and hobbies, and make sure as well that you get some form of exercise.
Getting the blood pumping has been proven to reduce both stress and depression, and having a good workout can help to release dopamine and oxytocin – essential for feeling good about yourself.
This can be a proactive method of keeping your own mental health at optimal levels. Sleep can also be incredibly beneficial. Night times can be particularly difficult for families with an addict, but having a strict evening schedule will make it easier to get a restful nights sleep.
Managing your expectations
If you’re in the recovery stages of addiction treatment, or a member of your family is, then hope can become very high. The issue is being addressed and you’re being proactive in finding workable solutions. However, make sure that your expectations are not too high. Recovery is a process, and there are potential pitfalls that may be encountered. Manage your expectations realistically and be very aware that even after a period of time in a rehab center, relapse is a possibility.
Finding out that a close family member is addicted to a drug can be heartbreaking and frightening. Make sure that you adhere to these steps, and your path through the rehabilitation process will be much smoother. Living with an addict can be difficult, but the more that you face the issue and learn about what to do next, the more you’ll be able to cope in proactive ways.