Many health issues are affecting Americans. There’s obesity which affects nearly 35% of Americans. There’s diabetes, which is affecting almost 10% of Americans. There are also numerous heart diseases, cancer, and respiratory diseases. Each can lead to a changed and struggling lifestyle. In worst-case scenarios, it can lead to death.
However, some health issues are hidden from the public—one that is insidious and often undiagnosed: addiction.
One in ten Americans suffers from addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, sex, work, or food. It’s a hidden epidemic that is often left undiagnosed and untreated. And it takes a tremendous toll on not just the addict but also their families and friends. Here’s what you need to know about addiction and how it can affect your family.
Addiction is a Mental Disorder
It’s common for people to think that addiction is just someone going through a tough time. So they may try to rationalize it by saying that the person is just going through a phase or under a lot of stress. But the truth is that addiction is a mental disorder. It’s a chronic brain disease that changes how someone thinks and feels.
Someone with this disorder will compulsively seek out their addiction despite its negative consequences. They will continue to use it, even when it’s causing them financial, legal, or relationship problems. They may even continue using it when it’s risking their lives.
With these things in mind, it isn’t just a phase or a challenging part of a person’s life cycle. It is a disease and one that has no cure.
Addiction Has No Cure
While treatments can help people manage their addiction, there is no cure. Unfortunately, even if someone gets clean and sober, they’re always at risk of relapse. Statistics show that more than 85% of people who suffer from addiction will relapse.
Addiction Changes the Brain
As we mentioned before, addiction is a chronic brain disease. It means that it changes the way the brain works.
People keep using despite the negative consequences because addiction has taken over the brain’s reward system. It’s the part of the brain that makes people feel good when they do something pleasurable. For example, when someone uses drugs or alcohol, it releases a chemical known as dopamine. This gives them a feeling of pleasure or euphoria.
For people with addiction, their brains become dependent on this dopamine release. They need it to feel normal, and they’ll do anything to get it. People with addiction will keep using it, even when it’s harmful.
Addiction is a Family Disease
While addiction may seem like an individual problem, it’s a family disease. It affects everyone in the addict’s life. And it can cause a lot of problems in relationships.
If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, you may feel like you’re walking on eggshells. You never know when they will use it or what mood they’ll be in. As a result, you may feel like you’re constantly worrying about them and their safety.
Moreover, some families may co-depend on the addict. This means they enable their loved one’s addiction by allowing their behavior. For example, they may give them money or a place to stay, even though they know they will use it for drugs or alcohol. This can cause a lot of tension and conflict in the family. But ultimately, the family can also be the cure.
Treatment For Addiction
There are many treatments for addiction, but family intervention is one of the most effective.
Family intervention is a process where the family comes together to confront the addict about their addiction. It’s a way to get them into treatment and start healing.
It’s a well-known therapy for drug, alcohol, and porn addiction rehab centers. It’s not easy to do this kind of intervention, and it’s required that a professional is around to do it. Professionals trained in this process will know how to handle any situation that may arise and may even convince the client to be a part of the therapy, even if they are still unsure.
If you’re considering doing a family intervention for your loved one, remember that it’s a complex but essential process. It can be the first step in getting them the help they need.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another treatment that can be effective for addiction. It’s a therapy that helps people change their thinking and behavior.
This therapy can help people with addiction learn to cope with their symptoms and triggers. It can also help them develop better coping mechanisms for when they’re struggling with their addiction. When accompanied by family intervention, this can be a very effective treatment.
Addiction is a severe disease that can ruin a family. But with the proper treatment, it’s possible to overcome it. Many medicines can be effective; the sooner the client gets help, the better.