Ways to deal with an addict in the family

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Drug abuse often stems from misguided attempts to manage stress and conflicts and worries. Most people turn to alcohol or drugs to unwind and relax after a stressful event or to cover up painful memories and emotions. This act can lead to addiction and addiction, which is a disease that affects most if not all members of the family.

Addiction in a close relative or family member is a stressful life situation that persists for years; and that long term dysfunction can make it hard for families to communicate and relate well with each other.

Addictions usually have emotional, psychological and financial effects on those close to the addicted person. Addiction can steal away the joy of families, their peace of mind and their happiness especially if the addicted pushes the addict to violence.  It can also be life threatening to both the individual; and to the family members at large.

Long term alcohol abuse can cause physical and emotional damage to the individual, including liver disease or damage, certain cancers, hepatitis as well as mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. If a family member is addicted, family and friends will start looking for steps to help the person they love come out of this horrible and life threatening situation.

Here are ways to help a loved overcome addiction.

Recognize the complexity of the addiction: Addiction is a complex and widespread problem. It can have both physical and mental dimensions. Understanding the complexity and duration of addiction can proffer a way to cope with the situation. However, It is also important for family members to know that there are underlying biological processes that makes drug addiction very difficult to overcome.

Speak up: Talk with your loved one about your concerns regarding their addiction. Try to do this in a way that is non-confrontational and non-judgmental.  Focus on your feelings rather than making accusations or judgments. For example, you might say: “I am really worried or we the family members are really worried that your drinking habit may affect your health, rather than saying “you drink too much. Don’t you know it can destroy your health?” You can ask friends and family members to voice their concerns as well. Help your loved one see how their addiction has affected them. Tell your loved one how their behavior, goals, or attitudes have changed since they got addicted.  Remind your loved one about their life goals and ambitions, and the person they wanted to be in the future.

Avoid negative communication pattern: Try as much as possible to avoid communicating with them in a negative pattern that might be sending the wrong signal/message. For example avoid preaching or manipulating them to change.  Try as much as possible to stop using guilt to try to get them to change or quit their addiction.  Stop coming to the aid of an addict with excuses to save them from consequences, taking on your loved one’s responsibilities for them, hiding their shots or throwing them away. It is a better idea to advise them to do so themselves.

Show love and Respect:  No matter the complexity of the addiction and no matter how insane the person might behave, never ignore or abandon them. Always show love and respect to them by so doing you might be sending a message that will help the person have a rethink about their behavior.

Fighting or arguing with an addict when they are under the influence of a shot will not help the situation. It is very important even though difficult to maintain your cool whenever there is an argument or a fight.

 

By Mercy Kukah

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