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Why Addiction Is Called a Family Disease
Getting to the Source of Underlying Addiction Issues
There are many debilitating illnesses people can fall victim to. No matter what the diagnosis is, when one member of a family is unwell, other loved ones will also suffer.
This is true of virtually every illness, but addiction’s impact on an entire family can be especially profound. This is why addiction is often referred to as a family disease. Its important for loved ones to recognize the interconnected nature of drug dependency and addiction recovery. Understanding addiction as a family disease can go a long way toward healing the underlying causes of addiction and also mending damage that may have resulted from active addiction.
Families and Addiction
The connections between family and addiction can take many forms. Loved ones need to consider their relationships seriously and look at how their actions contribute to either an ongoing addiction or a lifetime of successful recovery.
Well-meaning family members may, for instance, give their addicted loved ones spending money, thinking they are helping with rent, food, and other necessities. Unfortunately, the money given often goes straight to drugs, perpetuating the addiction and putting the addicted family member in even greater danger.
On the other end of the spectrum, fed-up family members may disown an addict, disavowing the individual and refusing to have any further interactions. This action can also be harmful, and concerned loved ones need to work with professional drug counselors to develop and implement a more nuanced and effective response.
Family members can also be impacted in other ways when a loved one is suffering from drug addiction. Maintaining a drug addiction is an expensive endeavor, and as a result, many addicts turn to theft to support their habits. And since family members are often the easiest targets, an addicted loved one may steal cash, expensive jewelry, gift cards, and prized mementos that can be turned into money and more drugs.
Facing such a difficult situation, family members are confronted with a heartbreaking choice. They can abandon their loved one to the streets, hoping that they will hit bottom, get clean and come out stronger on the other side. Or they can continue to support the person they care about while continually worrying they will overdose or be arrested.
There is another choice that can provide the best chance of long-term recovery while preserving the family structure. By convincing a loved one to undergo professional treatment, family members can play an active role in overcoming addiction by serving as pillars of support throughout what can, at times, be an arduous journey.
Family Support and Overcoming Addiction
Family members’ support can be pivotal on the path from addiction to recovery, so much so that many recovery centers include loved ones in the process. These family members may play a vital role in therapies like group counseling sessions by letting their addicted loved ones know that they are cared for and supported. They may also help by holding their loved ones accountable and detailing the many ways their actions have harmed the family unit.
Even if they do not directly play a role during the rehabilitation process, family members can still do their part. They can communicate with the treatment center, providing a thorough medical history that will be invaluable in developing a medication aided detox program. They can also provide a home for their loved one when the initial recovery program has ended, giving their loved one the support they need to avoid common triggers and a dangerous relapse.
When your loved one is addicted to drugs or struggling with alcohol dependency, the entire family suffers. Watching someone you care about go through such a crisis can be emotionally devastating, and it is often too much for family members to endure. But you do not have to watch your family members struggle when there is help available. Addiction may be a family disease, but the path to recovery can also be a family affair.
To discover more about the family disease of addiction and how JC’s Recovery Center can help heal your family, contact us today. Our intake specialists are standing by to answer your questions and help you take the first steps on your path to sobriety.