Addiction is a disease, not a choice. It is a condition where an individual keeps engaging in a specific behavior or substance use despite experiencing adverse effects. Addiction effects are vast and can be categorized into social, legal, health, and financial effects.
When a loved one is addicted to a behavior or substance, it could also affect us. However, they need help rather than judgement, rebuke, or isolation.
Some of the steps you can take to help a loved one include educating yourself, being compassionate, offering your support, encouraging them to get help, don’t enable their addiction, setting realistic expectations, supporting their recovery, and taking care of yourself.
It would help us understand the signs of addiction and factors or excuses our loved ones use to avoid getting help.
It is essential to know the signs of addiction if you suspect you or a loved one is addicted. There are different types of addictions, for example, alcohol, drug, or gambling addictions. Therefore, the signs and symptoms may differ slightly, but there are some general ones to consider.
It is easier to ignore the signs of addiction for some people but could cause some serious long term effects. On the other hand, many people hide their addictions so well that even those closest to them fail to notice. The signs and symptoms of addiction could either be behavioral or physical.
If you approach your loved one about their addiction and getting help about it, they will react. The reaction could be positive or negative. The adverse reactions are usually some form of defense mechanism to avoid addressing the issue at hand. Some of the negative reactions to anticipate include:
Some people will avoid speaking about their issues and avoid you entirely and other loved ones who raise the issue.
Acceptance is the first step in recovery. However, it is hard to get ourselves, let alone our loved ones, to get help. Therefore, your loved one could refuse to acknowledge their addiction as an issue. It may get frustrating to watch them self destruct, and it would be best to get the help of other family members or a professional.
Some loved ones will have an angry reaction even if you approach them politely. There are those that even get aggressive, so it would be best to be careful.
Some of the steps you can take to get a loved one help include:
It is important to learn more about addiction and addicts. For example, you will learn that addiction is a disease and not a choice. Research shows that addiction affects the brain’s part responsible for executive functions like self-rewarding and self-monitoring. Studies show that addiction hijacks our reward systems.
Make use of the many online resources like blogs to treatment centers, university websites, and more.
We have looked at various reactions our loved ones can give if we approach their addiction issue. A compassionate approach may avoid reactions like avoidance and denial. You may need to use some tough love, but you should express your compassion through your support for their treatment. Research shows that an individual’s social relationships can influence the effectiveness of the treatment. Some of the ways to show your compassion include:
As much as you want to show compassion and support to a loved one, you should not enable their addiction. Sometimes, addiction can get worse, and they may stop performing their normal duties and responsibilities.
As a loved one, the urge to step in and help with their responsibilities is strong. For example, you may feel like giving them money, doing their chores, apologizing for their actions, and more. Many people accept they have an addiction and that they need help when they experience the consequences. It may be hard to draw the line between support and enabling, but you should try.
A structured environment with a healthy diet and exercise can motivate a loved one to get help. These healthy habits could motivate them to seek treatment to maintain a fully healthy lifestyle.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself. You also need to be okay to be able to support your loved one. Some of the steps you can take for self-care include:
It would help to reach out to professionals like Coastline Health Behavioral in Orange County, CA. Professionals have a lot of knowledge and experience, which could be the key to encouraging the addict to seek help. Oftentimes detox is required, for information on ultra rapid detox this article lays out the phases of this method and compares it to standard detox processes. A licensed and experienced treatment professional will be able to guide you to the most suitable solution for the individual's case.
It can be hard to convince a loved one to get help with addiction. You can have a better chance if you educate yourself about addiction to understand what they are going through, approach them with compassion and be supportive, draw the line between support an enabling their addiction, encourage them to engage in healthy habits, and take care of yourself.
If your loved one needs help with addiction, you can reach out to Coastline Behavioral Health in California. We are a treatment center that offers various addiction treatment programs like detox, inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, executive rehab, and luxury rehab. Contact us today at (714)841-2260 to learn more and get help for your friend or family member.