Addiction and Family Communication

Any form of addiction affects the family because it is indeed a family disease. Once it entered the family, it organizes and manipulates the family system. Family members become focus on the affected member as he becomes the basis of their behaviours and reactions. It may be slow but the process is dangerous. How? The system becomes chaotic and frightening, most of the time unpredictable and the environment becomes unhealthy. With such atmosphere, wounds which may be long-lasting, are formed and activated. These require counselling or attendance at groups that offer professional help and rehabilitation.

However, healthy patterns within the system can be integrated through healthy family communication and support. (Wekesser, 1994, p. 168) It is important to know the signs of addiction within the family so proper approach and recovery will be applied. How do we know that our family is infected by the disease? An addicted person loses focus and concentration especially in work, so the tendency is to miss it. He loses the value of time. Also, valuables and money are already missing inside the home. Physically, an addict has bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and always having an erratic behaviour.

He becomes used to lying in almost everything which if caught and confronted, will even cause him more depression. These red flags must be addressed immediately to prevent the situation from getting worse. Commonly, addiction is associated with drugs and alcohol. However, addiction reaches far from what is ordinary and common. Strictly, the word “addiction” is defined as “the habitual compulsion to use a substance, or to engage in an activity without much regard for its detrimental effects on a person’s physical, mental, financial social and spiritual well-being.

” (Bylsma 2010) It is true especially nowadays different types of addiction are spreading and breaking the family system, and even rotting the society. Drugs Drug abuse is the most popular form of addiction that has long been a serious public and family health problem in most communities in the world. In the United States, study results display around 40 million serious injuries and illnesses each year because of drug addiction. Social problems like drugged driving, stress, child abuse and violence are rampant in many infected countries.

Worst results of drug addiction may include homelessness, crime and losing jobs, that leads to depression and worst, suicide. Unborn babies are also harmed by addiction. Worst is that it destroys the family. (NIDA 2010) There are different types of abused drugs, each with varying effects. Alcohol and nicotine are the most common perhaps because it is the most accessible and readily available. Alcohol causes damage in the brain, organ diseases and impotency. Nicotine is readily available in an affordable cigarette stick. Many smokers surely wish to withdraw from smoking but they find it difficult to resist.

According to QuitSmoking. com, there are over 4,000 different chemicals present in just one cigarette stick, at least 50 of them are known carcinogens or cancer forming chemicals harmful for humans and are very poisonous. Cocaine, although the most expensive drug in the market still remains the most abused stimulant in the U. S. Opium, heroin, meth and methadone are just a few. Marijuana, which is known in different names, still ranks number one as the most frequently used illegal drug in the world. (Bylsma 2010) Alcohol

Alcohol addiction is a compulsive need for an intoxicating liquid from fermented grain or fruit, may it be as beer, wine or other hard liquors. It is a diseased condition due to the excessive use of alcoholic beverages” (Random House Dictionary of the English Language (1966)p35. To identify a possible alcoholic in the family, American Psychiatric Association gives three criteria to diagnose a possible alcoholic (Silverstein 1990, p30). Physiological problems include hand tremors and blackouts; psychological problems include obsessive desire to drink; and behavioural problems that affects social life and work.

Alcoholism affects people of any age and background, especially the family. Alcoholics can be the parents to the children. Seventy six million of adult Americans have been exposed to alcoholism, according to U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, and one of every four families in the country has problems with alcohol. (Silverstein 1990) Gambling Gambling addiction is a type of disorder that controls the impulses. Gamblers often have difficulties controlling the impulse to gamble.

Too much gambling becomes a form of vice that seriously affecting the gambler himself and his loved ones. Gamblers keep on gambling despite whether they are happy or depressed, happy or not. Worst is that even if they ran out of bets and destroys the family, they still gamble. Gambling addiction is usually referred as “hidden illness”. (McMullan, Rege 2010) This is because no physical signs or symptoms can be easily noticed in a gambler. Gamblers often deny or hide their gambling. They often withdraw or hide from their loved ones and lie about where they’ve been and what they’ve have been doing.

A gambling addict becomes more and more defensive about his or her gambling. Suddenly he becomes secretive especially when it comes to money and finances. And he becomes increasingly desperate for money to support his gambling, to the point of stealing and selling any valuables to fun it. Internet Addiction In the advent of modern technology today, most people rely mostly on the web for almost everything. It bridges us long lost friends and loved ones through social networking sites. It also provides online conveniences like shopping, paying bills and banking negotiations which are even faster.

But aside from making our lives lighter, it also makes it more dangerous. Other than the spread of serious crimes like identity theft and pornography, a new disorder known as Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) has emerged. Countries like the Philippines posed a growing concern regarding this addiction especially among children and teenagers. Internet addiction brings a person to a mood-altering behaviour wherein compulsive habit are developed in internet addicts to surf the net, join online communities and chat rooms, and nurture virtual characters by playing online games.

