Substance addiction doesn’t just affect the abuser. Instead, it hurts everyone who cares about them. If someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’re also likely suffering the consequences. It’s critical that family members understand addiction, its impact on loved ones, and how to cope with addictions effects on family. Understanding your own feelings and needs is an important part of the healing process.
When someone suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction, they are unable to stop using even when it causes problems. While they may understand the damage they are doing to themselves and those around them, they still feel the need to continue their behavior. Many will even insist they don’t have a problem as denial is a hallmark of drug abuse and alcoholism.
Research indicates that addiction is a cumulative disease with biological components and many other contributing variables. A host of physiological, cultural, and personal factors may contribute to an individual’s substance dependence. As the user remains pre-occupied with using, they become increasingly physically and mentally dependent on the substance. Over time, they develop a tolerance that requires more of a substance to even function at a normal level. Stopping the behavior results in withdrawal symptoms that are difficult to withstand. In fact, many people resort back to using in order to gain relief. This compulsion results in behavior that can adversely and greatly affect those around them.
Addictions Effects on the Family
When a family member has a drug or alcohol addiction, it can affect the entire family. There are both acute and chronic problems that often stem from a family member’s drug or alcohol addiction. Some damage is easy to see and measure. For example, there may be clear and immediate damage, including:
- Conflicts over money spent on drugs or alcohol
- Episodes of erratic behavior
- Physical or emotional domestic violence
- Drug or alcohol-related health problems
Additionally, families often fall into patterns of co-dependency and enable the substance abuser’s habit out of love or desperation to prevent further harm. Relationships are eroded through feelings of jealousy, resentment, anger, and fear as other needs are ignored due to the chaos caused by the substance abuser. These problems can all cause a breakdown of the family structure and cause severe emotional damage to loved ones. Families may also see generational patterns of substance abuse as others are influenced by the behavior or seek out drugs or alcohol in order to cope with these problems.
Coping with a Loved One’s Addiction
Just as the substance abuser requires treatment, affected loved ones require support to overcome the possible effects of caring about someone with a substance addiction. Even if the substance abuser receives treatment or is no longer a part of the picture, the addictions effects on the family remain. Therefore, it’s now recognized that the entire family likely requires help to heal from the trauma of substance abuse and learn new patterns of healthy behavior.
Family therapy and education can help families weather the effects of addiction and the challenges of moving forward through recovery. Learning to cope with a loved one’s addiction can help families break free of unhealthy behavior like co-dependency and discover how to take care of their own emotional health by recognizing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional issues that have gone untreated due to the overwhelming nature of the substance abuser’s problems. Seeking addiction treatment services for the whole family can help prevent the likelihood of others turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms as family members learn how to voice their own needs and maintain healthy boundaries.
Morningside Recovery Helps the Whole Family Heal
Addictions effects on the family can be far-reaching. Fortunately, there’s hope to re-establish your household. Morningside Recovery rehab programs help everyone involved begin to heal. In addition to family therapy, we offer:
- Couples counseling and treatment
- Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
- Career counseling and vocational program
- 12 step recovery program
Stop letting addictions effects on the family tear your household apart. Call Morningside Recovery today at 855-631-2135.