Dealing with substance abuse

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
When a person develops a problem with drugs or alcohol, family members are usually affected as well. Family members in alcoholic or drug-abusing households often feel isolated and ashamed, and are unable to confront the problem that affects them. They may even suffer from guilt, and wonder if the substance abuser's behavior is their fault. However, the first step towards recovery is to recognize the problem, and this generally requires the entire family to acknowledge the damage caused by the abusive behavior. Once the family realizes the true nature of the problem, they're in a better position to begin taking steps to cure it. Family treatment programs are one of the most popular and successful methods of dealing with substance abuse. Since these programs tend to focus attention on each member of the family, rather than just the abuser, everyone is able to benefit. Treatment typically involves teaching family members to recognize and accept each other's feelings and needs. Many programs stress the necessity for communication, honesty, and understanding, and teach valuable coping skills. There are several resources for family treatment, including alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers, self-help groups for families of alcoholics, and Al-anon. For more information about dealing with substance abuse, consult a health are professional in your area.

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