Discover How Drug Addiction Affects Families – Who Pays the Price?
It can be difficult to understand why someone close to you can do hurtful things that you never thought possible. But addiction is a mental disease that can drastically alter behavior and priorities. As a result, families across the country struggle with a member of their family that is addicted to drugs or alcohol. You are not alone in your struggles with an addicted family member as roughly 9.4 percent of the population was involved with past-month use of illicit drugs in 2013, according to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. How drug addiction affects families will be discussed in this article.
Effects on Partners
It can be difficult to see someone you love lose their control to substance abuse. Conflict is rampant in such a relationship as the addict’s behavior changes and often aggressive behavior surfaces. How drug addiction affects families in such a situation is by causing the partner to doubt themselves because they can feel utterly powerless to stop it. Concerns for the children may arise and how you can protect them, or how you will hide the issue from other people.
Partners may try to take on more responsibility to make up for the shortcomings of the addict, but are ultimately fighting a losing battle against a disease.
An Addicted Parent
How drug addiction affects families in a situation where a parent is addicted can be far-reaching. Children are especially vulnerable to negative influences during developmental stages of their youth. The more a child is exposed to drugs and alcohol abuse around the home, the more likely they are to try it themselves.
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A parent who has become addicted to alcohol or drugs can cause strain and stress on the whole family. They may lose their source of income causing other members of the family to have to try and pick up the slack or face major financial difficulties.
The Effects of Adolescent Addiction on the Family
The effects of substance abuse on families with a drug-abusing adolescent can result in the whole family being torn apart. In these situations, parents often fight with each other because they are unable to place blame appropriately. Other ways of how addiction affects family members include the neglect of the other children because the focus is put onto the addict.
Taking on Roles
How drug addiction affects families can be more subtle too. The effects of substance abuse on families can cause each person to take on a role in an effort to help the situation. These rolls are counter-productive and usually cause the person to neglect their person needs over the needs of the family and the addict.
Among the roles commonly adopted include the scapegoat, the family hero, the lost child, the mascot and the caregiver. As an example, the caregiver is the person that means well by trying to cover up the addict’s problematic behavior, helps them with money when asked and generally enables the behavior of the addict.
Family Support Programs
The ways of how addiction affects family members are numerous. Thankfully, there is a way to reverse much of the emotional damage caused with the help of family therapy. These programs allow the family to sit together once the addict is in recovery and work through the issues that each person has. Eventually, the family unit is restored and strengthened. Having a working family support system can be of great help to the addict in the long-term.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.