Substance use disorder (SUD), also known as addiction, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. It is characterized by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as the “inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships and a dysfunctional emotional response.” Addiction is a disease that is comprised of recurring stages that progress in a repetitive pattern until some form of treatment takes place to intervene and alleviate the addiction. Unfortunately, the pervasive nature of addiction lends it to be a particularly difficult condition to initially treat because it renders people powerless, reinforcing an inability or unwillingness to pursue treatment. As a bystander it can be difficult to witness a loved one suffer and appear to be stuck on a path of self-destruction. However, there are ways to help the resistant addict recognize they have a problem and guide them towards accepting the support they need, such as:
- Allow them to assume responsibility for their behaviors: This can be accomplished when you actively choose to stop being an enabler. According to Healthline, “the term ‘enabler’ generally describes someone whose behavior allows a loved one to continue self-destructive patterns of behavior.”
- Have compassion: Express sincere concern without judgment for your loved one’s wellbeing.
- Reduce treatment stigma: Reinforce the notion that accepting help is a sign of strength.
- Be honest: Share with your loved one what their addiction has been like for you and be clear about what you want to happen next.
- Role model healthy daily habits: Engage in regular physical activity, obtain ample sleep, eat nutritiously, remain hydrated, etc.
- Research treatment options: Investigate treatment options, and be sure to consider factors such as location, cost, and amenities to try to find the most appealing options for your loved one.
Although you can do your best to help someone struggling with addiction realize the imperative need for treatment, it is impossible to force someone into obtaining help if that person is not ready to receive it, and ultimately, the choice to pursue treatment is entirely in the hands of the addict.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.