For Families

 

The American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and World Health Organization, have stated that addiction is a powerful disease. Just like other diseases treatment and recovery can be possible.
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Encourage the person to acknowledge the problems and seek help for themselves. Suggest a professional evaluation with a licensed physician, preferably at a medical center that's equipped to treat addiction problems and psychiatric conditions. If the person is reluctant, do the legwork yourself - find the facility, make the appointment, offer to go with the person. A little encouragement may be all it takes. If you talk to the physician first, be honest and candid about the troubling behavior. Your input may give the doctor valuable diagnostic clues. Remind them that no one is here to judge; that everyone is here to help!

The American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association17, and World Health Organization18, have stated that addiction is a disease and a powerful disease at that. Just like other diseases, treatment and recovery can be possible.

When family and friends participate in the recovery program, they learn how to stop enabling. Enabling is acting in ways that essentially help or encourage the person to maintain their habit of drinking or getting high. For instance, a woman whose husband routinely drinks too much, might call in sick for him when he is too drunk to go to work. That's enabling. Likewise, family members or friends might give an addict money which is used to buy drugs, because they’re either sorry for him or afraid of him. That’s enabling also.

If you’re wondering how else you can help an addict or an alcoholic in your life, visit us at Access Hospital Dayton and check out the website besmartbewell.com for resources to help the loved ones in your life and remember these important approaches. 

 

  • Treat it like a Disease
    Addiction is a brain disease. The best way to help an addict or help an alcoholic is to remember that addiction changes the way the brain works, and it’s the disease causing the person to behave in harmful or hurtful ways. By viewing addiction as a disease, loved ones can better see the problem for what it is and help the addict get the care he or she needs on the road to addiction recovery.
  • Lose the Stigma, Lose the Shame
    Too many people delay or avoid seeking addiction treatment because they are ashamed to identify themselves or their loved one as an addict. If you want to help an addict or help an alcoholic, remember that addiction is a disease. An addict is not a person with a weakness, but a person with a disease.
  • Seek Treatment
    Addiction cannot be cured, but it can be managed. This is similar to how asthma can be managed but not cured. It’s important to remember, however, that most people cannot overcome addiction on their own. They need addiction treatment .
    Addiction treatment helps addicts change their behaviors as they pursue addiction recovery. It also provides them with coping mechanisms for handling stress and situations that might trigger a drug craving. Addiction treatment may include medication, individual therapy, group therapy and/or family therapy. Under certain circumstances, addiction treatment and recovery requires admission to a hospital, addiction facility or outpatient program.
  • Don't Despair if Relapse Occurs
    Treatment for addiction is not the same as a cure for addiction. Addiction is a chronic, lifelong disease. Like any chronic disease that requires lifestyle changes, the relapse rates for addiction are high—with as many as half of addicts relapsing after one year. For many, relapse is simply part of the overall treatment process.
    However sad or frustrating relapse can be for friends and family members who have invested time, energy, and emotion into helping their loved ones attempt to get their lives back on track; relapse does not mean a person will never become sober or that addiction recovery is impossible. Relapse simply means that further treatment and support are needed.
  • Be in it for the Long Haul
    In order to help an addict or alcoholic stay sober, loved ones must commit to providing long-term support. The pull of drugs or alcohol will always be there, and the addict must work over the course of his or her life to fight the urges and behaviors that first led to drug use, and avoid the social situations and stressors that trigger the urge for drug use.
    Rest assured, though, that the longer a person stays sober after treatment, the more likely that he or she will be able to maintain long-term sobriety. With your support and care from experts, addiction recovery can become a reality in someone’s life.
  • Learn the Signs of Relapse 
    The informative website lists the following as signs or symptoms of relapse:
    Romanticizing or longing for the old days
    Believing they are strong enough to use again without falling back into addiction
    Starting to reconnect with old friends from addiction days
    Becoming defensive and no longer able to accept constructive criticism
    Beginning the pattern of denial that was present during the addiction
    Changes in attitude or behavior
    Sudden feelings of depression and loneliness
    Breaking down of social relationships
    Feelings of extreme stress and tension
    Representing those who are trying to help
    Withdrawal symptoms suddenly start to reappear
    Loss of belief in addiction recovery programming and counseling 


Why Does It Matter? from besmartbewell.com on Vimeo.

They should be calm and understanding, rather than frightened or critical. They should be warm and open, rather than cool or cautious. Although it is fine to ask the person matter-of-factly about the psychiatric treatment they are experiencing, that shouldn’t be the only focus of conversation.
With both rehabilitation for substance abuse and treatment for a psychiatric problem, education, counseling sessions, and support groups for the patient's family are important aspects of overall care. The greater the family's understanding of the problems, the higher the chances the patient will have a lasting recovery. If your loved one has agreed to your involvement; ask to speak to one of our social workers here at Access Dayton and let them know you would like to be linked with additional resources for your loved one’s continued success after their discharge from the hospital.
Some families tend to assume that when their loved one returns, they will be “cured” or “back to their old self.” This misconception can be highly detrimental for both you and your loved one. Although they were able to return home, their journey is just beginning and setting expectations for their recovery can compromise their treatment.

When your loved one returns home, try not to remind them or compare them to what they “used to do” or “used to be like” before treatment. Even if you feel you are complimenting their “improved self” their self-worth and confidence are very important during this healing process and the comparison or reminder of their previous behaviors could trigger feelings of inadequacy or self-loathing. Instead focus on their present, taking them as they are and listening to their thoughts, feelings, and concerns about their treatment, their future, or the impacts of their medications. Without probing, this process will enable you to be active in their continued treatment success.