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Helping your loved one with their addiction

March 4, 2014
Addiction, whether it is drugs, alcohol or anything else, is a terrible illness. However, its effects are not limited solely to the addict. Those who care about the addict carry a massive burden and the effects can include emotional stress, financial consequences and having to adjust one’s whole lifestyle to suit the addict. Getting help for the addict will not only help them to recover, but it will help those around the addict to get their lives back on track and live a happier life.

However, getting help is not always straightforward. There is no single method that will help them get better, although there is some general advice that will help. The eventual aim is an intervention that leads to the addict accepting help, often in the form of rehabilitation. If your loved one is suffering from addiction, here are some steps that you can take to help to get your life back on track:

Learn the facts about their addiction

Two of the biggest factors that feed addiction are ignorance and denial; this applies to the addict and the people around them. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and will enable the addict to continue their behaviour and feed their denial. Find out the extent and characteristics of your loved one’s problems to find the best way to address the situation. Understanding the symptoms of addiction and the effects of the drugs can enable a more effective intervention.

Visit your doctor and also self-help meetings to find information and documentation on the addiction. This will help you decide which course of treatment you feel is most adequate and if you feel your loved one should enter alcohol or drug rehabilitation.

Do it early

There is a myth that a drug addict or alcoholic must reach “rock bottom” before accepting help. This is not just incorrect, but dangerous too. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is potentially life threatening and addressing the problem as early as possible can not only help them put their life back together but also save their life. If they reach “rock bottom”, then it may be too late.

Discuss it with your family and friends

Many people will feel guilty about discussing somebody they care about behind their back and will see it as a form of betrayal. However, this is not the case; you are helping them! Because people are reluctant to discuss somebody else’s problems, it can lead to a denial that such issues exist. This is particularly true when the addict has a full time job and appears to be a good parent or spouse. Get your feelings off your chest and get feedback from others.

Form an intervention

Set a date and location to confront your loved one with your feelings and that of others. The aim of the meeting will be to get the individual to admit that a problem exists, that their behaviour affects those they care about and that they need treatment. For more information, visit our interventions page.

If a loved one has an addiction and you feel that they need help, call Cassiobury Court on 0800 500 3129 for advice.
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