Who Suffers From Addiction?

In America, it is very common for a family to have at least one loved one who struggles with some kind of drug addiction. Sometimes times the families of the addict are the ones who suffer the most and the children feel the repercussions more than anyone.

More than 8 million children live with and are impacted by a parent or family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Statistics from show that 14% of these children are under the age of 2, 12% are ages 6 to 11, and 10% are 12 to 17 years old. The website also presents some more shocking figures about these children and how they suffer from drug addiction (Parental Drug Addiction).

Child abuse and neglect: It’s been estimated that up to two thirds of children that have been mistreated involve some kind of addiction. There is a huge difference in the rates of abused and neglected children living in a home with an addicted parent or parents than children who do not. Children with addicted parents are 3 times more likely to be abused and 4 times more likely to be neglected (Parental Drug Addiction).

Developmental and mental health issues: Children living with a parent’s drug use is more likely to have behavioral issues. These children are also at a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety (Parental Drug Addiction).

Next generation substance abuse: Researchers have found a link between a parent’s drug addiction and a child most likely to grow up with a drug addiction and problems getting a good education, getting a job, and living a normal life (Parental Drug Addiction).

I was raised by an alcoholic father who is addicted to prescription pain medications. His addiction eroded his ability to care for me and my two younger siblings so I had to care for ourselves quite often. His pill addiction and alcoholism came first instead of paying our bills or buying us food. If we made too much noise while he was in pain or hung over, we were punished with physical abuse. Living with my father was like walking on egg shells. After years of suffering from the traumatic effects of my father’s addictions, I found myself turning to alcohol at the age of fourteen as a means of escape.

My father’s addiction left our family constantly in poverty. My mother did her best to try and keep a roof over our heads but the addiction crippled us financially. According to (2012), an article called “The Cost of Addiction on Families” describes other costs associated with addiction:
• Missed or lost work or inability to find a job due to the addiction
• Increased car, health, life and other insurance premium costs
• Loss of income due to not graduating high school, college or obtaining an advanced degree
• Medical costs; many addictions cause health problems that can add up to massive costs throughout a person’s lifetime
• Legal bills; DUIs and other legal problems can often result from addictions, and the subsequent legal costs can be staggering (Borsari, 2012).

My experience happens to many children around the world and although it may not sound positive, it taught me to be a very strong and independent individual. I could have followed my father’s footsteps, but instead I chose to break the viscous cycle of addiction so my child would not suffer like I did.


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Family Therapy

Being in a family with a parent who is addicted to prescription pain medication will teach you that their addiction affects the entire family because it damages your relationship with each other. Family therapy is a very important part of prescription addiction treatment because family involvement in recovery helps you understand the complications of the addiction. It is also a way the family can prepare themselves to help their loved one have a successful recovery. Therapy teaches the family healthy coping skills and helps repair damaged relationships caused by addiction.

Families need to realize that even though they are not addicted, they can still change and take care of themselves which is good for the addict and the family as a whole. The family has their own healing and recovery needs and sometimes they are so focused on their loved one with the addiction that they lose the ability to care for themselves over time. Each family member will suffer either physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually so getting help is crucial for everyone’s overall well-being. Family therapy is also a good way to identify how to improve communication and rebuild trust.

According to, Family Therapy: A Vital Part of Addiction Treatment, explains some benefits of family therapy:
• Assisting the substance user to gain awareness of their needs and behaviors.
• Improving the mental and physical state of the entire family unit.
• Permitting family members to gain self-care interventions to improve their own well-being.
• Improving communication styles and relationship quality.
• Helping families understand and avoid enabling behaviors.
• Address codependent behavior that may be preventing recovery.
• Learning and understanding the systems in place that support and deter substance use.
• Preventing the substance use from spreading throughout the family or down through future generations (Patterson, 2017)., Family Therapy for Substance Abuse, explains how most inpatient treatment centers offer a family component with the following treatments:
• Residential or inpatient treatment
• Outpatient treatment
• Individual marriage and family therapy (Zac, 2016)

The life of a family with a prescription addiction problem is usually chaotic and unpredictable. Therapy is a neutral ground for the family to negotiate and organize their feelings with a therapist as the mediator. Family therapy will teach the family to use their strengths to support their loved one with the addiction so they can stick to their recovery without relapse. It will also strengthen the whole family’s emotional health. Prevention is also very important so the addiction is not passed on to other family members. By utilizing family therapy, people can heal and break the vicious cycle of addiction.


