Substance Abuse BLOG

The family of an addicted person plays a pivotal role which could be either detrimental or beneficial for his recovery. Family members may be closely involved with several aspects of addiction: their response to addiction, their response to the dependent person and influence on the course of addiction and their role in the individual’s treatment and aftercare, which may either aid or precipitate relapse.

Most of the family members suffer from tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia and other such symptoms. They may also have serious social and psychological problems. Strong senses of anger, guilt as well as a desire for vengeance are not uncommon. Denial of the existing problem by the family members worsens the situation. Denial is an unconscious process of blocking out reality. The problem of denial is manifested in different ways like failure to see the problem entirely, recognizing the extent or severity of the problem, realizing the connection between drug use and the problems it has caused and above all understanding the fact that the drug dependent needs help in dealing with the problem.

The family members try their best to cover up the misdeeds of the addicted person, completing his unfinished work, paying the bills that he did not pay and rescuing him from various kinds of problems like legal problems. They usually take up the responsibilities which the addict has abandoned. Denial allows everyone to pretend that there is no problem. The longer the denial goes on, the longer it takes before the drug user changes his behavior.

A significant family member can thus be either supportive or inductive. The former category can greatly reduce damage and can be extremely useful in treatment. But the inducer shows extremely unsupportive behavior which actually induces the individual to continue drug use. He constantly rebukes him, imposes excessive surveillance, restriction and threats all of which actually worsen the situation and induces drug use.