(Soo 2010) This can brought about emotional, psychological and social effects. Marriage fails because the husband neglects and ignores his wife and family due to excessive indulgence in the Internet. The Associated Press reported last May 2010 a couple who starve their baby to death because of addiction to an online game. This tragedy has moved authorities to have greater concerns on the growing population of online users to prevent the situation to worsen. Addiction and Family Communication Communication is important to have a healthy family relationship.

Many important things must be addressed with children especially when it comes to addiction. Each member needs to hear and feel the love of all members in the family and must understand that in any way, addiction is a family disease. But once a member becomes addicted to any form of addiction, the rest of the family must realize that he or she needs help to get better, may it be from the immediate members or from authorities. The most common effect we find in an addicted person is a break-down in their communication. They begin to avoid and ignore communication firstly from their immediate family members and from other sources.

From inside the family, to peers and people in their environment, addicted persons even lost connections with themselves. They forget their own identity – their goals and reasons – as long as they fulfil the desires of their addiction. (Bylsma 2010) Discussing in detail, communication breaks down with family and friends first. The very first reason for this is because the addicted person feels it painful for his loved ones to know his addiction. This fear to disappoint the immediate family pushes an addict to isolate himself. It is the parents and friends who are the toughest people to disappoint.

Their approval is very important for a child to have and among the “things to be”, being an addict is never an option. So an addicted child becomes very sensitive to what his family members feel, and disappointing them hurts him so much. So he’ll isolate and so communication breaks down. Next burden to an addicted child are the people in his environment, so he also cuts off his communication with them. An addict always feel the guilt, whether he admits his addiction or not. So raising addiction issue within a conversation makes them angry.

They tend to avoid these situations so strangers and even casual acquaintances are avoided. They tend to hide their activities from people and as a result, they retreat themselves from communicating. So what happens next is they cut off their communication even to themselves. They lie to themselves. Because they are disappointed of themselves, they keep on giving excuses and justifications for their frustrations and failures. They start to believe these negatives about themselves so it becomes very painful. Awareness is one helpful factor to prevent any member of the family from being an addict.

Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the negative effects of addiction in people’s life. Effective communication skills are parts of the best tools to help families in addiction crises. It is important to keep your communications open, to find ways and decisions which the whole family can agree upon. (Tetyana 2003) In case of a family with an addicted child, parents must try to address the issue toward kids. While they share, act as the audience. Parents are part of the solution. Try not to live in past because this might upset the patient or make him feel agitated.

Addiction damages physically and emotionally, but always remember that parents alone cannot help the patient, but experts can. Tell your child that there are people who cares and willing to help an addict to overcome the situation. According to Tony Bylsma (2010), although professional rehabilitation programs might help in dealing with communication factors among addicts, it is still important that the child will leanr to communicate and live a life that needs not to hide or cover up any wrongdoing. The support of each family member and combined effort to control or change an addict will be effective.

Some members may also keep themselves distant from the disease. But when an addicted family member begins to recover, the recovering person learns to speak and communicate. (Barr, Murray 2010) References Bylsma, T. (2010) Factors of Drug Addiction – Communication Breakdown. EzineArticles. com retrieved 4 Aug 2010 from http://ezinearticles. com/? Factors-of-Drug-Addiction— Communication-Breakdown&id=3822992 Johnson, L. (2010) Chemicals in Cigarette. Quit-Smoking-Stop. com McMullan, J. , Rege, A. (2010) Online crime and internet gambling. Journal of Gambling Issues Issue 24, July 2010: 54–85.

Mary Barr. Stephen J. Murray, NICD Director. “My son/daughter is Using Drugs- Am I to Blame” from http://www. nicd. us/adaskresourcespartnine. html National Institute on Drug Abuse. Study Suggests Crystal Methamphetamine Use in Young Adults Higher than Previously Reported. 15 June 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2010 from http://www. addictionjournal. org/viewpressrelease. asp? pr=64 Silverstein, H. (1990), Alcoholism. New York: Franklin Watts Soo K. P. (2010) “Prevalence of Internet addiction and correlations with family factors among South Korean adolescents”.

Family Therapy. FindArticles. com. 06 Aug, 2010. http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_6897/is_3_36/ai_n45062524/ Tetyana, P (2003). Alcoholism and Its Effect on the Family. AllPsych Journal. p. 1-3 retrieved 4 August 2010 from http://allpsych. com/journal/alcoholism. html U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. Retrieved August 5, 2010 from http://www. health. org/nongovpubs/coafacts/ Wekesser, C. (1994), Alcoholism. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc.

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