Understanding a Loved One’s Addiction: Get Educated

Understanding a Loved One’s Addiction: Get Educated

If you suspect that a loved one may be suffering from addiction, or if he or she is currently in treatment for a substance use disorder, it’s important to educate yourself about addiction and how it affects both you and your loved one. When you educate yourself about addiction, you are better prepared to both cope and understand what is currently happening and what to expect in the future.

Community Resources

Because addiction touches so many people throughout the U.S. — as many as 24.6 million — you will likely come across people who want to share their experiences with you. While listening to their stories may be cathartic, and it can provide an emotional benefit to you, you’ll want to keep in mind that each individual’s experience  (and that of his or her family) is unique. Well-intentioned advice may have worked for their loved one, but it might not work for yours. Additionally, discussing such emotionally difficult experiences can be overwhelming. Attending meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Teen Addiction Anonymous, Alateen Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or group therapy sessions at a professional treatment facility, can help create a safe space where a chairperson will be there to guide the meeting. By putting a time limit on sharing, meetings provide an opportunity for people to be heard, while helping to prevent you from becoming emotionally exhausted. AA and NA meeting times are often published in your local paper and online, and you may be surprised how many are available nearby.

Informative, Unbiased Resources

Finding informative, quality resources is one of the best ways to become educated. When doing research, you’ll want to find the facts, not just personal experiences. You can find many quality resources online, but it is important to pay attention to the source. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is an excellent resource published by the National Institute of Health. At the NIDA site, you’ll be able to find statistics, informative articles from unbiased publications, and more. Additionally, you may want to learn more from a medical perspective by visiting MedlinePlus or the Mayo Clinic online.  If you’re looking for print materials, your local library is sure to have an abundance of published print journals, books, and even movies or documentaries that can help give you more information and insight into understanding addiction and those suffering from substance use disorders.

Get in Touch with Professionals

If you’re dealing with someone with an addiction, there can be a ripple effect that impacts you emotionally. No matter how strong you may feel you are, the things that individuals with addictions say and do can have a lasting impression. It can be important to seek out counseling to help yourself. Through counseling, you can gain important coping skills and help yourself to develop resiliency.

Know You’re Not Alone

Dealing with a family member or loved one who is suffering from addiction is challenging, and many struggle in silence. Know that you are not alone. Arm yourself with the tools of knowledge, emotional support, and strategies to deal with the impact of addiction in your life — you can get through it. If you need help, we are here to assist you.

Sep 06, 2016 | Blog, News

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