Last updated: 05/1/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 4 minutes
If your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, coping with the struggles can be both challenging and downright exhausting. Addiction affects you just as much in some cases as it affects the individual actually using the drugs. In fact, for some spouses, the addiction can be even more devastating for the non-addicted individual than it is to the individual who is regularly abusing these harmful substances. Finding addiction treatment for your spouse becomes paramount to everyday life, having fun and focusing on the relationship because you realize that the demon of addiction will not allow anything positive to move forward until treatment takes place.
Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available to those suffering from addictions to drugs or alcohol. As the spouse of an addict, your job is to recognize the signs of the addiction early on, provide ultimatums that force your loved one to make the choice to accept treatment, and most importantly, take care of yourself so that the addiction of your spouse doesn’t ruin your life.
How Addiction Affects Your Relationship
The addiction of a loved one will impact the relationship in a number of ways. Financial struggles, physical struggles, emotional struggles and health concerns become an everyday burden that clouds the ability for the relationship to prosper. Studies show that individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol miss more work, suffer from greater health consequences and overall have more problems than those who are not addicted. These studies further show that these problems also impact the family members and loved ones of the addiction much like they affect the addict him or herself.
Psychological Issues from Substance Abuse
In addition to the initial problems that arise when an individual is addicted to drugs or alcohol, many long term psychological problems can also stem from substance abuse. If your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, even after he or she receives treatment there is risk for long term psychological trauma. Some of the issues that stem from substance abuse include:
- Development of psychosis
- Development of schizophrenia
- Development of long-term depression or anxiety
Finding Treatment for your Spouse
If you suspect that your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, consider treatment the ONLY option for true recovery and healing. Both you and your spouse should receive counseling in order to effectively heal from the trauma that has resulted from the substance abuse. Finding treatment begins with:
- Recognizing the addiction and the need for help.
- Accepting that the addiction is negatively impacting your life.
- Admitting that treatment is the only option for recovery.
What About Intervention?
Some spouses will require intervention in order to effectively choose to accept treatment for their addiction. If you feel like you’ve tried other options, you’ve asked your loved one to get help, and you’ve given ultimatums that have had no recourse, an intervention may be the next step. Here’s how it works:
- First you will need to seek the help of an interventionist who will assist you in planning and performing the intervention.
- You will gather a team to help with the intervention so that it’s not just you the “angry spouse” trying to get the individual into treatment. The intervention team may consist of family, close friends, employers, and the interventionist.
- You will all establish a set of defined consequences that WILL take place if your loved one doesn’t choose help. Be prepared to follow through with these consequences if your loved one doesn’t follow through with treatment or if they later relapse.
- After the intervention takes place, it will be up to you to stick to the plan, even when it gets challenging or difficult to follow through with.
The first step to finding treatment for a loved one is to consider the local options that are available to you. If you’re worried that the individual will have to much access to the interruptive friends, family or other triggers that may hinder the recovery efforts by remaining local, consider a treatment facility that is distanced. Some find that choosing treatment outside the general hometown allows for greater focus on recovery and improved healing.
Consider whether detox is required. If the addiction is to alcohol, heroin, opiates, or prescription drugs, detox will likely be a definite requirement. Medical detox may even be necessary in order to ensure the safety of your spouse and to ensure comfort. Pay close attention to the treatment facility that you choose and make sure that you understand the options that are offered for care. Some facilities focus heavily on treating a certain type of addiction or a certain instance of mental illness associated with dual diagnosis while others provide a more generalized approach that encompasses treatment for individuals suffering from a wide range of addiction or related conditions.
Consider the cost of treatment and how you will pay for the care that your loved one receives. Certain treatment facilities will accept insurance coverage or special financing that may be helpful. Sliding fee options also exist in which you can pay for treatment based on your income and ability to pay. If you’re looking for treatment for your spouse, the cost of treatment will be one of the many deciding factors that you should consider together.