Among the various challenges of substance abuse and addiction is that it’s not only the addict who the disease impacts. Family and friends may find it extremely difficult to deal with an addict’s behavior, legal troubles, financial problems, and the daily struggle of supporting their loved ones.
If someone you know is struggling with addiction, it’s common to feel scared, helpless, and confused. You’re probably desperate to have your loved ones seek treatment but don’t want to come off too strongly and ruin your relationship with them. So, while it’s easy to identify someone who has an addiction, knowing the best way to help them can be confusing. You’ll have to use both positive and helpful approaches that require a lot of effort and understanding on your part.
Supporting an addict through the recovery process will not be easy. But your loved ones will have a greater chance of overcoming this challenge when you’re there to help them throughout the process. This article discusses six types of support that can benefit an addict and improve their odds of making a complete recovery.
- Social support
Social support is a powerful and immensely beneficial tool in addiction recovery. It has several advantages, including:
- providing addicts a sense of inclusion and belonging, safety and security
- reduces stress and decrease isolation
- enhances a sense of meaning and purpose
- gives hope and optimism for the future
- offers an opportunity to escape one’s concerns
- counteracting shame, secrecy, and isolation
Although social support comes in many shapes and forms, its primary role is to provide valuable information to those in recovery. Connecting them to health professionals like those from the Delphi Health Group ensures the addict receives proper care and guidance.
- Emotional support
The emotional support a family or loved one provides to a recovering addict plays a crucial role in this chronic illness’s treatment or relapse process. It promotes empathy, encouragement, compassion, understanding, and shared problem-solving. All these are essential for recovering addicts because they have already lost hope or are too insecure to make their decisions confidently. Often individuals who deal with addiction problems are also struggling with mental health problems and need the right kind of help to get their life back on track. And so, emotional support also improves an individual’s ability to cope with life’s stressors. It allows them to make healthier choices for themselves.
- Educational support
Substance abuse disorders and addiction are very complex issues. Dealing with them and their respective recovery processes is challenging and requires utmost dedication. If you wish to support your loved one through their treatment, it’s highly beneficial to educate yourself on the various aspects associated with addiction and recovery. Understanding potential triggers, enabling factors, health concerns, and treatments, as well as the psychological effects of addiction, is part of this process. You’ll be better able to help a recovering addict when you can understand their issues at a deeper level and will therefore be more equipped to prevent a relapse. Most importantly, it shows your loved ones how far you’re willing to go for them, and it will encourage them to work harder for a quick and efficient recovery.
- Lifestyle changes
You can help an addict accelerate their path to recovery by making a few changes to support their sobriety. This support is instrumental in the first few months after rehab when an individual is most at risk of going into a relapse. Although the types of changes you can make may vary depending on different circumstances, some examples you can implement are:
- removing addictive substances from your house
- avoid gatherings where substance abuse is likely to occur
- explore new and sober activities you can do together
- refocus life goals
- build healthy relationships with other sober friends
- show your loved one how much you value their presence in your life
- Therapy or counseling support
Addiction or substance abuse goes far beyond just the physical dependence on alcohol and drugs. Even after a recovering addict goes through a detox and the body is no longer dependent on the substance, there is still a risk for relapse. This risk is due to not addressing the psychological and social factors that may trigger an addict’s destructive behavior. Since every individual is unique, these factors are likely to differ in each case. But some common reasons include stress, environmental cues, and social networks.
Counseling helps address these problems and works on understanding the root cause of why someone got into the habit of using in the first place. It aids individuals in escaping cravings and learning to manage complex life situations without the use of drugs or alcohol.
A lesser-known type of support that’s beneficial for addicts is nature. Research has shown that addiction is most commonly due to the societal disconnection of mind, body, and nature in today’s world. When individuals are exposed to nature or simple “green spaces” in their homes, it can reduce their cravings for various unhealthy habits. Some holistic benefits you may experience in nature include:
- reduced depression
- better sleep
- more energy
- reduced risk of relapse
- improved physical health
- refreshed focus
- enhanced cognitive function
Addiction is a terrible illness that, besides affecting the addicts themselves, also impacts their family and friends. Fortunately, recovery is possible, and with the proper support, you too can help your loved ones through the process. Remember, while recovery is challenging, constant support can significantly improve the chances of a full recovery.
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