Self Help Treatments for Drug Addiction
Know someone with drug addiction?
When a person suffers from drug addiction the effects on their family can be devastating.
Panic, frustration, despair, fear and loneliness are all common feelings among those who've ever loved an addict.
Janet, whose 21-year-old son Damien is a recovering heroin addict said: "I was completely lost. Everyone in our road knew what Damien was up to; he'd stolen from most of the family to pay for the drugs. I was so ashamed by it all that I just withdrew from everything so I didn't have to meet people. Forget family life, I ended up on antidepressants and my other kids suffered."
Damien said: "We used to have really bad arguments which just made everything worse. She was trying to understand why I was doing drugs, when even I didn't understand. In the end she did the best thing for me and shopped me to the police for dealing. Everyone got involved then and I got on a methadone program."
It's a scary scenario but one that is played out in millions of homes across the globe. Addicts are caught up in their own world and their addiction can make them irrational and blind to what's going on around them. Meanwhile their families look on hopelessly, trying not only to cope with an addiction they don't understand but also the associated problems such as theft, violence and possibly police involvement.
As with Janet, there's a huge temptation to withdraw from society because you are ashamed of your loved one's addiction. Therapists specialising in the fields of addiction say that if the family can understand what is going on and realise that they are not the only ones in their situation, it can go along way towards helping the addict face up to the problem.
Often local family doctors are a good starting place to find help. Some people turn to their particular God and find their local minister a great source of emotional comfort.
Families of Drug Addicts: Where to Turn
Organisations such as Families Anonymous offer support and advice to families and friends of addicts. Experiences and anxieties are shared in a group forum helping people come to terms with this highly disruptive force on their lives. Community alcohol and drugs teams support not just the addict but their loved ones as do charities such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Rehab and detox centres that involve families in group therapy sessions take a holistic approach to the problem (tackling not only the addiction but the wider emotional, mental, social and spiritual aspects of it).
Children are amazing in their resilience and generally suffer a parent's addiction in silence. But many are quietly suffering a living hell of fear and despair, unable to reach out for help. After all, the adult they love and trust isn't there for them, so why should any other adult be?
According to the National Association of Children of Addicts (NACOA) nearly one million children under 18 live with an alcoholic in Britain alone. It's a sobering fact. These children often feel responsible for the alcohol abuse and associated stress, arguments and maybe violence that go with it. So who helps them?
Sometimes a trusted school teacher or a friend's mum or dad is a good starting point. Or if a child feels they can't confide in an adult, NACOA provides a helpline offering advice and support. Families Anonymous can offer help and advice as can local community drug or alcohol teams.