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Living with an Addicted Person
Living with an addicted person is challenging to say the least. Perhaps the most hurtful thing about addiction is the strain it puts on relationships.
Addicted people often engage in manipulative or harmful behaviour toward their partners, sometimes without even realising it. They may have co-dependency or boundary issues, and may even make their loved ones feel responsible for their actions.
If you are living with an addict, it is urgent not only to get them into treatment, but to get the support you need to heal and learn how to appropriately deal with addiction. With effective treatment, not only can an addicted person manage their addiction, but recovery can become a positive and rewarding part of their life!
How do I Know if my Loved One is Addicted?
Addiction results from a combination of causes. Risk factors include:
- Genetic makeup or a family history of addiction
- Social environment
- Use of addictive drugs, especially at an early age
- Co-occurring mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression or PTSD
Addiction thrives in secrecy, and it can be difficult to see as your loved one may go to great lengths to hide their behaviour. However, there are some tell-tale signs:
- Increase in Use Over Time – This is a result of tolerance-building – the longer a person abuses a substance, the greater the amount they will need in order to feel the desired effects.
- Lying and Secretive Behaviour – Addicts often lie in an attempt to hide their problem, creating varied stories and excuses to deflect attention from themselves.
- Mood Swings – Erratic changes in behaviour are common indicators of drug abuse – does your loved one’s mood often change dramatically in a short period of time?
- Change in Spending Habits – Unexplained financial trouble and careless spending habits are all signs of addiction.
- Disappearing Money or Valuable Objects – It costs a lot to finance a drug or alcohol addiction. This leads some people to steal in order to support their habit.
- Unexplained Sickness – Addicts often feign being sick as an excuse to skip out on work or social engagements, or to explain away their changed demeanour or appearance.
- Pre-Drinking – Alcohol-addicted people will often consume alcohol before going out to social events so they appear to drink the same amount as everyone else, when in fact they have had far more.
- Strange Sleeping Patterns – Different drugs cause different changes in sleeping patterns – stimulants cause long periods of alertness and sleeplessness, while depressants cause untimely napping or very heavy sleeping.
- Paranoia – Many drugs cause paranoia during use, but frequent use can lead to sustained changes in personality, delusions and even psychosis.
If your loved one is displaying some of the above behaviours, they are showing signs of addiction.
Why is Addiction so Hard to Overcome?
Though it may seem otherwise, addiction is not a choice or the result of a lack of willpower.
Addicted people have a lack of the brain chemical dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure and reward. Many people are born with this deficiency, genetically predisposing them to addiction. Symptoms of dopamine deficiency are:
- Extreme boredom
- Lack of meaning
Drugs, alcohol and processes like sex, gambling, eating, etc. create a surge of dopamine in the brain. The resulting pleasurable feeling is short-lived and must be done over and over, in increasing amounts, to achieve the desired effects.
Over time, the brain learns these patterns and begins to think it needs addictive substances – and constantly sends messages telling addicts to use. This is why it is so hard for addicted people to quit on their own.
Addiction is chronic and progressive – if left untreated, it gets worse over time.
Recovery is within Reach
Though living with addiction can seem overwhelming, recovery is more possible than you may think! Our brains are highly adaptable, and just as addiction establishes unhealthy thinking patterns, treatment can replace those with new, healthy ones.
Many people who have struggled with addiction find that their overcoming their challenges and working through underlying issues allows them to become even more in touch with themselves than they ever were before.
Addiction Treatment at The Cabin
Involving loved ones in treatment greatly increases clients’ chances of achieving lasting recovery. The Cabin offers a unique addiction family programme that brings clients’ family into treatment with them to help them understand what addiction is, how it is treated and how to best support their loved one.
We use our own Recovery Zones treatment method, an integrative approach that combines cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and a modern version of the 12 Steps for optimal results.
Our programme boasts a 96% completion rate, and our clients leave knowing they have the tools and ongoing support they need to handle challenges and prevent relapse.
The Cabin is an internationally accredited clinicians, board-certified psychiatrist, team of British, American and Australian trained psychologists, and 24-hour nursing staff are all fully committed to protecting and enhancing our reputation as the leading addiction treatment centre in the region, and one of the best in the world.
Located on the lush banks of the ancient Ping River, our inpatient centre is a world away from the trigger-filled environment in which addiction thrives. Our luxury facilities and attentive staff ensure our clients have a restorative space in which they can focus completely on recovery.
We offer a free, no-obligations assessment for those who may be struggling with addiction.