Dealing with Addiction in the Family
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A lot of people have the idea that addiction is something that’s easy to spot, but there are many cases that require you to be watching if you’re to see it. Addictions can be easily hidden or subtle and under the misconception that it’s a healthy activity.
For example, if someone spends a lot of time exercising to the point where it’s harming their body and mental health, that could be dismissed by someone not paying close attention. Just because it’s a usually healthy activity, it doesn’t mean it’s okay. There could be other reasons behind why this is happening, and you shouldn’t just forget about it.
Learn to spot it
If you’re going to spot addiction within your loved ones, then you need to know the signs. Even if someone is trying to hide their addiction, there are still symptoms that they might not be able to hide so easily. For example, someone could be a lot more dishonest or secretive than need be. While it could be for other reasons, a lot of the time when it comes to addiction, people lie to cover up their actual activities.
If someone is obsessively doing something, be it substance or other activities, it could be harmful to them if they’re unable to walk away from it or do it too much. If you’ve noticed someone doing something excessively, then you should keep in mind that it could be dangerous for them to keep it up.
Don’t mistake it with a habit
Of course, people will often spend a lot of time doing things they enjoy. There are many things that can be repeated daily, and won’t always point to addiction. The problem comes in when there are negative consequences of the repeated activity, and the person in question is unable to quit it. If they’ve tried to give it up, but failed to do so on multiple occasions, that’s a clear sign that the person might be addicted to it.
So long as you can keep it in controlled moderation, it’s not an addiction. It’s important that a person knows when to quit, and is able to see that their activities are harmful to both them and those around them.
Don’t spread the news
If you think you’ve spotted addiction within someone you love, it’s important that you approach the matter with care. You can’t just go talking about it to everyone, it’s a very sensitive topic that needs to be dealt with without conflict. If you’re going to help someone struggling with addiction, you need to be able to get through to them. To help them understand why what they’re doing is wrong, and how they would be better off without it.
Spreading the information around to family members can lead to a bigger problem. This could cause the individual to isolate themselves from those who care about them which hinders the opportunity to actually talk things through properly.
Understand the addiction
Before you decide to handle things, you should learn more about what you suspect their addiction is, and why they’re doing it. A lot of people end up with addictions because they have nothing else that brings them positivity in their lives. They enjoy the idea that the problem in question brings them joy, and are willing to overlook the negatives of it.
It’s not just why they’re addicted that you need to understand, but also how to go forward with it. How hard is their addiction to get rid of? What steps are required to actually ditch the addiction for good, and is it something you can help with? It could be that they need to detox and be separated from their addiction for a long period of time.
Some addictions will have drawbacks, and people will have withdrawal symptoms making it even more difficult to leave their addiction behind.
Approach it slowly
If you’re going to approach them yourself, then you need them to trust you before doing so. They need you, but they also need to care what you think and how you feel about them. Show them that you’re someone who can be trusted and that you care about them. You may have a much better chance of getting through to them.
Once you’re sure they trust you, wait until they’re feeling safe to confront them about it. Don’t make them feel cornered, or that anything has to happen right away. If the first thing on their mind is a place of negativity or a huge challenge, it could prevent them from thinking about the solution. Instead, help them to see the problem first so that the solution doesn’t seem so daunting.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.