Are You Looking After Someone who has a Drug, Alcohol or Gambling Problem?

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1 Are You Looking After Someone who has a Drug, Alcohol or Gambling Problem? East Dunbartonshire Community Addiction Team L.I.S.A

2 WELCOME This leaflet is for anyone who cares for someone who is dependent on drugs, gambling or alcohol, or who has any other substance dependency or addiction. You may not think of yourself as a 'Carer', particularly if the person affected is a close family member or friend, but the term 'Carer' applies to anyone who looks after someone who cannot manage without additional support - whether physical or emotional, or both - due to disability, frailty, illness or addiction. You may have become a Carer very recently, or you may already have been caring for many years. It is very common to need extra support when you are caring for someone with a dependency, and whatever your circumstances there are several different sources of confidential help, information and support available.

3 QUOTES... All these people were trying to help her, but she didn't want to be helped. After input from services and Carers Link, things are actually a bit better Drugs and alcohol still carry stigma. I feel isolated and am not welcomed into a lot of circles Tensions within the family are tangible. Often I have to choose: my drug addicted daughter or her siblings. This is very distressing and I feel pulled in all directions When he stopped drinking, it was great, but I'm still having to support him and be there for him. It's a relief to know that somebody is still there for me

4 INTRODUCTIONS Knowing how to help and support someone with a dependency is complicated and can be frustrating, which is why there are specialised agencies to support you and the person you are caring for. Carers Link East Dunbartonshire is the local Carer organisation, providing information, advocacy and one-to-one support, as well as a range of Carer information sessions and informal groups East Dunbartonshire Community Addiction Team can provide help and information about treatment options, support opportunities and general addiction issues L.I.S.A at Lennoxtown offer family support, education awareness and preventative youth work. They also host a weekly treatment clinic The Addiction Recovery Centre (ARC) supports people with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions into recovery, and offers support to all family members (including children and teenagers) affected by the same addictions. The support offered is based on the Twelve Step principles, which are fundamental to the operation of the Addiction Recovery Centre, as is anonymity

5 UNDERSTANDING ADDICTION OR DEPENDENCY Another word for addiction is 'dependence'. There are two kinds of dependence: Psychological dependence occurs when a person feels they need a particular substance or activity to function or to feel comfortable. Some people come to feel that they need this to be able to cope with daily life. Physical dependence occurs when a person's body has adapted to the presence of an artificial or natural 'high'. Tolerance has developed, which means that the person needs to use more to get the same effect. When use stops, symptoms of withdrawal occur. East Dunbartonshire Community Addiction Team (EDCAT) can help you to understand some of the issues that lead a person to dependency and will also discuss the treatments and strategies used to aid someone to break with their dependency and achieve recovery. Tel: Tel: (10am - 10pm) National Alcohol Helpline (Drinkline) Tel: Glasgow Council on Alcohol (offer counselling for those who care for someone who has problems with alcohol) Tel: Tel: Gamblers Anonymous Scotland Tel:

6 EFFECTS ON FAMILY AND FRIENDS When someone in your family is gambling to excess or misusing drugs or alcohol, then the effect on all family members can be significant. The associated stigma is one of the meanest and most difficult aspects of addiction problems because it can make it harder for the individual and family to deal with their problems and to get the help they need. Even within families this type of behaviour is often kept hidden, in an attempt to try to protect others from what's happening. Friends are sometimes excluded or kept at a distance, which can lead to real feelings of isolation for the Carer. Children of a parent with a dependency may be affected in many ways, especially emotionally, but be less willing to seek help with their caring responsibilities due to associated stigma. Grandparents are often an enormous source of support for families affected by dependency, many without adequate support. Your physical and mental health may be affected, and feelings of depression and isolation are common. Grandparents who are formally recognised by the courts as the primary Carers for their grandchildren are known as kinship Carers and have new rights to support. Remember that Carers Link staff are here to listen and help, and we can provide information about your rights Helpline

