Recovering from Addiction as a Family

One thing that many people fail to realize is that drug addiction rarely ever affects just one person. Opioid use disorder is a chronic disease that quickly takes control over a person’s life, and has a significant impact on their friends and family as well. Family members have to deal with the effects of their loved one’s addiction in their own way, and when a person begins opioid addiction treatment, those individuals that remain close with their families will share that experience together, too, for better or for worse. In this article, we will discuss the impact family can have on the recovery process and some important things for everyone to consider while they embark on this journey together. 

Understanding The Disease

Opioid addictions are not the same as some other addictions you may be aware of. Despite the common misconception Americans have regarding people struggling with addiction, many individuals with opioid use disorder continue to live productive lives, and signs of their addiction go unnoticed by many. 

However, this can begin to change rapidly as the addiction escalates and their dependence on opioids increases. Part of what makes opioids so addictive and dangerous is how they affect the brain. Opioids affect the pleasure centers of the brain, causing the brain to produce more dopamine (the chemical that creates those good feelings of happiness and pleasure), and overstimulate the brain’s chemical receptors to heighten its sensitivity to the increased levels of dopamine. These two effects create a compounded feeling of pleasure and euphoria (a “high”)  within the person, which makes the drug so successful within the confines of its prescribed use in medicine, but after prolonged periods of abuse, it gradually makes it more difficult for the brain to recreate these feelings on its own, naturally. Therefore, the user will need to continue abusing opioids, and the growing tolerance to the substance will require them to consume more and more of it in order to experience that “high” again.

Understanding The Treatment

When a person makes the commitment to receive intervention and treatment for opioid use disorder, many families tend to make the mistake of thinking that the hardest parts are over. Once they begin the process of recovery, the family’s role is now more important than ever. Treatment takes a lot of time, and a lot of work, from the patient as well as their family. Thanks to our brain’s natural neuroplasticity, the brain will recover and begin to function properly after some time, but many things can take place during that time that could trigger a relapse, leading the patient to feed the urges to use again. 

Triggers such as past trauma, anxiety, depression, or other difficulties with rehabilitating back to a normal, drug-free lifestyle can cause a relapse, and cause that clock for recovery to start all over again. The ability of the family to create a positive, comforting, and judgment-free environment for the patient will play a significant role in the success of their loved-one’s recovery.

Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder at American Treatment Network

Opioid use disorder is a very serious, chronic disease that requires specialized levels of treatment from professionals, as well as continued levels of support and commitment from the patients and their families.  If you or a loved one is in need of opioid addiction treatment, it is imperative that you reach out for treatment as quickly as possible. American Treatment Network has multiple locations for opioid addiction treatment in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and uses evidence-based therapy and intervention methods to help lead people down a successful path to recovery and independence. To learn more about our programs, visit our website and reach out to a treatment center today.


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