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how to help a loved one through addiction

It’s important to understand exactly what addiction is, how addiction works, and the way that the effects of addiction are changing your friend. Addiction is a disorder, though some call it a disease, which interrupts the brain’s natural cycles, thereby having an effect on the body. Described as an “allergy”, addiction causes a tolerance and a dependency which keeps someone in a chemical cycle of reliance upon drugs and/or alcohol. Through specific brain mechanisms like the production of dopamine, an interaction with the reward center, and an alteration in the brain’s survival methods, drugs and alcohol become a priority.

The more memory association created by the more drugs and alcohol consumed, the more power these substances have over rationality, memory, judgment, morality, and physical health. Terms like “hijacking” are commonly used to describe addiction. In short, using drugs and alcohol becomes a matter of life or death in two ways. First, the brain is convinced that not continuing to be stimulated by drugs and alcohol will result in death. Two, if someone who is addicted continues to harm their mind and their body with drugs and alcohol, death is a legitimate threat. It seems like an obvious choice to someone who isn’t addicted. Inside the mind of the addicted brain, the choice is less clear and it feels as though the will to choose has been stripped.

Until your friend is ready to choose to recovery, there can be a long path of destruction and damage, to themselves, to you, and to others. The most painful challenge you are given is overcoming the need to fix everything, help with everything, and try to save them. A good friend will understand their limits and abilities. You can only do so much, say the right thing so many times in so many ways, and offer help beyond your means. There will come a point when you will need to recognize where your giving ends. You don’t have to abandon or reject your friend. In fact it is most important to let them know that while you cannot continue to give to them, you will always be there to support them. When they are truly ready for help, you will be there to help them. In between, you aren’t available as a financial supporter, problem solver, or anything else as it pertains to their addiction.

When the time is right, finding the right treatment program is essential. Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers an integrative treatment program approaching the holistic needs of recovery in mind, body, and spirit. In addition to clinical and alternative healing, our clients learn how to care for themselves and nurture their relationships.

Call us today for more information at 844-234-LIVE.