In 2020, experts declared that Americans were battling two pandemics simultaneously, i.e., COVID-19 and addiction. Statistics regarding drug/alcohol addiction among the masses are devastating. In 2015, NIH revealed that 10% of American adults suffered from substance abuse disorder during their lifetimes. And 75% of them weren’t receiving any form of treatment for their addictions.
The latest statistics show that almost 21 million citizens have at least one obsession. Ranging from eating and shopping to marijuana and the internet – many people are battling some addiction. So, how can you support someone while they recover from this disorder? We’ve compiled some basic dos and don’ts to help you.
A list of dos
It is highly imperative to educate yourself about your family member’s addiction. There’s plenty of study material available online for people who wish to learn about them. But don’t just limit your investigations to studying books/journals. You can also attend meetings by addiction support groups where people share their experiences. Their discussions can help you understand your loved one’s situation more closely.
Get some help
Convince your family member to undergo therapy/counseling for quick recovery. Help them find the best treatment options available and determine which ones are appropriate. We advise you to approach the Delphi Health Group when a loved one’s suffering from an addiction that requires individualized treatment. With centers across the United States, this institute provides various medical services. Whether your loved one needs detox, residential, or outpatient care, they will cater to their needs expertly. Finding the right rehabilitation center constitutes the beginning of recovery.
Be honest with them
Don’t ignore the problem your family member suffers from; instead, address it respectfully. You must demonstrate honesty with them by expressing how their addiction has affected everyone, including you. There’s no need for intervention if you think it’ll trigger an angry response. Discuss these matters with them to explain how this addiction is threatening your relationship. Please don’t neglect this problem when it can be controlled with a simple dialogue.
Cornering an addict isn’t a viable solution to help them overcome this addiction. So, you should respect your family member’s privacy. Don’t stop being supportive while giving them some space if they’re asking for seclusion to deal with their obsessions. Don’t force them to quit (and we’ll further explain this point in the next section). Your loved one expects you to become a source of inspiration and strength. So, continue just being there for them whenever they’re feeling overwhelmed.
Take care of yourself
If you’re the patient’s primary caregiver, you must prioritize your well-being. Self-care is essential for those who are actively supporting an addict’s decision to recover. We recommend trying several techniques to keep a sharp mind while improving your mental and physical health. These include getting enough sleep, exercising, drinking lots of water, and consuming nutritious meals.
A list of don’ts
Don’t give an ultimatum
The worst thing you can do with an addict in the family is to give them an ultimatum. Forcing addicts to quit by using emotional threats doesn’t help them recover. It’s harmful to tell an addict, “If you love me, then quit doing this.” This demand would be overwhelming for a person who is already battling an addiction. So, we suggest avoiding such ultimatums. Instead, convince them to opt for recovery options.
It isn’t good criticizing a patient or threatening them about their addiction. Understand that they can’t help indulging in these addictions. Many addicts dislike their obsessions and wish to overcome them. But threatening them or embarrassing them won’t support their decision to quit. Besides, your harsh words may contribute to shame and diminish their self-confidence. The last thing you need for your loved ones is to lessen their desire to recover.
Don’t blame yourself
You don’t have to blame yourself for their condition. Ignore any pointer fingers that seek to interfere in your loved one’s recovery by holding you responsible for the patient’s misery. The ritual of denial and excuses can only hurt people. So, don’t let accusations damage your mental peace. It’s better to focus solely on your family member’s recovery. Stay away from self-loathing and avoid any feeling that distracts you from finding the right treatment option for the patient.
Many people enable a loved one’s addiction unintentionally without knowing that their actions are hurting the patient. So, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms that you’ve become an enabler. An enabler can sometimes accidentally strengthen a person’s addiction while attempting to help them heal. For instance, cutting off financial assistance or forcing them to start treatment immediately are some actions that enable the addict. Enablers compel a person to continue with the addiction.
Addictions don’t form quickly; it takes time (and often persuasion) to acquire one. Today, youngsters turn to drugs either to join a social circle or merely to give it a shot. But such substance abuse leads to various mental and physical problems, which are sometimes even chronic illnesses. A Gallup survey revealed in 2019 that almost 50% of American families had felt the impact of substance abuse. Moreover, stats show that some 46% of US adults have seen a family member battling addiction. You should not force that person to quit that addiction but don’t ignore that problem either. Instead, address the issue by educating yourself about that addiction and look for treatment options to help your loved one recover.