Addiction is devastating. The hardest part of having a family member or a loved one with an addiction is watching them deteriorate. It’s a condition that starts off innocently, with a person ingesting a substance like alcohol, nicotine, maybe one of the numerous drugs available, or possibly engaging in gambling, even shopping. It typically starts off as fun and pleasurable. But then things change. The continued use or act becomes compulsive and starts to interfere with one’s life. Work, relationships, and health start to deteriorate. Sadly, many users may not be aware that their behavior has changed, they’ve lost control and it’s causing problems for themselves and others.
When youths perceive drug abuse as harmful, they reduce their drug intake. So prevention is key. Send the message that drug addiction can be prevented if one never abuses drugs.
If you suspect your loved one is addicted to gambling, express your concerns. Encourage him or her to get help and let them know how much you care and support them.
Learning about addiction and its powerful effects on individuals can give you insight on the best way to treat it. Visit the National Institute for Drug Abuse or the National Council on Problem Gambling to learn more.
If you fear you have an addiction, seek help. The sooner you do, the greater your chances for long-term recovery. Start by talking with your primary doctor or see a mental health provider that specializes in addiction medicine.
Chris Patterson, Substance Abuse Addict
Karen Corcoran Walsh, MS, MFT, Addiction Specialist
Christian Guzman, Substance Abuse Addict
JJ Johnson, E-cigarette smoker
Peter Harrington, Compulsive Gambler
Lori Mello, Program Manager- Gambling Treatment Program
Dr. Mary Heitzeg, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry Department, University of Michigan