Drug addiction is a chronic, progressive condition, one that has far-reaching implications for addicts and their loved ones alike, and it’s not easy for non-addicts to fully grasp the destructive and all-consuming cycle of addiction. Often, non-addicts assume that people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are merely weak or without morals, when in fact they have a legitimate disorder that requires treatment, just like any other chronic medical condition. If you are struggling with an addiction disorder, and you are unsure about explaining addiction to your loved ones and helping them to understand that you need professional help, contact A Forever Recovery for more information about addiction recovery and the benefits of treatment.
Explaining Addiction to a Non-Addict
Generally speaking, an addiction to a substance like illicit drugs or alcohol is characterized by the compulsive use of the substance despite negative consequences, such as legal trouble, financial problems, or issues at home, work or school. For someone struggling with addiction, acknowledging that you have a problem and are in need of help is the first step toward recovery.
Once you’re able to admit to yourself that you have an addiction problem, the next step is explaining addiction and helping your friends and family members understand what it is you’re going through. Explaining addiction to a non-addict isn’t easy, but for many people, it’s a necessary part of the recovery process. The following are some strategies you can use when explaining addiction to a loved one:
- Consider first speaking to a professional counselor. If you don’t feel like you know how to talk about your addiction with friends or family members, an addiction recovery counselor can give you valuable advice on how to best proceed.
- Decide on a course of action before broaching the subject. Let your loved ones know that you have a plan for recovery – either detox, rehab or a combination of different treatments.
- Acknowledge and apologize for any problems your addiction has caused. Addiction is a problem that affects not just the addict himself, but the people around him as well, and it’s likely that the people closest to you have suffered the most as a result of your addiction.
- Be honest. Don’t downplay your addiction or sugar-coat how difficult it will be to overcome. Being honest with yourself and your loved ones will set the stage for a successful recovery.
- Let them know what situations, environments and people act as triggers for your addiction. This will help them avoid unintentionally becoming enablers.
How Does Drug Addiction Occur?
Contrary to popular belief, addiction is not the result of a moral failing or weakness of will. There are a number of factors that play a role in addiction, including genetics, age, family history, culture, physical condition, psychology, and biology. Research has shown that prolonged substance abuse causes changes in the reward center of the brain that promote continued use, both due to the feelings of pleasure the substance produces in the brain and the avoidance of withdrawal symptoms that occur when dependence on the drug develops.
There is no cure for drug addiction, but there are myriad treatment options that can help you overcome your addiction and remain drug-free. Without treatment, however, the risk of devastating consequences, such as brain damage, heart failure, liver disease, drug overdose or death, is significantly higher. Explaining addiction in this way can help loved ones understand the impact substance abuse has had on your life and appreciate the effort you are making to address it.
Addiction Treatment at A Forever Recovery
Addiction is a growing problem in the United States, one that affects more people than you might think. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “approximately 20.8 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year.”
If you know someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to get that person the help they need. Call to speak to the substance abuse recovery experts at A Forever Recovery today.