Chemical Dependency Affects Everyone: How to Help a Loved One
A recent study reported that 28 million people age 12 and older used illicit drugs during the past year. Other studies estimate that more than 76 million people, or one in four people, have been exposed to alcoholism at home.
Experience shows that for every person with an alcohol or other drug problem, at least four others are hurt by their behavior. A loved one's drug or alcohol dependency can affect the entire family.
Quitting drugs or alcohol isn't easy, but the support of family and friends is
invaluable during this challenging time, said Lisa Rink, D.O., Medical Director
of the New Vision© Program at Lourdes.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
Here are some tips on how to help your loved one overcome an addiction:
- Encourage your relative to accept your aid, or guide her to
professional help. However, avoid emotional appeals, bribes or guilt
- Speak honestly about her behavior and its day-to-day
- Include her in the daily aspects of family life. Don't strip away
responsibilities. If you do, she may feel unimportant and without
- Resist the urge to be overprotective. For example, don't dump out
liquor bottles or shelter the person from places where alcohol is
- Support her new interests and participate in leisure activities she enjoys. Encourage her to visit old friends.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE
- Losing interest in normal activities
- Keeping alcohol in unusual places
- Forgetfulness/blacking out
- Drinking alone or in secret
- Problems at work or with finances
Dr. Rink and her associates, Cheryl Hilton, D.O., and Moyna H. Ng, M.D., specialize in internal medicine, particularly women's health issues. Their offices are located at 217 White Horse Pike, Haddon Heights, N.J.