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Welcome to our Family Resource Center. On this page, you can find articles that are designed to help family members and loved ones of addicts. Our family resource page is all about providing in general good resources for very unique drug-related topics. Our basic effort is to supply the reader and the viewer alike with all the data necessary to be able to tackle addiction in a family member or loved one.
In the nation today, drug and alcohol abuse and the whole factor of addiction is a lot more prevalent and common than it was even just ten years ago. Now there are more than twenty-five million Americans who are addicted to drugs and alcohol in the nation. What this means is that on average about one out of every four Americans in the nation has a family member or loved one within the extended family who is an addict. To make matters even worse, about one out of every eight Americans has a family member within the immediate family itself who is an addict. This makes the need for family resources for addiction pretty great indeed.
An addiction destroys families as much as it destroys individuals really. It’s just as heartbreaking to watch a family member go through addiction as it is to experience addiction itself. Living with an addict is both heartbreaking and exhausting to say the least and has been a problem for some time now, especially in recent years as addiction has become a lot more prevalent. Family members are torn between how to help the addict and how to avoid being sucked into the addict’s world and become the effect of that horrendous mess.
Get Educated and Get in the Know
One of the first things a concerned family member or loved one can do when this type of thing is occurring is to get educated on the matter of drug and alcohol addiction. The vast majority of Americans do not know the first thing about drug and alcohol addiction, so logically following one of the first things that they should do when faced with these kinds of issues is to get educated about it.
Over the course of active addiction that continues through time, individuals who are addicted become accustomed to living a very unstable, unhealthy life in which the passage of time is marked by a perpetual cycle of seeking drugs, consuming drugs, and then seeking drugs again, on and on and on and on. Addicts become a total shell of their former selves as a result of this, as they are now physically and even psychologically compelled to consume alcohol and administer dangerous drugs to excess even to the point of losing their lives. This is what tears the hearts apart of the family members and loved ones, and this is why family members and loved ones must get educated about these issues.
Why You Can and Should Make a Difference
Addiction is a terrible affliction, to say the least. It takes lives and it ruins lives and it kills and it spreads and it causes untold damage and destruction. If a family member or loved one is in a position to do something about it, by all means, they should. For example:
• 100 people die every day from drug overdoses. Every single day. This rate has tripled in the past fifteen years alone. In fact, sometimes some statistics show that even more individuals die from their addiction crisis every day, with some studies estimating that as many as one-hundred and eighty people die every day because of their addictions.
• Over 5 million emergency room visits in 2011 were drug-related. This is twice as much as in 2005, and five times as much as in 1999. What this means is that the drugs that people are using are a lot more dangerous and deadly than they ever have been before, causing more and more people to seek them out and to use them and to abuse them.
• 2.6 million people with addictions have a dependence on both alcohol and illicit drugs combined. This makes these individuals even harder to clean up because they have multiple addictions and problems that are causing endless disruption and chaos in their lives. Ultimately, this means that addiction crisis after addiction crisis keeps coming up stronger and stronger in the nation with less and less chances of anything getting any better any time soon.
The Importance of Family Help
With addiction being so widespread in the nation today, (roughly nine percent of the entire population of the nation over the age of twelve), there are countless family members, friends, colleagues, spouses and partners, and other loved ones of the addicts. Ninety-nine percent of them not only have no idea how to help the addict that is connected to them through blood, law, love or a combination of the three, but feel alone in their suffering and are unsure how to alleviate the side effects of addiction that affect everyone an addict loves. Truly, the side effects of addiction are not only limited to the addict.
The good news when it comes to all of this is that any family member who wants to do something about it can. This is thought to be the best way for a family member to get up and out of the grinding depression of the fact that his or her loved one is an addict. Luckily, there are a variety of services and support groups that are intended specifically for the loved ones of individuals suffering from alcohol and drug addiction, and this resource page is one of many. With the info on this page, one can actually start making a difference and learning more about the addict’s actual crisis so that he or she can really do something about it. Even if it’s just sitting down and having a talk with the addict, that can make all the difference in the long run.
