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The Challenges of Intervening in a Loved One’s Addiction

If one of your loved ones has a substance abuse problem, you probably know the difficulty of convincing him or her to quit and seek help in a drug recovery center. Intervention experts say the task is just as difficult for the concerned relative as it is for the loved one suffering the addiction. They add that most of the obstacles that hinder a successful intervention are based on a misunderstanding of the problem of addiction itself and the emotional complications that are naturally part of any relationship. It seems the most common mistake that family members make with their loved one’s addiction is to focus too much on the substance being abused.

The wrong assumption here is that the drug or alcohol, by the power of its addictive properties, is mainly responsible for the problem. Addiction is essentially reward-seeking behavior and so the important question that needs to be asked is why your loved one would behave that way. The answer according to the intervention experts is the addict is escaping discomfort. Physical, emotional or spiritual – on whatever level it may be, some sort of pain exists and the addict needs to avoid it and seek pleasure. The feelings of hope, sympathy, guilt and fear are the very emotions the addicted loved one uses to keep the vicious cycle turning. Perhaps the most significant of these is fear, or more specifically fear of change in the family dynamics. It is not easy to see the cause when it lies too close.

It’s harder to do something about it when it is an established family culture or setting that’s accepted and taken for granted. More often than not, the concerned family member is unintentionally enabling the loved one’s addiction. Gaining a thorough understanding of these issues is the best way you can convince your loved one afflicted with addiction to enter a drug rehab center and begin his or her journey towards recovery. Photo: The Ranch PA

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