Frequently asked questions
- Negative consequences of alcohol/drug use
- An inability to quit or control alcohol/drug use
- A pattern of increased amounts and/or frequency of use
There is no single item that makes a person an alcoholic or drug-addicted. It is a combination of areas that help a counselor to determine if someone meets the diagnostic criteria for alcohol or drug dependence. (Alcohol dependence and drug dependence are just different ways of saying someone is an alcoholic or addicted.)
It is normal for those who abuse alcohol or drugs to react angrily when they are approached even in a gentle, caring manner. If you argue with them or become angry and lash out at them you only help them to focus on something besides their own use. If your initial approach to them does not seem to do any good, then seek out the assistance of close friends and family to help you speak to the person about their use. After your initial approach, don’t hesitate to seek the
advice of a qualified professional counselor.
- It is progressive, meaning that it worsens over time without proper treatment.
- It is fatal. If untreated it ultimately leads to death.
- There is an inherited biological connection that causes a pre-disposition or increased likelihood of a person having the disease.
- It manifests itself in a predictable way regardless of who it affects.
Often people interpret the word “disease” as meaning that the person does not bear any responsibility for their condition. However, even in many physical diseases, there is a clear connection between the person’s lifestyle and the onset of a physical problem. Regardless of how the condition developed, it is that person’s responsibility to seek proper medical care and follow their doctor’s advice in regard to lifestyle changes.
Someone who is addicted, has a disease, but the treatment of their disease involves accepting responsibility for taking the steps necessary to get the condition under control. Of course, every action carries with it a moral component. This is no less true for addiction problems. However, just as with a physical condition, judgement for moral failure is not the path to resolving the problem and is best left up to that person to address within the context of their belief system.
drink, their previous experiences have left a lasting impact on the way they view themselves and the world around them. Alcoholics and drug addicts don’t consider themselves to be cured, but they do consider themselves to be recovering and “no longer active” in alcohol or drug use.
Some examples of co-dependent behavior are:
- Making repeated excuses for someone’s behavior while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Questioning whether you are really the “crazy one” when you observe the addicted person’s behaviors.
- Attempts at removing the consequences of a persons actions as a result of an addiction, thereby allowing them to continue in the same behaviors. For example; paying traffic tickets or calling in sick to work for them.
- Blaming the addicted person’s behaviors on external factors like “she’s been under a lot of stress”.
Co-Dependency can be resolved through individual counseling with a qualified mental health professional and as part of an overall plan for addressing addiction problems. Help involves understanding the process of addiction and its impact on others, then acknowledging co-dependent behaviors and making behavior change, while receiving support from others for that positive change.
Getting confidential help is simply a matter of getting help!