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Family Ties

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By February 20, 2019

If you’re a person who’s close family member is someone you suspect is suffering from addiction, or a substance use disorder, you may be desperate to get them into addiction treatment in New Jersey but feel pressured to wait for them to hit ‘rock bottom’. It’s a scary thing to wonder if that point may end up with their death or permanent brain or physical damage from their drug use.

A recent article in Psychiatric Times (https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/article/coaching-families-address-addiction) presents a variety of methods for parents, brothers, sisters, cousins and even friends navigate the complex behavior that accompanies someone’s addiction and ways to encourage them to seek help and find sober living in New Jersey. Often times the concerned family members have already come into contact with the more deceptive and manipulative behaviors of someone who is struggling with their substance use disorder.

“Family members who have been manipulated by a person with an addiction for money or other support are often angry and resentful. But by providing the family with psychoeducation – specifically, approaches that are likely to be helpful but also protect the family from being further abused – one can reassure family members and bring them into a makeshift ‘treatment team’”, says Laurence Westreich, MD and fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, the article’s author. He warns against simply handing over cash or access to material support an instead setting up specific lanes of discussion or support that inches the person towards treatment without force.

The article also warns of ‘intervention’, despite the method gaining popularity within popular culture from various television shows that are more interested in capturing drama than promoting ways to help people with addiction. Instead, Dr. Westreich gives reason and examples to use non-confrontational communication and to practice such things before attempting to talk to their family member about seeking help.

“The essential point for family members to understand is that they are trying to build a therapeutic alliance with the person with addiction – and this is a skill that can be taught, even to non-clinicians, and even in the heat of a deteriorating clinical situation,” says Dr. Westreich. “The attitude must be that ‘we are together and we’re going to get through this’ rather than ‘you need to stop acting like a child’ or (even worse!) ‘just say NO!’”

Also covered is motivational enhancement, which emphasizes empathy in communication in place of dialogue that can be misconstrued as accusational. It is also emphasized that this technique, while effective, is often a long-term game to build trust.

Discovery InstituteThere are many ways to approach a family member suffering from substance use disorder and the sooner they enter treatment, the more chance of success and, more importantly, avoiding the devastating effects of drug abuse can be successful. If your maintain love for the person who is suffering from the condition, then you are already on the right track.

If you or someone you know is ready to handle their substance use disorder, call the one of the top rated drug rehab centers, Discovery Institute, at 844-478-6563.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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