How Family Members Can Cope with an Addict’s Paranoia

Posted in Help for Friends and Family, Resources

How Family Members Can Cope with an Addict's Paranoia

Addicts need support from family to cope with paranoia

Dealing with a family member’s substance abuse and addiction is difficult. The effects of addiction can cause problems in a family if the situation is not handled with care and understanding. When you add paranoia into the mix, it just becomes that much more difficult.

Paranoia is a mental disorder that can be classified by projected conflicts and emotions that can lead to suspicion and aggression directed at the self or other people. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), some anxiety and paranoia can be caused by substance abuse and addiction. Certain chemicals found in drugs and alcohol can affect the brain and lead to anxiety, distrust, personality issues and extreme paranoia.

Paranoia can cause the individual to distrust the motives of loved ones, especially their motives in prompting the individual to seek recovery. This could add an unexpected roadblock in helping someone get necessary treatment. In order to help someone you love find treatment, you need to understand that paranoia is not the individual’s fault, that he or she does need help and that you must be patient.

SAMHSA states that the chemical effects of substances on the brain cause many cases of paranoia. Understanding this may help an addict’s loved ones know that they are not causing the paranoia. If the user distrusts them, the substances may be causing that reaction. It is best not to take the paranoia personally, as hurt feelings will only complicate the situation. Remember that your loved one needs help, regardless of his or her anger or distrust. You must be patient with your loved one and the situation, reminding your loved one constantly that he or she is loved and understood and that you are only there to help.

The best way to help paranoid family members who are struggling with substance abuse or addiction is to address one problem at a time. Do not overwhelm your loved one, as this could just cause him or her to turn away and not seek help. Be available and caring, but also know that you are not alone.

If you or someone you love is dealing with substance abuse or addiction, there is help available. Please call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator who can help connect you to the resources and treatment options that are best for you and your family. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, so please call now.