Psych Central


Helping someone into treatment for addiction is a gift that yields a lifetime of returns for the individual struggling with chemical dependency, but its benefits extend much further than that. Loved ones, typically driven by unselfish motives to help turn the addict’s life around, also stand to benefit in very personal ways:

Improved Quality of Life

Living with an addict is traumatic and life-altering in ways only affected loved ones can fully understand. Everyone in direct contact gets swallowed up by the addiction. Once a respite from the outside world, the home becomes a battlefield where trust and honesty are replaced with worry, resentment and a constant state of alert. Rates of domestic violence and mental illness go up. Daily life becomes unworkable.

Treatment improves quality of life not only for the addict, but also for the people who live with and care for them. In a study from the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim, Germany, loved ones reported significant improvements in quality of life scores (from 60.6 to 68 on a 100-point scale) after the addict completed inpatient or outpatient treatment. These changes impacted not only their social relationships and living environment but also their own mental and physical health.

One Comment to
4 Benefits of Helping an Addict into Treatment

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  1. Great article. Please use “first person language”. People are not “addicts.” Article needs to read, ” A person who has a addiction to….” It shows dignity and respect. Thank you for listening. :)

    • Hear, Hear Lillian!

      Adopting ‘Person First Language’ is critical to the goal of ending stigma associated with substance use disorder and other mental/emotional health-related challenges. We can inadvertently, unintentionally perpetuate negative stereotypes by continuing to use labels serves to marginalize/reduce the value/measurement of a person to ‘being’ their challenge, rather than using language that identifies a person as a person first and foremost, and then goes on to describe the person as also having a challenge such as addiction, other mental health-related challenge or health issue such as diabetes, or epilepsy, etc. We wouldn’t say “My epileptic” in referring to a son or daughter or other family member. Why then would we choose to say or write “My addict”? Examples of other labels we should trade in for better appropriate language are: ‘addict’, ‘drunk’, ‘junkie’, ‘alcoholic’, to name a few. As well, we need to be mindful in discerning the appropriate ‘fit’ of commonly used buzz words and terms such as, ‘enabler’, denial, tough love…because these terms are vague/subjective and mean different things to different people – depending on their level of understanding/education about the terms, as well as what the terms mean in regard to their own personal experiences, and points of view.

      We need to practice using transformative language: Words that inspire us and those we love, those we advocate on behalf of… to learn, hope, change and grow.

  2. Addiction treatment centers many times have resources that can increase the odds of long-term sobriety. For example, many of the most cutting edge treatment centers are using evidence-based neurofeedback in conjunction to therapy and a 12-step or faith-based program.

    • We are seeing more and more non faith based/non 12 step treatment facilities that utilize effective, evidence-based, well studied models of approach, too. One size treatment philosophy will never serve all individuals. People have unique strengths and needs in regard to engaging a healthy change process. We should be encouraging those hoping to advocate on behalf of a family member, friend, client, patient to seek out, learn about and try multiple methods of appraoch regarding recovery -especially if what is being applied fails to serve the individual in engaging the change process/healthier decisions with regard to using substances to cope with negative narratives, anxiety and stress.

      A ‘menu’ of evidence-based options will promote resilience in that ‘choice’ provides multiple possibilities, therefore multiple paths, therefore less anxiety toward healthy change. This is especially critical when the method(s)/philosophy(s)we have been applying is not resulting in the outcomes we hope for – in a reasonable amount of time.

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