Eric, Patterson. (n.d.). Family therapy: a vital part of addiction treatment.  Retrieved February 22, 2017, from

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Zac, Evelyn. (2016, July 21). Family Therapy for Substance Abuse.  Retrieved February 22, 2017, from

How To Avoid Being At Risk For Prescription Drug Addiction

Anyone can easily be at risk for prescription drug abuse, especially people who seek medical treatment because of some type of chronic pain they suffer from. Many people who have been in some type of accident and deal with intolerable chronic pain daily have experienced being at risk during their recovery process. The pain weighs a person down and has a profound effect on their day to day life. These types of people need to communicate closely with their physician in order to balance out their legitimate medical needs with potential risk factors for becoming addicted. People at risk need to take the appropriate steps to ensure that they will not misuse their pain medication by:
• following the directions as explained on the label or by the pharmacist
• being aware of potential interactions with other drugs as well as alcohol
• never stopping or changing a dosing regimen without first discussing it with the doctor
• never using another person’s prescription, and never giving their prescription medications to others
• storing prescription stimulants, sedatives, and opioids safely (Misuse of Prescription)

Some medications have higher risks of addiction like narcotic painkillers for example. People, who are prescribed narcotic pain medication, find that it seems to help with their pain for a short period of time. With the stress of life and having to work full-time with pain, some begin to take an extra pill here and there just to get through the day. A person takes their health for granted until something like this slaps them in the face. This is how many people begin to put themselves at risk of becoming addicted to their pain medications. If you start to develop a drug tolerance and are afraid of becoming addicted, you need to find ways to limit your risks. First, weigh out your risk factors and if you have had a past addiction and a family history of addiction, you need to look at other options.

The first thing that should be done is to quit taking extra pills, and start some type of physical therapy at your local gym. Taking advice from your physical therapist and physician can help you on your way to a healthy recovery. Many people find that physical therapy along with eating right, exercising daily, and getting plenty of rest will help put an end to some if not all chronic pain.

Not everyone is able to utilize other options for dealing with chronic pain, but trying to live some kind of a healthy lifestyle can help. Weighing your risk factors is important along with taking your pain medication only as directed. The website, Are You at Risk for Prescription Drug Addiction has helpful information for weighing out your risks.


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Yu, Winnie. (2016, June 30). Are you at risk for prescription drug addiction. Lifescript.  Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

Breaking Free From Prescription Drug Addiction

Many people who are struggling with chronic pain are also dealing with prescription drug dependence. According to a study done by the National Health Institute (NIH), there are roughly 25.3 million people that suffer from chronic pain in the United States (Bushak, 2015). That is 11.2 percent of American adults that have experienced some type of pain every day for a period of three months (Bushak, 2015). The study also found that 17.6 percent of Americans experience “severe pain” (Bushak, 2015). More people die from overdosing on prescription drugs than people that die in car accidents in the US each year (Elkins, 2015). The problem is worldwide but out of all the countries, the US is the biggest prescription drug addict (Elkins, 2015). Here are some stats from the website Drugwatch that will surprise you:
• An estimated 52 million Americans use prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetimes – with some using prescription drugs for recreational purposes.
• Deaths by overdoses involving prescription painkillers quadrupled since 1999.
• Every day, about 50 Americans die from prescription painkiller overdoses.
• Every year, prescription painkillers cause more than 16,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits (Elkins, 2015).