7 GETTING SUPPORT Not everyone with a dependency is willing to accept help. Often people see no need and will not accept that their behaviour is causing problems both for themselves and for others. If the person wants help Encourage them to take responsibility by getting them to call a local service. The Community Addiction Team will offer an assessment of need within 10 working days and will develop a treatment plan with the person. Local access to the service is available in Milngavie, Twechar and Lennoxtown. As long as the person consents, the care plan can be discussed with you as a Carer. If the person doesn't want help If the person you care for doesn't want help, it may be better to leave leaflets and information for them to reconsider this at a later date. Getting help and facing up to an addiction can be very stressful and frightening - all you can do is encourage. Simply because someone does not want help now does not necessarily mean that they will not want help in the future. However, you may want to consider how to reduce the impact of the person's drug/alcohol use or gambling on those around them and seek help yourself as a Carer from Carers Link, ARC or L.I.S.A. Other Useful Contacts: East Dunbartonshire Homelessness Team Telephone: Financial Advice: Citizens Advice Bureau Telephone:

8 CONFIDENTIALITY AND CARERS Although the Community Addiction Team can discuss general information about treatments, they may not be able to discuss treatment for an individual. Everyone has the right to receive a confidential service from local authority, health and voluntary services, and someone's private information can only be divulged if that person agrees to it being shared with others such as family members and Carers. However, the person you are caring for can nominate you (or another Carer, family member or friend) to share information and treatment decisions with. This can help you understand what the person you are caring for is going through, and may make it easier for you to assist them. As a Carer you have the right to be able to access information to help you in your caring role, but without permission such information may often be very generalised. However, support specific to your caring situation is available from Carers Link, ARC and L.I.S.A.

9 THE CARER ASSESSMENT By law, anyone who 'regularly provides a substantial amount of care' is entitled to an assessment of their needs as a Carer. The aim is to find out what help you need with caring, and to help maintain your own health and wellbeing. An assessment provides an opportunity to think about yourself and what you need. It gives you the chance to talk in private to someone who knows about your situation. The discussion will also look at whether you are eligible to receive services and how your needs can best be met. Before your meeting it is a good idea to write down some of the things you want to say, just in case you forget something that may be important to you. The ups and downs of caring for someone with an addiction can make the idea of a Carer Assessment seem difficult and daunting, however Carers Link staff can help you to prepare for your Assessment.

10 LOOKING AFTER YOU Try to come to terms with the fact that you cannot control or take responsibility for another person's actions Be aware of the impact of caring on your emotional health Be aware of your personal safety and that of others affected Keep your GP aware of your caring role and how it affects you Establish boundaries and stick to them Plan for the future Take time away from your caring role when you can Find people that you can talk to about your feelings and with whom you can share your concerns, whether this be another individual or in a support group Try to talk through issues and feelings with the person you are caring for, and with the rest of your family for mutual support and understanding

11 COMMON FEELINGS There is no such thing as a typical addict - the disease of addiction is indiscriminate affecting people from all walks of life regardless of age, race, religion or class FEELINGS OF GUILT Many family members, especially parents, ask themselves whether something they have said or done has contributed to their loved one's drug, alcohol or other dependency. Remember, however, that everyone is responsible for the choices they make and for their behaviour, including gambling and drug or alcohol use. WORRY ABOUT STIGMA Caring for someone with a dependency can be particularly isolating. Concern about what people may think or say can make it harder for the individual and family to feel able to come forward for help. Confidential support is available from the organisations in this leaflet, and support groups are available giving the chance to meet and chat with others in a similar situation. FEELINGS OF DESPERATION It is very common for Carers to feel overwhelmed by their caring situation, and to fear what the future holds. Seeing the person you care for behaving differently due to their dependency can be extremely frightening. You may benefit very much from talking with someone outwith your family who will listen without judging, and Carers Link support workers are here to listen if you would like to talk through how you are feeling.

12 CARERS LINK Telephone: Freephone: Website: Office: Carers Link East Dunbartonshire, Enterprise Centre, Ellangowan Road, Milngavie G62 8PH ADDICTION RECOVERY CENTRE (ARC) Telephone: Website: LENNOXTOWN INFORMATION SUPPORT & ADVICE (L.I.S.A) Telephone: Address: 16 Main Street, Lennoxtown, G66 7HA EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE COMMUNITY ADDICTION TEAM (E.D.C.A.T.) Telephone: East Dunbartonshire Council Carers Link is recognised as a Scottish Charity Number SC and is registered in Scotland as a Company Limited by Guarantee Number

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