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Addiction and Drug Abuse - Part 3: Families can also cause relapse

Addiction and Drug Abuse – Part 3: Families can also cause relapse

02-01 | CDAH Team

It takes tremendous effort and time for people battling addiction to come to terms with their predicament and accept that they need guidance to overcome it. When such people prepare to seek treatment, there are multiple temptations that they need to stave off. These include triggers like friends dependent on drugs, stress, anger, boredom, poor nutrition and sleep all of which can weaken one’s determination to embrace sobriety.

Research says that the will of an individual is like a muscle and too much strain can lower the one’s resilience. People who make an active effort to give up addiction seldom look at their relationship with the family as a contributing factor to relapse.

Many specialists acknowledge that family dynamics play an important role in reinforcing or deterring substance abuse and in both relapse and recovery. Here are some facets of this association:

  • Imparity in expectations amid family members: Drug abuse can affect the lives of the user and the loved ones. Activities of the user can make the family members angry. They often have to shell out vast amounts of money and invest time and energy that can erode their patience and kindness in the absence of recovery in the user. On the other hand, the recovering family member is often pressured to meet their family’s expectations and give up drugs that can give rise to guilt and shame, two significant factors to come in the way of recovery.
  • Problem in getting involved in therapy: After extensive care and treatment in a rehab, a patient is different mentally and physically. If the family members do not get involved with the loved one during therapy, support group meetings and recovery process, it is very unlikely that both the parties can attune to one another. Further, if the family members themselves are struggling with mental disorders or addiction, it becomes exceedingly difficult for the recovering patient to stay on track after returning home.
  • Change in family dynamics: When a family member develops an addiction, every member subconsciously adapts to the situation. In spite of the fact that some members intend to help, they might inadvertently foster destructive behaviors. Parents may stop bailing them out of troubles or may cut allowances. Children with drug-dependent parents may be obliged to overachieve outside their homes, to unconsciously inculcate people-pleasing behavior and to take up the role of the family clown to alleviate the tension in the family. Spouses of those who have an addiction may find themselves unable to control their resentment as they have to take over the responsibilities of the entire household.
  • Misconceptions about addiction: Family members may not understand that addiction is a disease and mandates a life-long effort to adhere to sobriety. Family members need to study to sensitize themselves to the recovering member’s condition. In some cases, it may be difficult for the family members to understand relapse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), relapse rate among those recovering from addiction is between 40 and 60 percent. A relapse only means that the existing treatment method is not effective and calls for a new recovery approach.

Path to recovery

If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs, the risks of a drug overdose and other health consequences cannot be overlooked. The Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline offers evidenced-based treatment plans for addiction. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-218-7546 or chat online to connect with the addiction treatment centers in Colorado or to get information on addiction treatment in Colorado. One must not delay the treatment or it can worsen the situation.

Read other articles of the series, “Addiction and Drug Abuse:”

Part 1: Helping a person with drug addiction

Part 2: Some deadly synthetic drugs seized in 2016


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