Effective solutions for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction are sorely needed in communities throughout the United States, but few of those who need such treatment receive the help that they need. According to the results of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 24 million Americans aged 12 years or older met the criteria for addiction or substance abuse disorder in 2009, a figure that constitutes nearly 1 out of 10 people in that age group throughout the United States. With so many Americans struggling with substance abuse and the devastating impact that it has on a person’s life, it would be natural to expect that these people would be getting treatment for their condition. Unfortunately, most do not.
The same SAMHSA survey reveals that only 11.2 percent of those who needed treatment were receiving it at a specialty facility. Nearly 9 out of 10 addicts are left struggling with their problems, and very often the results of this neglect are tragic. For example, approximately 15,000 people die every year from overdosing on prescription painkillers, a figure that does not include the deaths from overdose on other drugs, as well as people who die in drug-related fatal accidents. Of those who did receive treatment, nearly half — 41.4% — were treated for alcohol abuse or addiction, while 18.3% were treated for addiction to alcohol and another drug.
Drugs Sending People to Rehab
The next most common drugs of addiction for which people were admitted to treatment included:
- 17% – Marijuana
- 14.1% – Heroin
- 8.1% – Crack cocaine
- 6.5% – Stimulants, including methamphetamine and prescription stimulants for ADHD such as Adderall
- 5.9% – Opiates not including heroin, such as the prescription painkillers Vicodin and OxyContin
The most common age group for treatment admissions was those between the ages of 25 and 29 years, and a total of 40.8% were under the age of 30 years.
Drug Treatment Options
There are countless addiction treatment centers located throughout the United States, and an endless variety of different programs, each with its own approach to treatment. Some take an approach based on the idea that addiction is an incurable disease. These methodologies generally teach the person that addiction is something that he or she will be living with for the rest of his or her life, and that the person will forever be a “recovering addict.” Others us a drug-based approach for treating drug addiction. For example, they may use methadone, a powerful opiate painkiller, for treatment of an addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers. By replacing one drug with another, they seek to ease the person down off of the addiction, with the unfortunate consequence that the person will sometimes become addicted to the replacement drug. Many treatment centers offer a 28-day rehab, an approach which is sometimes effective but which all too often produces results that fall short of what the person was hoping for. Not surprisingly, drug rehab treatment has acquired a motley reputation. Some people swear by it, while others have the idea that rehab simply does not work.
What is Successful in Regards to Drug Addiction Treatment
There are many unique approaches to treat addiction. Rather than viewing addiction as a disease, a disability or a failure on the part of the addict, there is a workable theory that a person can overcome addiction, and it recognizes that addiction is something that can happen to anyone. In most if not all cases an addict doesn’t want to be addicted but is drive by hopelessness and in a trap that he or she feels they cannot escape. As soon as an addict can feel healthier and more competent mentally and physically without drugs than he does on drugs, he ceases to require drugs.” A successful program works by increasing the ability of the person, so that he or she can realize that there is life after addiction and that drugs are not necessary to be happy. Furthermore, the program should use a physical component for the addicted person so that he or she is no longer burdened by the toxicity of drugs and is therefore less likely to suffer a relapse.
Alcohol is one of the most difficult drugs to treat once it has become an addiction for a drinker. This is because alcohol is a widely available, legal drug. It’s everywhere! You can go into any store in the country and buy beer. There are bars in every town where you can buy a powerful cocktail or straight-up liquor. How are you supposed to get somebody off of this drug when they can so easily relapse?
There are several key steps to treating alcoholism. Just like any other drug, these steps have to be followed closely and with diligence and patience. It’s not easy, but nothing that is worth the time spent ever is.
Alcohol Treatment – Admitting There’s a Problem
The first step in treating alcoholism is getting the person through his denial and to the point that he sees there’s a problem. This can be really hard because there are so many potential excuses. “Everyone drinks!” “I don’t really drink that much!” “I can stop whenever I want!” The habitual drunk has a whole database of excuses he or she is ready to employ to get you off their back.
Working the alcoholic through this stage takes a lot of care and communication. You can refer to the probable many episodes where the drunk harmed himself or others because of his alcoholism. Nobody enjoys the constant embarrassment, hangovers and general unhappiness that comes with having an alcohol abuse problem, but drunks tend to insulate themselves from this and “turn off” there awareness of the situation. You just have to keep on working on the problem till the alcoholic will admit there is one.
