As you know, a drug addiction can take a significant toll on your loved one’s life and the lives of those around them, affecting work, relationships and other aspects of life. Addiction is a complex disease, but fortunately, it is treatable. It’s a chronic disease that is not always possible to cure completely, but treatment can be very successful in managing the disease and helping your addicted loved one get their life back. It will also help to improve your family’s lives as a whole.
How Can Drug Addiction Be Treated?
There are a variety of different treatment methods that your loved one can try to see what works best for them. A drug treatment facility provides support, professional treatment and help creating a specialized plan based on their individual needs. Treatment can differ from person to person based on the type of drug being taken and other factors, such as genetics and specific social circumstances in your loved one’s life.
The types of treatment available work to change the way drugs affect the brain. Treatment can include medications that treat symptoms of withdrawal or behavioral therapy, which helps people change their behaviors and attitudes. Behavioral therapy can also help your loved one find new ways to deal with stressors and triggers that could encourage them to turn to drugs to cope.
There are additional types of treatment methods available as well for your addicted loved one, such as individual and group therapy, 12-step programs and art therapy. You can also engage in family therapy, to improve any problems in the family dynamic and so that different family members can gain support in dealing with the consequences of your loved one’s drug addiction.
Handling Relapse of an Addicted Loved One
While addiction is treatable, relapse can occur during the recovery process. Relapse occurs when the recovering addict revisits behaviors connected with the addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that addiction has similar relapse rates to other types of chronic diseases, such as hypertension. To prevent a relapse, your loved one and their support system can focus on triggers and what they can change to prevent or minimize each trigger.
For example, depending on your loved one’s needs, they might need your family to abstain from drinking in their presence, or to change family gatherings in some way to exclude drinking. Instead of seeing a relapse as a failure, you, your loved ones and her professional support team can see it as an opportunity to learn something, make an adjustment to the treatment plan and keep moving forward to her goals.
If your addicted loved one is struggling, let them know that this is a treatable disease. Encourage them to seek treatment for it, just like any other type of medical disease. Let your loved one know that it is not an act of giving up to seek treatment, but instead it is a sign of strength and a commitment toward seeking the life they hope to have.
- Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction, National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2014, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
- Addiction is a Chronic Disease, National Institute on Drug Abuse, http://archives.drugabuse.gov/about/welcome/aboutdrugabuse/chronicdisease/
- Understanding Substance Abuse and Facilitating Recovery, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/files/Understanding-Substance-Abuse.pdf