That doesn't mean that it's not a very real problem."People are going to seek help, and there doesn't need to be diagnosable condition for them to get help," Reid says.
Are they actively working a program of recovery (e.g., participating in self-help support meetings, counseling or an aftercare program)?Reid encourages his patients to challenge the thoughts that lead to their risky behavior."If a patient says he has a craving and he can't control it, I confront the 'can't,'" Reid says.It also could be tied to abnormal levels of the brain chemical dopamine or serotonin.Or, problems related to attention, impulse control, or emotional regulation could also be involved.Before diving into a relationship, find out if your prospective partner is actively using drugs or alcohol, or if they display addictive or compulsive patterns in other areas (e.g., gambling, work, sex, food or spending).If you care about someone in active addiction, help them into treatment and hold off on turning a friendship into more until they’re grounded in their recovery."I ask, 'What's going to happen if you don't satisfy that craving? No.' I try to get the patient to see things more realistically." One-on-one counseling, support groups, and having a plan are key."You want to make connections with other people who are also struggling, and you have to know who you are going to call, what you are going to do, and how you are going to attend to your feelings," O'Neill says.In working with the spouses and significant others of addicts, I’ve often heard it said, “I’d rather be an addict than love one.” While few people would ever walk eyes-wide-open into a chronic disease like addiction, the statement speaks to the confusion, loneliness and despair common not only among addicts but also the men and women who love them. In fact, addicts who are solid in their recovery can make excellent partners.A history of addiction doesn’t necessarily turn Mr./Mrs. They’ve waged a courageous battle, spending a great deal of time working to take care of and improve themselves.