Family can be one of our greatest sources of physical security and emotional support. But the home environment can also promote destructive emotions and behavior, including substance abuse and dependence. The genetic ties that make blood relatives so close can also harbor the seeds of compulsive or addictive behavior, and the self-destructive acts children see in their parents can become habits that affect their own lives as they age. Partners or spouses can feel deeply betrayed or abandoned when the person they love turns to alcohol or drugs. Understanding the nature of addiction and treatment options can help family members avoid the cycle of addiction or stick around when substance abuse interferes with their lives.
No matter how much a person knows about addiction, it can still come as a surprise to discover that a relative has a substance abuse problem. While it can be painful to face the reality that a loved one is addicted, it is easier to face this reality with the support of professionals and experts who understand the disease of addiction. Substance abuse counselors, family therapists, marriage counselors, spiritual leaders, school counselors, and intervention specialists are some of the leaders who can help families cope with the effects of addiction and mend broken bonds. Learning about the experiences of families struggling with substance abuse and the resources available to deal with those experiences can make it easier to overcome this common illness.
Substance abuse: how big is the problem?
In popular culture stereotypes of the American family, drugs and alcohol are not part of a happy home. However, statistics show that the problem of substance abuse affects people from all walks of life, including parents, children, spouses and partners living in "normal" homes. According toNational Survey on Drug Use and Health(NSDUH) 2014, one in 10 Americans age 12 and older has used an illicit drug in the past 30 days, more than any year since 2002.In particular, the main reasons for this increase include the increase in marijuana abuse and the non-medical use of prescription drugs.narcotic pain relievers, such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, and fentanyl.
Alcohol abuse is also common in American homes. Of the 139.7 million Americans age 12 and older who reported drinking alcohol in 2014, 16.3 million identified themselves as "heavy drinkers" and 60.9 million said they were "heavy drinkers."God bless you.
HeNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)binge drinking is defined as consuming 4 to 5 drinks in a two-hour period, while binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks on five or more days in the past month.
These numbers become even more significant when you take into account the families and partners of these individuals. Anyone who abuses alcohol or drugs affects the life of a child, parent, sibling, spouse or partner. estimates ofChild welfare information portalPoint out that 12 percent of American children live with at least one parent who abuses alcohol or drugs or has a substance use disorder. Children of drug-abusing parents are at greater risk of neglect, poverty, and abuse, and are at greater risk of developing a substance use disorder. Untiltwo-thirds of child abuse casesimply chemical dependence in some way, andIt took more than 30 percent of children from their homes.by Child Protective Services in 2012 were removed due to parental drug or alcohol abuse.
There is no doubt that parental substance abuse affects children's physical and emotional development, but addiction also affects the health of the family as a whole. For all members of a family to have fulfilling relationships and healthy lives, substance abuse treatment must target all family members, not just the person using drugs or alcohol, she says.social service in health. When researching available resources for families with addictions, it's important to consider the emotional, psychological, and physical needs of everyone in the household.
Recognize the signs of substance abuse
No matter how well we think we know the people we share our homes and hearts with, each individual is capable of keeping secrets. Addiction naturally leads the individual to suppress painful emotions and harmful behaviors in order to fuel episodes of alcohol or drug use. Signs of addiction can range from the obvious to the subtle and can show up in a person's appearance, behavior, mood, mental functioning, job status or finances.
Perhaps most importantly for families, addiction can affect the quality of interpersonal relationships. Addiction can erode once-strong relationships, create an atmosphere of mistrust, and create feelings of betrayal. The following checklist can help family members identify possible signs of addiction in the early stages of the illness.
When looking for possible signs of addiction, remember that substance abuse affects many areas of a person's life, and one or two changes in habits or appearance do not necessarily prove that a loved one is addicted to drugs. These changes can also be caused by medical conditions such as depression, personal loss, work stress, or a difficult life transition. A psychiatrist or addiction counselor can help determine whether changes in the person's life are due to addiction or substance abuse.
Changes That May Indicate Substance Abuse: A Checklist for Families
If you ticked at least one of these two or more categories and your loved one has demonstrated a habit of using alcohol or drugs, they most likely have a substance abuse problem. It can be tempting to disguise the problem as external circumstances ("She's been having a hard time since she got divorced" or "He's going to stop drinking as soon as he's done with that stressful project"). However, a pattern of destructive drug or alcohol use indicates that the affected person, as well as the entire family, needs help and support to recover from this illness.
How Addiction Affects the Family
Substance abuse affects the family at all levels: emotional, psychological, economic and social. Parental concerns about getting drunk or high can lead to thisneglect the abuse. The use of alcohol and drugs can lead to financial difficulties, poverty or bankruptcy. Shame and embarrassment over a family member's drunken behavior can lead to social isolation and avoiding friends or family outside the home. These factors can create a destructive cycle in which substance abuse leads to emotional pain or mental instability, leading to even greater cravings for alcohol or drugs.
Worst of all, addiction undermines the loving, trusting relationships that support a healthy family. Children may be forced to play a parental role for parents who can no longer function independently. Spouses may hide their addiction from their partners and lie about their actions or expenses. Parents of addicted children may do anything to rescue a son or daughter from a destructive lifestyle, only to experience the heartbreak of seeing their child return to that lifestyle again and again. Restoring these relationships, which were often damaged long before the onset of substance abuse, takes time, patience and the support of addiction professionals.
Talking about substance abuse with a family member is never easy, but in most cases, the person with the problem will not be the person to initiate the conversation. Whether your loved one is your child, parent, or partner, there are certain techniques you can use to make that difficult conversation a little easier and less painful. In addition, there are practices and attitudes to avoid in order to achieve your goal of getting help for your loved one.
Approaches to Talking to Loved Ones about Addiction
For many families, the prospect of substance abuse is so frightening that they would rather hide the problem than confront their loved ones. It's important to remember that while facing the problem can be uncomfortable, it actually offers a path to healing and reconciliation. Denial just creates more obstacles to recovery.
Seek external intervention
Even when families approach addiction with a compassionate, nonjudgmental attitude, there are times when the best attempts to help a loved one fail. Addiction is a chronic brain disorder that can distort reality, making people feel that change is impossible. When a person is trapped in the addiction cycle, the brain's overwhelming need for chemical gratification can overwhelm the mind. When confronted with the family, the loved one may fly into a rage, become withdrawn, or even violent. Communication may seem impossible and parents or partners may feel powerless.
When communication between family members breaks down, it may be a good time to seek help from a professional who understands the effects of substance abuse. Some of the best sources for professional advice in an addiction crisis are:
An experienced professional can help a family overcome resistance that is blocking the way to treatment. This process usually takes place through a formally structured intervention. An intervention is a pre-arranged meeting with a loved one who uses drugs or alcohol, where affected family members, friends or colleagues of the affected person meet to discuss the problem and try to persuade the affected person to seek treatment.
During the meeting - which can be scheduled with or without knowing the reason for the conversation - the specialist meets with the affected family members to discuss the problem and propose a solution. The two main goals of an intervention are (1) to help the person with the problem see the connection between substance abuse and problems in their life and ) to persuade the person to seek treatment. Many interventionists recommend providing the person with a contract that clarifies the family's expectations and the consequences that will occur if the person does not meet these expectations or refuses treatment. Expectations may include changes in behavior or stopping certain activities and accepting detoxification and rehabilitation. Examples of expectations and consequences are listed below: