How Addiction Affects the Entire Family

Impact of Substance Abuse and Addiction on Loved Ones

It is common for addicts not to understand how their addiction is affecting the entire family. They often believe that their addiction is their own problem and that their family couldn’t possibly be affected. The truth is that addiction, whether to drugs or alcohol, is a family disease that takes a toll on all who are involved in the individual’s life.

Many wonder how addiction affects the entire family. Addiction is not a ‘one-way street’. When an individual partakes in compulsive use of drugs or alcohol, their behaviors directly affect their loved ones. The unfortunate thing is that many addicts are in denial about their abuse and how far their addiction has gone that they underplay the severity of it.

Repercussions of Substance Abuse

There is no denying the fact that substance abuse and addiction affect all facets of one’s life. There are countless repercussions of substance abuse, both mental and physical, which can have an ever-lasting effect on one’s life.

  • Loss of a Relationship: Losing a relationship with someone whom you cared about is one of the hardest realities that addicts face. This is because, throughout much of their addiction, this person may have been their ‘rock’ or ‘saving grace’ at the end of the day. Oftentimes, the significant other has had enough of partners alcohol abuse and decides to leave the relationship altogether.
  • Negative Mentality: It’s hard not to get angry and frustrated with a loved one who is abuse drugs or alcohol. This could be because you know that they know better and don’t fully understand the reasoning behind their perpetual abuse. Friends and family may hold anger, negativity, and a ‘loss of hope’ mindset when it comes to their loved one. This may be due to the fact that the addict has lied, stole, and cheated in the past in order to get money for their drugs or alcohol. In turn, resentment builds up.

Another common repercussion of substance abuse is isolation. The individual will become increasingly isolated in an effort to hide their addiction. They begin to lose touch with people in which they once held a close bond or relationship with.

Staging an Intervention

Loved ones of an individual who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction may consider staging an intervention. This will allow the patient to realize how many people care about them and how important it is for them to seek help.

Having all of the individuals loved ones in one space sharing their thoughts and emotions may trigger something in the individual and hopefully persuede them to seek help. An interventionalist will conduct the intervention and provide the necessary support and guidance during this time. Usually, the individual has the option to get immediate help right then and there but only they can make that decision, no one else.

There are various patterns that are consistent among those who struggle with addiction. Some of these are:

  • Constant negativism and complaints in the household
  • Parents denying there is a problem
  • Suppressed anger in the home
  • Self-medication
  • Trying to live up to unrealistic expectations

Getting Help

Drug and alcohol addiction are diseases that divide families and leave individuals feeling isolated and alone. Trust begins to dissipate and feelings of anger and hurt begin to arise. Addiction is an all-encompassing disease that will rob you of everything and leave you with nothing.

By restructuring family life that has underlying issues, a healthier family system that is open about their feelings and struggles can emerge. Battling substance abuse is by no means an easy undertaking but with the help of an addiction treatment program, sobriety is attainable.

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.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.