There are many side effects that can negatively afflict an addict and his family. From the physical health problems to the psychological issues, both the addict and his family often struggle to cope with the many symptoms that accompany the disease of addiction. One of the most common side effects found in most addicts is paranoia.
Paranoia often occurs as a result of anxiety, fear or panic. When an addict experiences paranoia, his anxiety, fear or panic is often a direct reaction to the type of substance that he is abusing. Therefore, the longer the abuse of the substance(s) is continued, the longer the paranoia will last.
For families, watching a loved one struggle with this addiction-induced paranoia can be both scary and frustrating. There are a number of different ways to cope with this troubling side effect without growing angry or fearful. One of the most common ways to deal with an addict’s paranoia is to not feed into it.
This can be incredibly challenging, especially if it has become a point of contention, however feeding into his or her paranoid thoughts will only make them worse. Remain calm and offer up soothing thoughts to help deescalate the episode.
Another thing you can do is refrain from telling an addict that his or her paranoia is stupid. Even though you are aware that it is substance-induced, to them, their fears are very real. While you do not have to accept it, it can be helpful in the moment to be understanding and compassionate, but also firm in that this is just an episode of paranoia.
There are only so many times that you can do things such as speak calmly or show compassion to an addict who is causing disruption in your life as a result of a side effect. Therefore, the best and most effective way that you and your family members can do to cope is to constantly encourage your addicted loved one to get help.
Do some of the leg work by finding facilities that will accept him, and enlist the help of a therapist to teach you the many ways in which you can hopefully get your loved one to accept care.
Living with an addict who is constantly paranoid is challenging, but by staying calm, educating yourself on how and what paranoia truly is, and working towards providing your loved one with professional treatment, you and your family members can cope with this issue in a healthy manner.