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Family is one of the greatest things in life. However, it should not go without saying that there are always struggles in every family. Sometimes, it is an argument or a health concern. Other times, it is addiction. Unfortunately, there are millions of people who have addictions. Every single person they come into contact with from day-to-day could be affected by their addiction. The family members are affected the most.
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There are family dynamics and genetics that play a role in addiction, as well. For example, if you have a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who has an addiction, you do have a higher risk of developing an addiction, too. Not only that, but if you were raised around people who get drunk or high, your environment may teach you that addictive behaviors are normal. It can be difficult to not create that type of lifestyle for yourself.
With all this being said, it is vital to know that substance abuse counselors, nurses, doctors and addiction rehab professionals are here to help anyone overcome an addiction. Whether it is yourself or a loved one, our team here at Better Tomorrow Treatment Center can help you to get clean, work through addictive behaviors and create a healthier lifestyle.
How Big is the Problem of Substance Abuse?
Unfortunately, there are many forms of media, not to mention a lot of society, that promote drinking alcohol and getting high as normal. It is seen as a fun way to hang out with friends and family members. The problem is that substance abuse causes a host of problems including:
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
Relationships, career, physical health, mental health and productivity are just some of the areas of life that addiction can impact. Most of the time, there isn’t one aspect of a person’s life that isn’t somewhat affected by their addiction.
Now that you know this, imagine what addiction is doing to adults. Once you can put this picture in your mind, then, think about the way it impacts children. Not only are some children exposed to addiction, but there are also many children (sometimes as young as pre-teens), that are using illicit drugs or consuming alcohol. Unfortunately, over the past few years, that number is only rising. At times, children get medications from their friends. In other cases, they get or take it from their family members.
Some other statistics that are important to know include:
Out of 139.7 million Americans age 12 and older who reported drinking alcohol in 2014, 16.3 million defined themselves as “heavy drinkers”
Out of the 139.7 million Americans age 12 and older who reported drinking alcohol in 2014, 60.9% reported that they were “binge drinkers” according to the NSDUH
Many of these children were binge drinkers by the time they were 14 years of age. The NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) defines binge drinking as consuming 4 to 5 drinks in a 2-hour period. Maybe, you did this when you were a child and that is how your alcoholism began. You may know of a child who is consuming alcohol. Whether they are a binge drinker or not, the dangers of alcohol consumption are still there.
Whether it is an adult or child who is consuming alcohol or doing drugs, they are impaired when one or more parts of their lives are impacted by the substance. When that happens, they would be diagnosed with a substance use disorder. If this is the case for you or someone you know, there are many addiction rehab treatment programs here at Better Tomorrow Treatment Center that could be right for you. All you have to do is make that first call and we can help you find your way back to sober and clean living.
Parental Substance Abuse Issues
When there is at least one parent in the house that abuses alcohol or drugs, the impacts on the rest of the family, particularly the children are undeniable. Not only are the children’s emotional needs at risk, but they may not have their physical needs met either.
There are so many thoughts, feelings and emotions that run through the minds and hearts of children
when they are exposed to drug and alcohol abuse within the family.
If your children are currently being exposed to this, right now the first thing we want you to do is to forgive yourself. Things can turn around and you can get healthier for yourself and for your children. Here at Better Tomorrow Treatment Center, we have treatment programs that will fit with your parental responsibilities.
Over time, your children might see that you only wanted what was best for them. Sure, the addiction may have derailed things for a bit, but the treatments and recovery programs can help you to get things back on track in your life and in the lives of your children.
Common Signs of Substance Abuse
No matter what you feel or think about the people that share your home or your heart, it is crucial that you have an open mind. Everyone is capable of hiding things from their loved ones, especially when addiction is involved.
Just because you believe your spouse, sibling, children or another family member would tell you anything, if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, all bets are out the window. The painful truth is that they will lie, cheat, binge drink, become irritable and possibly even aggressive due to the addiction.
With this being said, it is important to keep your eyes open for signs of substance abuse. Being able to recognize what substance abuse looks like can help you to notice if your loved one is using drugs or alcohol. It is also important to remember that not everyone will experience the same symptoms, so be wary of this when you are looking for the following signs.
Other Signs of Substance Abuse
In addition to the signs of substance abuse listed in the infographic to the left, there are some other things that you may notice in your family member if they are abusing drugs or alcohol, too. Some of these signs include:
- Feeling hopeless
- Tearing up at inappropriate times
- Laughing when things aren’t funny
- Isolating themselves from people who might judge them
- Poor school and/or work performance
- Neglecting hobbies
- Missing work, school, or other events
If you or someone in your family displays any of these signs, it is important to follow up with these concerns. It could be an addiction or another issue that is happening in their life. It can be quite tempting not to address these problems and just act like it isn’t happening. However, the longer you do this, the more you enable the situation, and the worse things can get from there.