After the alcoholic admits there’s a problem and wants help to solve it, you’ll have to get him or her into a detoxing program. The alcohol will have warped the person’s body and mind to the point that his system thinks it needs alcohol for continued normal function, and it will punish the alcoholic for trying to drop alcohol and return to normal.
Depending on what stage of alcoholism the person is at, the withdrawal symptoms can be more or less powerful. A late stage of alcoholism and withdrawal can even instigate “delirium tremens”, a very scary condition of shaking and seizures. Because of how dangerous withdrawal from this drug can be, it is highly advised that an alcoholic not try to withdraw by himself. By getting medical professionals to watch over the process, you can ensure that the person stays hydrated and safe during the entire process.
Learning New Skills to Stop Drinking
After the person has completely detoxed from the alcohol in his system, he or she must enter residential treatment and learn skills to stop drinking.
Any addict is in the position he or she is in because of the decisions made in that person’s life. Something led the person down the path to the point where he was drinking so heavily that addiction set in. Those same life circumstances will still be waiting for the person after rehab if a whole new way of looking at life isn’t put into place.
Effective treatment handles this by a thorough curriculum that helps recovering addicts learn how to communicate effectively and actually institute morals and ethics into their lives. With a host of other new skills, graduates can then go out into life knowing that they can make good decisions and not return to a life of addiction.
Living with alcoholism can be brutally difficult, but it’s very possible to treat successfully.
Although many substance abuse treatment options exist for the tailored needs of addicts dealing with their own degrees of addiction, research studies have organized rehab programs into several general categories to cover nearly the whole gamut. With so many new treatment centers and methods arising, it isn’t entirely possible to place every single one of these neatly into a category. This guide, however, should be adequate enough to cover the basics.
Before getting into the differences between each type of program, a similarity should be noted. Nearly all programs start off with a detoxification process and a medically-managed withdrawal. The purpose of the detox is to purge the body of the immediate drugs inside of it so as to enable a cleaner and easier stoppage of drug use. The detox usually is accompanied by undesirable physiological reactions and potentially fatal side-effects, and so to reduce the risk factor, small medical doses of drugs are given to addicts when weaning off of their substances. This is a medically-managed withdrawal, and more often than not, it is needed in drug rehab.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s research based guide called, Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment, there are many different types of rehab. Now let’s examine a few types of programs.
1. Long-term Residential Treatment
Probably the most viable option for those with extreme, all-encompassing addictions, long-term residential treatment provides 24 hour care for patients, generally in a non-hospital setting. Treatments here focus on readjusting an individual to be fit for social acceptability and harmonious existence with his peers. These treatments usually occur in therapeutic communities (TC’s) comprised of other recovering addicts. TCs across the country can accommodate people from all walks of life. One usually is checked into a TC with a planned stay between 6 and 12 months.
2. Short-term Residential Treatment
Not as drawn-out as long-term treatments, this type of intense treatment method usually has a 12-step program as its crux. The 12-step program is the most common battle plan for producing drug-free individuals, and though it was originally designed for alcohol-dependence, for the past three decades now it has been used to help rehab individuals on many other substances.
Short-term treatments can include 3-6 weeks of hospital stay followed by several more weeks of outpatient therapy and participation in self-help groups, AA meetings, etc. It is strongly recommended to anyone who has completed a short-term program that they continue participating in these outpatient activities so as to prevent a relapse.
3. Outpatient Treatment Programs
Sometimes all one might need is a little education and camaraderie to help them get over their drug problems. That’s exactly what outpatient treatment programs can offer. Though this choice is probably not for the chronic addict, those who have had a history with drug use or a desire to start using again might benefit from attending meetings where like-minded individuals sit and discuss their own experiences with drug use. Also falling under the category of outpatient programs are day treatment centers, which cater to an individual’s needs in a similar way that a residential treatment center would.
4. Individualized Drug Counseling
There is an argument to made on the efficacy of group therapy vs. individual counseling. Individual counseling can provide the individual with a more personalized approach to tackling his drug problems, including addressing areas of his life, like his job, marriage, etc. that might be affected negatively by drug use. The counselor encourages adherence to some sort of program, usually the 12-step program, and provides his patient with other tools to help promote drug abstinence. He is also able to make referrals for medical, employment and other services.