Family 411: Preventing addiction caregiver burnout

Addiction can cause caregiver burnout (WKRC)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - Addiction can cause what's known as "caregiver burnout" for those who try to help but it's important for them to detach with love and live for themselves.

Lynn Cassady reads with heartache her oldest son's writings from high school. "He could have been anything he wanted to be."

Dreams of becoming a teacher were dashed as her son's life unraveled in the grips of crack, meth and heroin. He nearly died three years ago after an overdose. "A neighbor found him and when they found him he was blue."

Lynn says her son's addiction also sabotaged her life. "I was sinking in a pit myself."

Drug and alcohol counselor Bob Bailor says loved ones running to an addict's rescue and neglecting themselves experience caregiver burnout. "They end up often emotionally exhausted and with a attitude that they can't take it anymore and they wish it would all end."

Bailor says families should understand what addiction is. "Addicts really wish their family members would not say to them is 'just stop' because they can't."

Don't give up but don't give in either. "Pull back from becoming involved in the disfunction."

Lynn's life was consumed by fear, anxiety, and panic. When her son wasn't ready to make a change, Lynn let go. "I had to learn to detach with love."

Three years passed with only communication through text messages. "i couldn't be a part of the addiction."

Her saving grace was her faith and support from parents who've walked in her shoes. "That's what has given me the strength and brought me I'll say back to life."

Lynn and her son now talk one to two times a week. Only time may heal the damage. "I still have a long way to go."

Lynn says parents of addicts should not feel shame. She recommends reaching out for help for yourself and don't become silent.

Her son is now working on a program to stay sober.

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