Addiction Facts for Family
Understanding a loved one’s addiction
Understanding the basic facts of addiction and addiction treatment, as well as the issues that affect addicts in particular, will help you to cope as your loved one gets on the path to recovery.
Brain Chemistry Plays a Role
There is more to addiction than meets the eye. When someone becomes addicted to a substance, whether it’s a drug or alcohol, changes occur in their brain that affect the levels of dopamine produced. The chemical changes that occur mean that overcoming addiction is about more than simply developing the willpower needed to say no to a drug. It means that effective treatment involves restoring the chemical balance of the brain, which can occur through diet, exercise, and supplements.
Family history plays an important part when it comes to addiction. Having an alcoholic or otherwise addicted parent or parents can increase risk for becoming an addict. The connection is based on both nature and nurture. A person who struggles with addiction later in life might have seen that addictive behavior modeled at home by her parents. The genes they inherited from one or both parents also play a part in developing an addiction. In many ways, the genetic component can be stronger than the nurture component.
While family history does play some part in addiction, it is important to note that genetics don’t always matter. Addiction can happen to anyone given the right set of circumstances, whether there is a family history of it or not. Understanding the role heredity plays in your loved one’s addiction can help both of you during recovery, but it’s important to remember that there is more to addiction than genes and family history.
A Holistic Approach
Addiction treatment comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some people find that 12-step programs are sufficient for their needs while others benefit from a more in-depth and holistic approach to treatment, such as what we offer at Malibu Beach Recovery Center and The Brentwood House. The goal of the system is to restore the brain’s chemical balance as well as to promote spiritual harmony and peace. Therapy plays a part in treatment, as does the meditation, yoga, animal therapy, and many other activities that allow mind and body to connect. Since every addict has different needs and responds differently to treatment options, there is no one size fits all option. Each treatment plan looks at the whole, and is crafted to meet the needs of each specific person.
A Safe Space
Getting help for an addiction means becoming vulnerable in some ways. Your wife, sister, brother or child doesn’t want to be judged or condescended to when seeking treatment. A safe place that is full of compassion and people who understand what they are going through will help your loved one considerably.
Help for Families
Treatment for addiction isn’t only for the person battling the addiction. Families also need help and treatment, as well. There are a number of programs designed to help family members cope, from support groups to family therapy. For example, once a patient enrolls in the program at Brentwood House, her family is invited to attend a two-day program a few weeks after her treatment begins to help answer their questions and find them the help they need to overcome the issues addiction has created for them.
An individual seeking treatment for addiction not only needs the support they would get at a treatment facility, but also support from their family back home. Along with understanding the background of addiction, you can help your loved one by learning more about the components of their treatment program and how you can continue to help them once their program is over and they have returned home.