HEALTH

Setting boundaries on a friend or family member’s addiction

Nov 17, 2022, 3:04 PM | Updated: 3:05 pm
A Utah psychiatry expert joined KSL NewsRadio's Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how friends and famil...
After the death of a prominent band member this week, a Utah psychiatrist answers questions about how a family can set boundaries when it comes to a loved one's addiction (Canva)
(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — How do you set boundaries on a friend’s or a loved one’s addiction? The question comes after the death of a once-prominent singer at the age of 34.

A member of the Backstreet Boys died young

TMZ broke the story that singer Aaron Carter was found dead in a bathtub on Nov. 5 at his Lancaster, California home.  Law enforcement officers said they discovered canisters of compressed air scattered about the area. 

By Thursday afternoon, an official cause of death was categorized as deferred, meaning more tests are needed to determine what exactly killed him.

According to TMZ, “Aaron had tons of legal and substance abuse issues over the years … infamously going on ‘The Doctors’ a couple of years ago and talking about all the pills he was taking. He also went to rehab numerous times.”

Nick Carter, Backstreet Boys frontman, is Aaron’s brother. He told fans his heart was “broken” over the loss.

“Even though my brother and I have had a complicated relationship, my love for him has never ever faded,” Nick wrote in an Instagram tribute as reported by Entertainment Tonight.

A Utah doctor weighs in on addiction and setting boundaries

Dr. Elizabeth Howell, professor of Psychiatry at Huntsman Mental Health Institute, joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss setting boundaries with a friend or loved one’s addiction.

Nick Carter … said he had to cut off his relationship with this baby brother due to his addiction, and that forming boundaries was a really difficult choice to make, and something that’s hard for people on the outside to understand,” Debbie began.

“This has got to be one of the most difficult parts of the addiction process. When you have somebody you love, whether it’s a mom, a dad, brother, sister, whoever it might be … what role should you play,” Dave asked.

“What role can you play because you want to be there as a support, to be able to anchor them in some way. But at the same time, you can’t drown right along with them.”

Think twice about addiction boundaries that include “tough love”

Howell began by asking people to think twice about the concept of “tough love” when thinking about addiction and boundaries.

“I don’t think there’s any one right answer for every family, but I think we’ve gotten away from the whole idea of just tough love [in other words], you cut them off and let them go experience consequences,” Howell said.

Families can find a compromise between cutting off an addicted loved one, and continuing to enable the addiction.

“You want to look into the middle ground where you’re still caring or still available. But (where) you are taking care of yourself. You are protecting yourself. And sometimes it does get to the point where you have to completely cut somebody off,” Howell said. “So that might have been the most appropriate thing to happen for the Carter family.”

Suggestions for Utahns dealing with addiction in their families

Because most relatives want to help their addicted loved one, she recommended a program called Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness, or USARA.

“(Research has shown it to be) a very effective way for family members to deal with their loved one’s addiction. Both to protect themselves and to keep their sanity and their boundaries. But also a more effective way to help their loved one get into treatment or get into recovery,” Howell said.

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

Related reading:

Today’s Top Stories

Health

Shortages of antivirals and antibiotics compound the stress of this year's early and severe respira...
Brenda Goodman and Raenu Charles, CNN

Shortages of antivirals, antibiotics compound stress of a rough season for viral illnesses in kids

Shortages of key medications used to treat common childhood illnesses like flu, ear infections, and sore throats are adding to the misery of this year's early and severe respiratory virus season.
4 days ago
Officials at Weber State University are considering a change to the student health services current...
Alexandrea Bonilla

Weber State University considers outsourcing student health care

Right now, the health center at Weber State provides low-cost care to students and does not require any form of insurance.
5 days ago
carbon monoxide poisoning...
Ali Litzinger

Carbon monoxide poisoning on the rise in winter months

SALT LAKE CITY — Winter is approaching and officials want people to know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Last year, nearly 200 Utahns were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.  The flame in a gas appliance should generally be blue, with some orange. If the flame is mostly yellow, it’s giving off excess carbon monoxide.  […]
5 days ago
BYU...
Mark Jackson

BYU wellness students return from Blue zone with healthy lifestyle tips

Some BYU students are learning how to live healthy and happier lives from a trip to Ikaria, Greece.
5 days ago
mental health rural...
Devin Oldroyd

Salt Lake Co. Council voting to fund temporary mental health receiving center

Salt Lake County Council will vote Tuesday morning on Funding for a temporary mental health receiving center at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute.
6 days ago
Driven to Assist Season of Service by Larry H Miller....
Elizabeth Weiler and Waverly Golden

Companies around Utah offer free Thanksgiving meals and more

The Miller Foundation, Crossroads Urban Center, and Ken Garff are all offering Thanksgiving meals and other services for Thanksgiving.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Setting boundaries on a friend or family member’s addiction