Addiction is a very often used word. Addiction to TV, addiction to playing games on any device, addiction to certain foods, alcohol addiction and drug addiction are loosely used. Colloquially, it means craving or a significant degree of obsession. When the craving or obsession hits the highest levels where a person cannot function without it, when it becomes all pervasive, that is the onset of addiction.
The worst are alcohol addiction and drug addiction. These addictions are the most difficult to treat. It is relatively easy to help a workaholic reduce his working schedule or to address food addiction. Very rarely does one need the help de-addictions centres for such addictions.
The severe, complicated and often fatal addictions such as alcoholism and drug abuse require drug rehab centres. It is an uphill task. Apart from the financial issues there are domestic issues concerning admission to a Rehabilitation centre. The alcoholic or addict usually resists the admission – mostly due to denial and the enabling factors of the family.
Rehabilitation means bringing back to normalcy using various therapies, medications and counselling techniques such as CBT and motivational interviewing. A psychiatric intervention may also be required.
The best help one can provide to their loved one is de-addiction or rehab at a rehabilitation centre or a drug recovery centre or an alcohol treatment centre. Here treatment would be provided as a live-in patient or as an out-patient, depending on the severity of the addiction, family background, level of motivation and other factors.
Family and friends play a major role in the recovery of an addict. To help an addict in the family who is in the process of rehab, there are certain norms and issues to be understood and followed:
• Face reality: The biggest hurdle for the family is to accept their loved one’s addiction. The question always is ‘why us’ or ‘it cannot happen to us’. Once accepted, half the battle is won. The forthcoming half is an uphill task. The caretakers have to educate themselves on how to deal with the addict. Take full advantage of the help provided by professionals at the rehab.
• It’s a family disease: There is one addict but the entire family gets affected and has to bear the consequences. Family and friends have to get together and put in a joint effort to understand and help their loved one.
• Stay mentally and physically strong and healthy: Self-care is the keyword in this situation. The caretakers have to be physically strong and mentally and emotionally fit to cope with every situation. They have to deal with tantrums, depressions, manipulations, violent outbursts and other unforeseen situations.
• No blame games and guilt trips:For the caretaker and everyone else concerned it is very important to avoid guilt trips, like thinking about past incidents and saying ‘had I done this, my loved one would never have got addicted’. Blame games should be completely avoided within the family also. Do not blame yourself, the addict or any other family member for being the cause of the addiction.
• Accept the difference between helping and enabling:There is a very fine line between helping the addict and enabling the addict. You can help an addict by giving moral, emotional support but giving in to unreasonable or monetary demands would be enabling the addict to continue his way of life. The addict should not get the feeling that all his demands – reasonable and unreasonable, will be met to help him/her cope with the addiction. Family should stop rescuing and protecting the addict so that he or she begins to face the consequences of their addictive behaviour. Otherwise, the family is merely reinforcing the denial of the addict.
• Maintain rapport: Do not isolate or exclude your loved one. Maintain a rapport. Try and maintain a normal family atmosphere. Include the addict in all family matters. Have regular interaction. The addict should feel confident about confiding in you.
• Don’t get addicted to your loved one’s addiction:This is one of the most important factors in coping with an addict in the family. The loved one’s addiction should not become an obsession within the family. It is better to retain as much normalcy as possible.
Hope and love are the best strongest weapons in treating a loved one with any addiction. Never lose hope or give up. Your resilience will motivate and help your loved one to beat the disease, because addiction too is a dreadful disease. Stay strong and be motivated at all times to help your loved one recover. And most importantly, seek professional help.
Because NOTHING is impossible!!!