The Addict Family

The addict family is one that is typically in confusion, denial, and is usually dysfunctional in nature too. It is ironic that the family usually needs as much help as the addict themselves. The addict family is defined as a family unit where one member of the family is an addict. It does not matter whether the family member is in recovery or the family member is currently using. The family is usually in confusion, denial, and almost certainly dysfunctional.


Regardless of how long there has been an addict in the family, there is always confusion on how to deal with the addicted member, how to react to situations with the addict, and how to deal with family gatherings and situations. Each family member’s conflicting thoughts about the addicted member, their personal emotions, their denial, and their reactions create an environment of overall family confusion. This confusion fuels angst and anger providing a perfect catalyst for a dysfunctional family unit.


Family denial can be as strong as the addict’s denial. The family members do not want to “deal” with the addicts’ problems. They love the addict and hope that he may change himself or that he is truly in recovery after participating in a program.

Even if the family realizes that there is a problem, the members of the family may believe that the problem will not have an impact on them. The issue with denying that there is an addict in the family, or that their problem is not very serious, is that over time the denial will cause each family member an immense amount of pain.

The impact of that denial will negatively affect the family member’s behavior, may hurt their relationships, or may even physically harm them (sleepless nights, stress eating, smoking, etc.)


As members of the family realize that there is an addict in the family, each member will typically react in different ways. These different reactions create a dysfunction within the addict family unit. For example, one member may be practicing tough love, while another family member may be enabling the addict. This dichotomy of behaviors and reactions to the addict generate a family dysfunction that creates stress, conflict, and confusion.

No matter what your behavior and beliefs are regarding the addict, it is helpful to articulate your position or stance regarding the addict to the rest of the family members trying to minimize emotion. This discussion may be difficult, but it can only help reduce the overall dysfunction and it may even help you lead the family recovery process by example.


– The addict family unit needs to realize that there is a problem.
– They need to stop denying that there is a problem or that the problem does not affect them.
– They need to realize that they will be in a state of recovery too.
– They need to be proactive verses reactive to the addict and the family situation.
– They need to understand addiction behaviors.
– They need to understand their own emotions and reactions to the addict’s behavior.
– They need to set boundaries with the addict and to not back down or break the established boundaries.
– They must detach with love if they feel it is necessary to help the addict in the long run.
– They must NOT enable the addict as it just prolongs the addiction and causes the family unit to fracture and stay fractured for many years.


The family can survive. It may even become stronger during the member’s addiction and, hopefully, their recovery. There are great sources of help for family members with addicts. Search them out and utilize their resources.

Understanding Addiction Treatment

You are said to have a drug addiction when you are unable to control the drug’s intake. Despite experiencing the negative effects of the drug, you continue seeking and taking it. Addiction begins with a habit where you regularly take the drug or consume alcohol. As your body gets used to the drug your ability to stop the consumption is compromised. The addiction is as a result of changes in the brain that interfere with your behavior.

Addiction treatment

The good news is that if you are suffering from any form of addiction you can get treated. Since the condition is chronic, it takes time for you to fully recover. Addiction treatment begins with you accepting that you have a problem that needs to be fixed and then enroll into a treatment program. The treatment program that you enroll into should help you to stop using the drugs, stay free of the drugs and be a productive member of the family, workforce and the society at large.

All addiction treatment programs follow a series of steps that begin with detoxification. Drug or alcohol detoxification involves the removal of the drug from your system. Here the drug that you are addicted to is taken away from you and using medications, the doctors keep you in check so that the dangerous withdrawal symptoms don’t kick in. During detoxification, your psychological addiction remains but tolerance to the drug is greatly reduced. Follow-up treatment is put into place to ensure that the entire addiction goes away.

After detoxification, the next step is counseling. Since addiction is mental, the doctors work at motivating you to continue with the treatment and work hard at ensuring that you don’t go back to your old ways. The counseling sessions are both individual and group oriented. Group sessions provide you with social reinforcement as you know that you aren’t the only one going through the condition. During the sessions, you are asked to make a promise to the group members that you aren’t going to go back. This promise keeps you grounded to the treatment as you don’t want to fail your group members. The individual sessions are meant to address the private struggles that you might be going through. You have a session with a professional counselor who helps you to overcome the challenges.

The next step is the medication step. You are given medications that help you manage the withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat any other conditions that you might be having. In most cases, medications are used when you are suffering from tobacco, opioid or alcohol addiction. Commonly used medications are: methadone, naltrexone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.

It’s common for drug addicts to suffer from other mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. The doctors will evaluate the condition that you are suffering from and treat it. Once you are through the program and clean, the doctors will arrange how you will be regularly visiting the health facility for regular checkups meant to follow up on your condition and prevent relapse.


Drug addiction is real but treatable. For ideal results, you should visit a reputable addiction treatment center that will guide you to drug freedom.