How To Deal With An Addicted Loved One

Sometimes family members just hope everything will turn out right when really they should also be doing good things for their addicted loved one. An unwarranted and unearned act of kindness can go a long way with an addict who naturally feels unworthy of love. An act of charity on both the giving and receiving end have shown to boost dopamine within the brain.[1]An addiction isn’t just a disease of the brain, it is also a dysfunction of the family. When an individual has an addiction it ends up involving everyone around him. Dealing with an addict can be very frustrating and taxing. It is common for family members to feel anger toward the addict because they cannot believe why their loved one would continue to put their family at risk and break commitment after commitment to them. Emotions that arise from interpersonal conflicts with family members often lead an addict to use.[2]Addicts do not directly try to harm family members, but they do what is necessary to feed their addiction. Oftentimes, this involves hurting those they love. Those closest to an active addict feel as if they have been taken advantage of and often leave them bewildered as to why their loved one would do such a thing.But understanding an addict’s brain, as explained in great detail in the Truth Of Addiction Ebook, should help loved ones of addicts to understand that the actions of an addict are not rational, because their brain is often “hijacked”. This results in an addict going to great lengths to get a fix, and the brain (limbic system) is doing exactly what it is wired to do, survive.Just knowing that addiction is a brain disease, isn’t enough. Loved ones of addicts need to learn how to disengage from negative consequences and from negative emotions felt.Addiction creates confusion for the addict and for his family. True, the addict doesn’t know how to communicate with his family or loved ones, but just as much, the family doesn’t know how to communicate with the addict as well. One offends the other and misunderstandings happen because neither party knows how to properly communicate.There are some organizations that offer programs to families and loved ones of addicts. Some include Al-Anon, Alateen or Nar-Anon. There are other religious or community support groups that are commonly held at local churches.These support groups can help an addict’s family by listening to other people in similar situations. It can help you understand what works and what doesn’t, and how you can recover from the emotional troubles of being in a relationship with an addict.You can also talk to a professional counselor or therapist. Counselors and therapists usually have a great deal of experience helping family members of active addicts to recover and can provide helpful tips. Family therapy is a successful tool that can help all individuals involved with an active addict.References:1. Moll, J., et al. 2006. “Human Fronto-Mesolimbic Networks Guide Decisions About Charitable Donation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (October 17) 103(42):15623-15628.2. “Treating Alcohol Dependence, A Coping Skills Training Guide, Second Edition” pg.45 Monti, Peter, Kadden, Ronald M., Rohsenow, Demaris J., Cooney, Ned L., Abrams, David B., The Guilford Press, New York, 2002.

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