How to Help a Family Member with Addiction
Addiction not only affects the struggling person, but also impacts the whole family. Learn how to help a family member with addiction effectively.
Table of Contents
What is Addiction in the Family?
Addiction in the family occurs when a family member struggles with a substance use disorder (SUD). SUD is characterized by continuous use of drugs or alcohol despite adverse consequences happening in someone’s life. Many will wonder how to help a family member with addiction when this happens.
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How Does Addiction Develop?
All these aspects can affect someone’s life significantly and be the beginning stages of substance use disorders. When someone starts using addictive drugs regularly, they may develop a physical or psychological dependence on them. A dependence will make someone feel like they can’t function normally without using drugs. This leads to binge use of substances and other negative behavioral patterns that cause addiction.1
What are Some of the Signs of Drug or Alcohol Addiction?
- Unwanted weight loss or gain
- Facial flushing
- Mood swings
- Unjustified outbursts of anger
- Unexplained memory loss
- Neglect of favorite school activities
How Does Addiction Affect the Family?
- Poor communication
- Loss of emotional or physical intimacy
- Increased conflict
- Home not being physically safe
- Marital conflict
- Isolation between family members
- Increased stress or mental health issues throughout the family
- Inconsistent parenting
All these aspects can take a toll when dealing with addiction in the family. That’s why treatment programs must consider how addiction affects family members. The solution is more than just learning how to help a family member with addiction but learning how to help the entire family that is affected by their loved one’s struggles.
How Does Addiction Affect Children?
- Being neglected or feeling like their needs are neglected
- Possible abuse
- Educational needs not being met
- Starting to struggle at school
- Teens may start to follow the model of the parent
- Mental health issues or feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling isolated or misunderstood
- Having trouble finding their way in life
What Is the Role of Family in Addiction Recovery?
Establishing Family Support
- Maintain positivity in the household, even if it feels difficult.
- Avoid blaming anyone or making someone the scapegoat for the issue.
- It can be difficult, but you must set boundaries for how far you will go for your struggling family member.
- Take the time to learn about how addiction affects someone.
- Listen to your family members if they try to express themselves to you.
- Work as a team throughout the process.
- Attend and be an active participant in family therapy sessions.
Can I Help a Family Member Overcome Addiction?
Yes, you can help a family member that is struggling with addiction. Family therapy and learning about addiction are great ways to be an active participant in their recovery if you want to learn how to help a family member with addiction.
Why Honesty in Addiction Recovery is Critical
How to Help a Family Member with Addiction
If you want to know how to help a family member with addiction, here are some steps you can take:
- Learn as much as possible about addiction
- Connect with understanding peers
- Go to family therapy sessions
- Prepare meals and eat them as a family
- Manage expectations
- Stay in touch with personal joy
- Get regular exercise
- Adhere to a formal sleep/wake schedule
- Schedule private therapy sessions
- Educate and advocate
Maintaining balance and healthy habits will ultimately be essential to everyone’s wellbeing. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat right, and be mindful of your mental well-being. You can’t help your family member if you don’t first help yourself.
Help is Available for Families With Addiction
Individual therapy can be helpful for both the person in recovery and individual family members that are struggling. If you notice a family member or child going through mental or emotional distress, recommending that they talk to a therapist is a great step to ensure everyone’s well-being is maintained during this time.
Family counseling is one of the best resources when you want to know how to help a family member with addiction. A family counselor can get everyone involved with the recovery program and make sure everyone feels heard. This helps create a solid support system for everyone involved.
Al-Anon Family Groups
Al-Anon is another great resource for family members impacted by addiction. Al-anon is a branch of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that has a similar concept of support group meetings. However, these meetings are for family members to discuss and share how a loved one’s addiction has impacted them. This provides a good outside resource for family members to feel supported. It can also give you another resource to get insights on how to help a family member with addiction.4
Get Help or Family Addiction Treatment at Profound Recovery
To learn more about how to help a family member with addiction, Profound Recovery is here for you. Profound Recovery is a treatment center for alcohol and drug abuse. We provide evidence-based treatment that fits the specific needs of the individual.
This includes involving and educating family members who have been affected as well. If you need help, our staff can be here for you every step of the way. Contact us to learn how Profound Recovery can help you.