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Providing Emotional Support during RecoveryAddiction recovery is one of the most challenging physical and emotional endeavors a person can undertake. The disease corrupts neural pathways in the brain, encouraging drug abuse in a way that is much more powerful than rational thought. Even those who want to quit will likely find it extremely difficult, frustrating or even impossible without help. The emotional support of friends and loved ones is crucial to the recovery process. However, it can be hard for those closest to the addict to provide support.

The Importance of Emotional Support for Recovering Addicts

When an addict stops drinking or using drugs, her body will react harshly. Some of the most common symptoms of physical withdrawal include the following:

  • Tremors
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever, chills and cold sweats
  • Pain in the muscles, bones and joints
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart palpitations
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Emotional support from friends and family can make a real difference for addicts going through the misery of withdrawal. Many recovering addicts will abandon their recovery as their symptoms progress, but knowing that they have people in their corner may help them stay the course. Depending on the length and intensity of the abuse, this withdrawal period can last from a few days to more than a week.

How Addiction Works

While most people believe the physical side of addiction is the most challenging to overcome, this is rarely the case. The real power of addiction is in its psychological power. The intoxication associated with substance abuse directly affects the emotional core of the brain. This is the same area that manages a variety of important psychological functions, including the following:

  • Anxiety and stress management
  • Memory function
  • The ability to resist temptation and to control impulses
  • Forming and reinforcing behaviors and habits

Just as drugs and alcohol temporarily relieve physical pain, they also block symptoms of emotional distress or suffering. Most addicts also suffer from at least one co-occurring psychological health issue of which they may be unaware. Full recovery often requires intense physical and psychological rehab from an accredited, certified, professional environment. It is often friends, family or loved ones who lovingly convince an addict that he needs help.

How to Help a Recovering Addict

The following are examples of you can show support without enabling the disease:

  • Participating in counseling with the addict
  • Verbally and repeatedly assuring the addict that you believe in her and are pulling for her
  • Removing temptations from the home and abstaining along with the addict
  • Learning effective communication techniques in order to avoid triggers
  • Visiting, calling, and writing while the addict is in rehab

Help Supporting Addiction Recovery

If someone you love is beginning his recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, you may have an important role to play. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline any time of day or night and let our specially trained addiction experts answer your questions. They can connect you with resources that will help you learn to support your loved one as he goes through this difficult but important treatment.