Understanding addiction isn’t easy, especially when you’re the family of an addict. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to adopt the right stance towards your loved one. Here is some info to get you started.

Why Support For Families Of Addicts In Johannesburg Is Critical.

Often families don’t realise that addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Families play an essential role in both the progression and recovery from addiction. Here are five frequently asked questions and answers for better understanding.

1: How Do I Know Whether I’m Enabling Addiction or Supporting Their Recovery?

This is one of the critical dilemmas that families seeking support for their addicts grapple with. It’s a challenging and sensitive line to navigate.

  • Enabling can be described as actions that unintentionally aid the addict in continuing their substance abuse. This might involve making excuses for their behaviour, financially supporting their addiction, or avoiding conflict to keep peace.
  • Supporting recovery involves actions that encourage the addict to seek help and make positive changes towards sobriety. This could include setting clear boundaries, expressing love and concern about their substance abuse, and encouraging them to get professional help.

2: Why Do People Become Addicted?

Addiction is viewed as a complex interplay of bio-psycho-social factors. These elements include an individual’s biological traits, personal experience and their environment. The interplay between genetic predisposition and psychosocial variables, such as temperament and personality, leads to addictive behaviours.Characteristics such as strong novelty/sensation seeking, poor harm avoidance, negative affectivity, and reward dependency have an impact on later substance use.

3. How Do You Know If Someone Is Addicted?

Addiction is clinically categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.Even when someone may not meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder or addiction, they may nevertheless be a binge or problem drinker.Put another way, individuals might occasionally find it difficult to limit their alcohol consumption or it might occasionally lead to issues in their lives.It should be sufficient to realize that there is a problem that has to be addressed if alcohol, drugs, gambling, gaming, or other behaviours are creating problems in your life or the lives of a loved one.

Here are the eleven diagnostic criteria from the DSM-V.

In the past year, have you:

  • Had times when you ended up using drugs more, or longer than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop using drugs, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time drugging? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving—a strong need, or urge, to use drugs?
  • Found that using drugs—or being sick from using drugs—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to use drugs even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, to use drugs?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after using drugs that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to use drugs even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to use drugs much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual drug use had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of using drugs were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

Does Treatment Work?

The good news is that most addicts can benefit from treatment, regardless of how serious their condition maybe.Studies reveal that one-third of patients receiving alcoholism treatment do not experience any symptoms a year later.Numerous others significantly cut back on their alcohol consumption and report fewer issues related to alcohol.

Can Addiction Lead to Mental Health Problems?

Substance abuse and addiction are risk factors for the emergence of mental disease. The same brain regions that are disturbed in other mental diseases including schizophrenia, anxiety, mood, or impulse control issues can also be altered by substance abuse.
Drugs can worsen your condition and increase your risk of self-harm or suicide attempts. Additionally, there is some indication that certain drug use may be the initial cause of mental disease. For instance, studies have indicated that using cannabis may raise your risk of experiencing psychosis or a mental illness.

What Do I Do If My Loved One Is Addicted?

It is usually advised that people encourage their loved ones to obtain help for their addiction if they are unable to stop on their own because addictions are chronic, progressive, and sometimes deadly.An intervention can be required if your loved one refuses to accept help or is in denial about their addiction.Although there are many variations on intervention, the most popular ones entail finding support for families of addicts in Johannesburg, using close friends and a professional interventionist to force the addict to get treatment for their addiction.Family members may be asked to show their love and care for the addict during the intervention process, as well as to establish boundaries with them should the addict decide not to get help.

It is usually advised that people encourage their loved ones to obtain help for their addiction if they are unable to stop on their own because addictions are chronic, progressive, and sometimes deadly.  An intervention can be required if your loved one refuses to accept help or is in denial about their addiction.

How Can I Support My Addicted Family Member?

Taking care of oneself is more important than trying to help someone else become sober or quit ruining their life with addiction.You can be a tremendous source of strength and support if your loved one is in recovery or is ready and willing to accept assistance.Active listening, empathetic communication, healthy boundary-setting, lowering environmental triggers, promoting healthy habits, modelling healthy behaviour, and self-education regarding addiction are a few healthy practices you can put into practice.

It’s never easy to start a conversation about drug addiction with someone, but you must do so with empathy and understanding. Nobody plans to develop an addiction.Abuse of drugs is frequently an ineffective attempt to deal with difficult situations or mental health issues.Stress often feeds addictive behaviour, so berating, humiliating, or embarrassing your loved one will just make them retreat and might even inspire them to turn to drugs or alcohol for more solace.Finding out that a loved one has a drug problem can cause shock, fear, and even rage, particularly if the user is your child or adolescent.It may be extremely difficult to communicate with a drug user because of these intense feelings.

Thus, it’s crucial to schedule your conversation for a moment when you’re both composed, sober, and distraction-free.Be supportive and helpful without passing judgment.Don’t wait around.You don’t have to wait for your loved one to reach their lowest point—to be publicly embarrassed, lose their job, be arrested, or experience a medical emergency—in order to speak up.It is best to treat an addiction as soon as possible.

Terence T. Gorski‘s perspective on addiction emphasizes the importance of comprehensive care that addresses not only the addict but also the people surrounding them, often the family. If someone you love is entangled in the web of addiction, you are not alone, there are resources tailored to assist families like yours in South Africa.

Gorski’s approach recognizes the multidimensional nature of addiction, suggesting that it’s not merely about the substance or behaviour, but also about the interwoven personal, familial, and societal threads. In South Africa, this rings true as the nation grapples with the multifaceted issues of addiction, from substance abuse, mental health issues, crime, Fetal alcohol disorders and socio-economic challenges.

To help you better understand and leverage the resources available to you, here are some frequently asked questions related to addiction and finding support for families of addicts in Johannesburg:


  • What is the Terence T. Gorski approach to addiction? Gorski’s methodology views addiction as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual illness. He believes that families play an essential role in both the progression and recovery from addiction. Hence, while the addict requires support and treatment, families too need education and support systems to cope and assist in recovery.
  • How prevalent is addiction in South Africa? Substance abuse, particularly alcohol, methamphetamine (locally referred to as “tik”), and cannabis, is of significant concern. Reports suggest that South Africa has a higher-than-global-average rate of substance abuse, which underscores the need for family support structures.
  • Where can families of addicts in South Africa find professional support? Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg has an online programme for families of their patients in South African communities.
  • How can South African families assist in the recovery of an addicted loved one? Apart from connecting with professional resources, families can attend support groups, engage in family therapy, and educate themselves on addiction’s nature. This not only fosters understanding but also equips the family with tools to support recovery and not enable addiction.
  • Are there community-specific challenges that South African families face in dealing with addiction? Yes, factors like socio-economic disparities, cultural stigmas related to addiction, and limited resources in certain regions can pose unique challenges for South African families. However, understanding these challenges and seeking culturally sensitive support can make a profound difference.

In the journey through addiction, remember that understanding, patience, and support are paramount. While the road may seem daunting, equipped with the right information and resources tailored to the South African context, you and your family can traverse the path of recovery with resilience and hope.