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Why Is Addiction a Family Disease?

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While the initial decision to use drugs or drink alcohol is a personal choice, addiction is not the result of a lack of willpower or moral principles. Addiction is a complex disease of the mind and emotions that is progressive. The average person does not understand that fact, including the addicted individual’s own family members. When you have someone in your family who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, no one can understand why they won’t stop using or drinking. A person suffering from addiction has difficulty controlling their drug use and their behaviors surrounding drug use, even when they face harmful consequences, which is why addiction always ends badly. Why Is Addiction a Family Disease?

How Do Drugs Affect the Brain?

Drugs alter the normal functioning of the brain’s reward circuit by creating euphoria. Most drugs release surges of dopamine, which is why people like them. A reward system that is working correctly encourages a person to repeat specific behavioral patterns necessary to thrive and stimulate dopamine release. However, regular dopamine release comes from eating, sex, falling in love, and listening to music. The normal dopamine secretion from these experiences does not cause the reward center to get off-kilter as quickly as substance-induced rushes.

Why Is Addiction a Family Disease?

Everyone in the family is affected by the drug use by one family member. Someone’s child, parent, or sibling may continue to use drugs even though they see the adverse effects on their family members, health, job, or other responsibilities. The addicted person may also acknowledge that they are messing up their life on drugs; their addictive behaviors will also affect the family’s financial stability and cause legal problems for everyone. Drugs in the home can be found, and someone will get arrested. It is essential to know that when someone is addicted, they have lost the ability to care about those they love. Family members must offer rehab continuously to help their loved ones get into recovery. 

What Do the Experts Say About Addiction in the Family?

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence emphasize the devastation that addiction to drug soar alcohol has on the whole family. They provide insight into the turmoil and recommend family therapy and ongoing individual counseling.

Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family’s unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics. Living with addiction can put family members under unusual stress. Normal routines are constantly interrupted by unexpected or frightening experiences of living with alcohol and drug use. Individual therapy for each family member, not just the addict, is important for the entire family’s mental health. Meeting with a therapist as a family can help improve communication among family members, re-balance the family dynamic and give the family a safe environment to express their anger, fear, and other concerns. (NCADD)

What is the Best Way to Help a Family Member on Drugs?

Opening the conversation about your loved one’s drug use is very difficult. It is tricky to decide what to say to them, so they are helped rather than offended or made angrily. The following points are a good reference for talking to your family member about their drug use so they can go to rehab if possible.

  • Ask gently how long they have been using drugs by saying, “what have your experiences with drugs been like?” That way, you are not attacking them. Instead, you can gauge if your loved one is just experimenting or regularly using iOf course, both situations are dangerous, but constant use and addiction need immediate attention.
  • While your relative is talking to you, remain nonjudgmental, avoid harping on drug use and appear calm and supportive no matter what they say.
  • Talk to your loved one about the potential damage caused by their drug of choice on their body, emotions, and spirituality, if relevant, all without accusation.
  • To make the topic less pointed at the family member, try sharing a few inspirational profiles available online of famous people who have recovered addicts; they might be inspired to talk about it more.

Why is A Treatment Program with Family Therapy Important?

Once your loved one is admitted to a rehab program, some family members may continue to exhibit unhealthy behaviors around them even though they are in treatment. Family therapy can help the whole family heal and recover. Families may be dealing with changes, dealing with past conflicts with the addict, and harbor resentments. Family therapy is necessary for the entire family, not just the person in treatment. When the addict changes, the whole family must also make specific, positive changes that can help everyone heal from the effects of substance abuse on each member.

Evoke Wellness at Miramar Offers Residential Treatment and Family Therapy

We provide expert-led family therapy groups in our residential and other rehab program formats. Help your family get through the pain of addiction by letting a professional guide you and your loved one towards healing and recovery for good. We have helped the most destroyed families repair their family units. We have the answer, and we want to help you. Call now for immediate admission and chat or email for more information.