Providing support to a loved one struggling with addiction can cause considerable psychological and emotional distress. This guide provides assistance in identifying symptoms of addiction and promotes strategies for improved success in treatment.
What are the Symptoms of Drug or Alcohol Abuse?
Those struggling with addiction exhibit common symptoms, including:
- Difficulty functioning at school or work
- Unusual or aggressive behavior
- Stealing to purchase drugs
- Lying or minimizing substance use issues
If your loved one exhibits any of the above behaviors, he or she may benefit from treatment.
What is Codependency?
Loved ones of addicts often find themselves in one-sided relationships wherein one person depends on the other to meet many of their needs. Codependent relationships are often characterized by emotional and physical abuse. You may feel that your needs are not being met in a codependent relationship.
Getting Help for an Addict
What NOT to do:
Providing support can be helpful, but some forms of support can promote unhealthy relationship dynamics. You should avoid:
- Putting the needs of the other person above your own
- Accepting responsibility for an addict's actions
- Giving in to demands that jeopardize your security or safety
What you SHOULD do:
You can best help your loved one by being aware of the unique challenges that attend addiction and by trying to provide support in a healthy and well-supported fashion. It can also be helpful to attend family groups to get support for yourself.
The Possibility of Relapse
Treatment plans may help addicts, but there is a possibility of relapse. It is critical that those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse seek out treatment options that offer a sustained plan of action, treating the disease of addiction in its full life cycle.