SUBSTANCE ABUSE VICTIMS
The fact that substance abuse hurts families should not be news.
It is because of this that families need to stay informed about the myths and facts of drug and alcohol addiction: They will need to learn to recognize the symptoms and know how to respond in case their teenager, adult son or daughter, husband or wife, become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Moreover, staying up to date with current trends and the latest research in this field will give families the chance to be aware of further threats that can affect their loved ones.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) explains that you cannot rely on common sense or popular myths. Getting the facts about how alcohol and drugs affect the individual and the family is very important.
WHAT YOU MUST KNOW
According to NCADD, addiction is a family disease that strains the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family’s unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics. Substance abuse hurts families, bringing a lot of stress on household members. It is worth noting that family members who take drugs might exhibit certain behaviors. Drugabuse.gov highlights some of them:
- You can’t count on them to do what they say they will do
- They may forget or get distracted because their focus is on getting and taking drugs
- They might lie or steal money to buy drugs
- They might get fired from their jobs
- They might not come home at night
- They may do bad things they would never do if they weren’t abusing drugs
FAMILIES WILL ADOPT DENIAL TO AVOID THE REALITY IN FRONT OF THEIR EYES
Members of the family of a substance abuser may become extremely inventive in their efforts to contain the problem and avoid the disturbing the family. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics says that families may become characterized by a kind of emotional and psychological constriction, where family members do not feel free to express their authentic selves for fear of triggering disaster; their genuine feelings are often hidden under strategies for keeping safe, like pleasing or withdrawing. The family becomes organized around trying to manage the unmanageable disease of addiction.
SEEK HELP NOT ONLY FOR THE ADDICT BUT FOR YOURSELF
Alcoholism and drug addiction are family diseases. You might think that you need to focus all your attention on the addicted person, and most likely you will do so at the beginning. However, if you don’t take care of yourself you could certainly fall into exhaustion and depression. Since substance abuse is a disease, it is important knowing how to cope with it. For that you must protect yourself at the same time you care for your loved one.
NCADD clarifies that not only does the alcohol or drug user need help, so do you – even if you don’t realize it at the time. You and other family members need and deserve appropriate education, help, and support in finding healthy ways to overcome the negative effects of the disease. Education, counseling, and recovery support groups can help you realize that you are not alone, that you are not responsible for the drinking or drug use, and that you need to take care of yourself, regardless of whether the person you are concerned about chooses to get help.
IF LEFT UNATTENDED, FAMILY STRESS CAN AFFECT THE MIND AND BODY
The stress of coping with a family member who is addicted can create an accumulated trauma, which can eventually affect both the mind and the body of those living in the household. According to the National Association for Children and Alcoholics, if an addiction remains untreated, dysfunctional coping strategies can become embedded in the general behavior of the family. Intense stress can lead to deregulation in the body’s limbic system – that system that helps us to regulate our emotions and our bodily functions. Because the limbic system governs such fundamental functions as mood, emotional tone, appetite, and sleep cycles, when it becomes deregulated it can affect us in far ranging ways. Problems in regulating our emotional inner world can manifest as an impaired ability to regulate levels of fear, anger and sadness. Therefore it is imperative that family members seek help at an appropriate time.
Another reason for seeking help and support for yourself is that in not doing so you might encourage the drug and alcohol addicted person to look for assistance on their own. One good strategy to follow is to do research about recovery treatment options and costs together. That way you will re-emphasize your interest in the substance user getting clean and show him/her that you both need help –and most importantly, that help is available to treat the disease of addiction.
BLVD CAN HELP
If you or a loved one have an addiction to alcohol, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.
Drugabuse.org. Drug Abuse Hurts Families. Retrieved May 11, 2016
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Alcohol and Drug Abuse Affects Everyone in the Family. Retrieved May 11, 2016
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Family Disease. Retrieved May 11, 2016
The National Association for Children and Alcoholics. The Set Up: Living with Addiction. Retrieved May 11, 2016