Pain killers are in the lead as being the main cause of accidental death in the US. Just because a doctor prescribes these drugs does not make them safe and eliminating pain medications altogether is not the solution. A person struggling with prescription addiction while suffering from chronic pain needs drug rehabilitation along with a special pain management solution. This type of rehabilitation must consist of pharmacotherapy, physical therapy, and some individual counseling along with a support group. Doctors will often hesitate to prescribe habit-forming narcotic pain medication to a person who has a history of drug addiction. These people will not receive the adequate pain control they need. This often times will lead to addiction because a person will try to self-medicate themselves by turning to alcohol and street drugs. Through rehabilitation, a chronic pain patient can find a balance with their addiction and a pain medication that will not compromise their pain control (Rehab with pain, 2017).

A doctor can work with a patient by providing them with an alternative for chronic pain by prescribing non habit-forming pain medications and a pain management regime. Some non habit-forming treatment options are as follows:
• Non-opioid pain medications, such as medications used to prevent seizures or relieve depression
• Opioid replacement drugs that reproduce the effects of opioids at a lower level, like methadone or buprenorphine
• Psychological counseling and behavioral modification to address the causes of addiction and educate the patient in healthy coping strategies
• Opioid therapy in conjunction with a pain control contract that requires the patient to commit to certain conditions, like drug screening (Rehab with pain, 2017).

There are other added treatments a patient can try like massage and acupuncture, hydrotherapy and herbal therapy, and physical therapy along with a non-habit forming pain medication. Many treatment options can be explored to start a person on their road to rehabilitation (Rehab with pain, 2017). Here are just a few options:

The phone number 1800-744-0789 is one place that will put a person in touch with addiction specialists if they have questions about pain management and substance abuse (Rehab with pain, 2017).


Bushak, Lecia. (2015, August 11). The stress of severe pain: 11% of Americans suffer from common pain, NIH states.  Retrieved February 20, 2017, from

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Rehab with pain management. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2017, from

Winston, Tony. (2015, April 24). digital image. Retrieved from

Drug Addiction Treatment/Rehabilitation: Ages 35+

Age plays a big factor in the number of people who get treatment. The older the individual is the more likely they are to not receive help. They may feel ashamed to get help at whatever age, or maybe they can’t afford it. According to the American Addiction Centers only 10.9 percent of individuals who needed treatment for drug addictions actually received it. That number is sufficiently under what it should be.

As previously seen in the blog post before this one, prescription drugs are very common among this age group as in alcohol. There is over 115,000 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups that exist serving more than 2 million people (2017). Here are some statistics from about drug addiction within this age group:

  • 17 percent of people in the United States over 50 years of age have abused prescription medications.
  • 30 percent of adults in this age group have been given some type of prescription medicine.
  • Men and women over the age of 40 should have no more than one daily with a maximum of two drinks on any occasion.

Within the younger part of this group, 35-55, there has been a trend that these individuals will receive help. They will seek treatment, and the success rate is actually high. According to about 10% of this age group claim to be in recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction. However, once these people get older prescription addiction will be the next obstacle to tackle. The younger part of this age group realizes they have an issue and treat it, whereas, the elderly part of this group doesn’t see a problem with all the prescriptions they have or drinking they do. It is normal for them.  About 95% of the elderly people do not receive treatment for their addictions (2017).

For a vast majority of this group there aren’t a lot of choices for programs pertaining to their specific needs. There are a lot of programs out there for rehabilitation/treatment, however, when a person ages those programs that work for the younger age group, 12-34, don’t work anymore. More health problems arise with addiction in this group that need certain medical attention along with treatment and rehabilitation. Below is a video from a news broadcast in New York. It talks about a new program they made for older people to seek help before it is too late.

There should be more of these programs readily available for people. If the stigma with this age group went away, more people would seek help. If these programs, for the elderly especially, were more available prescription addiction could be helped before they are completely dependent on the substance. I know if these programs were available for people in the nursing home; it would make them realize and seek the help they need. Since these aren’t there these elderly people see it as normal and continue to take what they take.


Here is something to remember about addiction:a91933b3ae5fd95c039ee5cf80113537


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