Supporting Your Loved One Through Recovery

Happy African American couple outsideThe addiction or substance abuse recovery process is very challenging for the person going through it, and the family members or loved ones involved in this stressful period. Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director of Be Well Medical Group, and Lydia Brown, MS, CSAC, CADC talks about what you can do as a family unit to support your loved one in their time of recovery.

BlackDoctor.org: What are your loved one’s mental and physical challenges post recovery?

Dr. Ashe: Surviving addiction can be very challenging. Often times, drugs and alcohol destroy careers, finances and family and those who are in recovery find themselves starting over.

  • Mental challenges include: depression, regret, difficulty concentrating on tasks can make returning to work challenging, devising new coping strategies.
  • Physical challenges include: chronic pain, chronic gastrointestinal systems like vomiting and constipation.

Brown: This depends on the drug of choice, how long the person was using, and how much was being used.  A person is not considered in recovery until at least a year of abstinence. Depending on the drug used there is a post acute withdrawal period, which is short-term.

Things to look for:

  • Depression
  • Malnutrition
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Isolating
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Mood Swings
  • The desire to contact negative peers (people/places and things)

Over time these areas improve on their own. Those who do not experience improvement may have co-occurring disorders that will require psychiatric and medical treatment along with addressing the alcohol and/or substance abuse.