What are these conditions?
The terms are not necesarrily interchangeable.
The Family Disease specifically refers to persons who are affected by someone who is an alcoholic or addict-- whether or not that person is in recovery.
The other two terms also include relationships with persons who are not an alcoholic or addict. The person may be completely normal when it comes to drinking alcohol, but they are abusive, have anger issues, are controlling, and are causing a great deal of harm.
Common symptoms of these conditions:
I pulled the above list from https://www.mhanational.org/issues/co-dependency. They go into codependency in great detail. http://coda.org/ and https://www.codependencynomore.com are also very helpful.
If you, or someone you know, is affected by an alcoholic, or a peson who drinks, and it is having a detrimental effect https://al-anon.org/ is an excellent resource.
Each of these organizations uses a different approach. The path to recovery is not a one-size-fits all deal. In general, I suggest that a person give a program at least a 3-6 month consistent trial. One session, or meeting, is usually not enough to make an informed decision.
I also suggest, just as I do to those wanting to recover from an alcohol use disorder, or substance addiction, please seek out some kind of support group. It is often more difficult for persons who are codependent, struggle with relationship addiction, or have “the Family Disease” to do this, because these conditions involve people, not substances.
These persons may feel completely cut-off from others. If you know someone, or are someone, in a position where the abuser controls every, single move-- a more serious intervention must happen before recovery can be addressed. In this case I suggest contacting The National Domestic Violence Hotline
No matter which terminology rings true for you, or possibly someone you know, please understand these conditions are every bit as life-threatening as a practicing alcoholic, or addict.
My posts this week will talk about a few of the MANY ways that Naturopathic Medicine can assist persons in these situations. As licensed doctors, we are well-equipped to help identify effective treatments for the medical toll these conditions take on a person, such as:
As your friendly, neighborhood ND-- I am also happy to be there, if you want to come in, and use a visit with me as an excuse to get a moment away from the harmful relationship. I can’t give you a free visit, but I can give you a space to make a phone call to any of the above organizations
Help is available, no matter your situation. There is hope.
They also have incredibly short half-lives (nicotine 2 hrs, most opioids 2-4 hrs). That means, at first, the user must re-dose every 2-4 hours. Re-dosing that often causes rapid depletion of the neurotransmitters they cause the body to dump. It also forces the body to increase the number of chemical receptor sites they activate. Very quickly, these effects add up to increased “tolerance,” and the user must take in more & more to get the original feeling of pain relief. The body just can’t keep up. Eventually, the relief doesn’t happen anymore, but the person continues to chase the original feeling.
Don’t despair, recovery IS possible!
Naturopathic medicine has some amazing treatments that can help make your recovery easier:
!!! There are some fantastic programs widely available for smoking cessation, and many of them are free! If you’re here in California go to:
If you’re anywhere else, do an internet search for “Free smoking cessation programs.”
As for opioid addiction recovery, I would strongly suggest starting your recovery process by going to a reputable treatment program, if possible. Here is a website with some good info on how to locate help without insurance:
About the Roaming Naturopath
Dr. Lisa is an Naturopathic Doctor in Santa Cruz who focuses on cardiovascular health, addictions medicine, and chronic pain who shares health news and natural medicine tips.