Living with an alcoholic or drug addict can be a very traumatic experience. This is a person that you probably love but are being forced to watch destroy everything in his or her life. You may have to put up with alcohol or drug binges, aggressive or violent behaviour, and broken promises. Addicts often become manipulative and will lie and cheat to get their hands on the substance they cannot live without. It may get to the stage where you no longer recognise this person you are living with. That can have a devastating impact on your relationship with this individual.
You may find it hard to believe that someone you knew and loved so well is behaving in this way. The family of an addict often find it difficult to understand why their loved one simply does not stop taking drugs or drinking alcohol. This is because more often than not, the family does not understand addiction and how it affects the brain to the extent where the sufferer simply has no control over his or her situation.
Understanding the Addiction
It is crucial for family members to realise that addiction is an illness in the same way that cancer, dementia, and flu are illnesses. Those affected by illnesses do not choose to be sick. Addiction requires treatment in the same way that other illnesses do; the good news here is that treatment is available. The bad news is that many affected individuals delay getting treatment because they are in denial for a long time. Addiction has a certain stigma attached to it that prevents many sufferers from seeking the help they so desperately need. And unfortunately for family members, an addict cannot be forced into getting the help if he or she does not want it.
How Addiction Affects Families
Addiction can have a devastating impact on the entire family. Those who are living with the addict, as well as the wider family, will be affected by the addiction. The actions of one family member can have a knock-on effect on everyone else within the family unit.
Many family members will do everything in their power to help the addicted person, and some will be convinced that they can make the problem go away. Others will become resentful and angry towards the addict, with relationships inevitably suffering as a result.
Children of addicts can be significantly affected by their parents illness. They will see the looks from other people and will hear whispering and they will no doubt feel embarrassed and ashamed. They will then have to deal with feelings of guilt because they have been embarrassed about their parent. It is a vicious cycle that can lead to long-term emotional problems.
Getting Help for a Loved One
If a member of your family is suffering from addiction, you will probably want to do anything to help. It is easier if your loved one has accepted the problem, but many addicts will be in denial about their addiction. They may not even realise that their drinking or drug taking is that serious. They may think that you are exaggerating the problem and that, in their view, you are making a mountain out of a molehill.
You need to be prepared for a fight along the way if your loved one is not ready to get help. He or she will need to be ready to accept help in order to achieve success. Nevertheless, once your loved one has accepted that he or she needs help, you will find plenty of assistance available. Rehab Helper can provide you with help in finding a suitable treatment provider. Our team of experts have access to an enormous network of treatment centres all over the UK and will ensure that your loved one gets the support that he or she needs. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.