The sooner you confront this person, the sooner you can potentially help them. However, it is crucial that you find a rehab center where your loved one can go before you speak to them. If you already have something lined up in regard to treatment, they may be more willing to go and they will have less time to back out, as well.
Effects of Addiction on the Family – Encompassing it All
Substance abuse often leads to addiction. When this happens, from the beginning stages all the way to rock bottom, the addiction will affect a person’s emotional, financial, psychological and social health.
These effects don’t just end at the addict either. The family members inside and outside of the house are affected in these ways, too.
Some of the damage that can be done include:
- Public intoxication
- Mental instability
- Social isolation
- Trouble paying bills
- Difficulty communicating
Honestly, this is just a shortlist of the damage that drugs and alcohol often do to a family. If you are having a tough time with substance abuse, our Better Tomorrow Treatment Center team wants you to know that you aren’t alone. You don’t have to keep going at this fight feeling like you are going uphill all the time. Let our team assist you in getting clean and into recovery.
Ways to Approach the Problem of Substance Abuse
There is never a simple way to talk about substance abuse with a loved one. However, in many of the cases, there is one thing that is almost certain – the person who has the addiction won’t be the first one to bring it up.
Most likely, you or another family member will have to initiate this conversation. It is going to be difficult and possibly even painful or emotional. However, the sooner you can talk to your loved one about their substance use, addictive habits and negative changes, the sooner they could potentially get into a treatment program.
This is not to say that your loved one is automatically going to accept they need help just because you talk to them. However, if you can follow specific approaches to discussing their addiction, it can increase the chances they will reach out for help in an addiction rehab treatment center.
Look below for the best approaches to speaking to a loved one about their substance abuse issues.
- Asking sensitive questions such as “How are you feeling about life nowadays?”
- Using I and we pronouns such as “I feel sad when I can’t speak to you about how I am feeling when you are drinking.”
- Having a clear plan in place such as “We have found an excellent addiction rehab program close by so you can get started developing your healthier future.”
- Staying compassionate and calm such as “I am here for you and I will be throughout your recovery, as well.”
- Getting support from other family members and friends such as “Your siblings and I agree that a rehab center treatment program would be best in your case.”
If you can start doing these things when approaching your loved one about substance abuse, it can really make a positive difference.
In addition to knowing what you should be doing during this approach, there are some definite “nos” that you should plan to avoid, as well, such as:
- Making angry or mean accusations such as “You never talk to me about your feelings anymore because you are always drunk or hungover.”
- Using the “you” pronoun such as “You never listen when I speak, especially when you are drinking.”
- Making bargains that allow them to continue using drugs or alcohol such as “If you stop drinking by 5 p.m., I will let you stay here.”
- Acting judgmental such as “I would never do the things you do, it is just ridiculous.”
- Trying to handle it on your own such as going into the conversation without other family members or a professional intervention specialist
If you can avoid these things when you go to speak to your loved one about their addiction, it can truly help to avoid certain complications and disagreements.
For a lot of family members who are approaching the topic of addiction or substance abuse, even the thought of doing it is scary. However, just know that you don’t have to do this on your own.
Getting Outside Intervention
Even when you go into this subject with great intentions, there may be some bumps along the way. For example, some families have to talk to their loved one about the addiction multiple times on separate instances before the person will even consider getting help. You may also find that your loved one is unwilling to see things from your point of view. It may take rock bottom before they realize they have an addiction and need help. For these reasons, it may be a good idea to get outside intervention for your loved one.
During the intervention, the intervention specialist can guide you and the other family members through the meeting. It will likely be held in a neutral location, so the person with the addiction doesn’t feel as attacked. In addition, everyone should be at least somewhat prepared for what they are going to say to the addict. It may even help if you say the speech you have prepared out loud to yourself or to others before the intervention. The less emotional you can get during your speech, the better. It isn’t that you want your loved one to think you don’t care. However, you don’t want them to get the best of you and manipulate the situation. There should also be consequences in place if your loved one doesn’t get the help they need. For example, if they don’t go into an addiction treatment program, you will no longer be giving or lending them any money.
Get Addiction Rehab Help for a Family Member or Yourself Today
Do you or a family member have an addiction to drugs or alcohol? If so, you now know more about how this addiction is or has affected the family. Knowing all this information, you may be more willing to get into a treatment program if you are the one with the addiction. If you have a family member with an addiction, following the intervention tips would be the next best step.
If you or your family member are ready to get addiction rehab help, contact us today here at Better Tomorrow Treatment Center.