How Does Addiction Impact Family Members?

The actions of people dealing with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) will have a damaging impact on the user and all of those involved with them. It is especially true with family members. This includes parents, spouses, children, and other close family members. SUD can have short-term as well as the long-term impacts on a family. A happy and loving home can be divided by the stress caused by drug and alcohol abuse. Conflicts become normal. Family members will struggle to find a way to deal with the person suffering from the SUD.

Drugs and Alcohol Side Effects

Family members struggle to watch their loved ones deal with the side effects of drug or alcohol abuse. They may have to endure watching this person go into a blind rage when under the influence. They may also see these people quickly lose weight and soon become unrecognizable. They may not hear from a loved one for an extended period of time. When they do hear from them, they may discover they are living on the street or have experienced a fatal overdose. These are the types of shocks that can result in relatives experiencing severe trauma. They could be forced to develop coping mechanisms that are unhealthy such as codependent behavior and more.

Negative Impact

When a member of a family is an addict, the entire family can be negatively impacted in several ways.

  • Causing family greed
  • Strained family relationships
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Creating financial hardships
  • Exposing family members to various drugs
  • Reckless behavior around the family
  • Stealing family finances to support an addiction

Young Children

Recent research has shown that 1 in 5 children are being raised in a home where one or both parents abuse alcohol, drugs, or both. A child who witnesses their parents dealing with an addiction will experience long-term impact from it. These children are more likely to develop SUDs when they are adults. They are three times more likely to be physically or sexually abused as well as neglected. Children who watch their parents using drugs or alcohol experience distressing emotions that can cause delays in development and learning. It can also result in them having prolonged emotional as well as mental disorders. This is because children are in the process of developing their personalities. They are very vulnerable to external influences. There is a risk of them repeating the behaviors they witnessed.

Extended Family

It is common for the effects of substance abuse to go far beyond the nuclear family. Extended members of a family may experience feelings of guilt, abandonment, embarrassment, anxiety, concern, fear, anger, and more. They may decide to ignore the person who is an addict or even cut ties with them. Intergenerational effects of an addict’s behavior can have a negative effect on trust, role modeling as well as an understanding of normal behavior. This is something that can harm the relationships between generations within a family.

A Family Disease

Addiction is a family disease that has the potential to stress a family to the point of breaking. It will impact family unity, home stability, finances, physical as well as mental health. The overall family dynamics will be altered. Living daily with an addicted family member can put everyone in the family under extreme stress. If there is no attempt to change the situation, it can destroy family life.

Elements Of Family Life

The emotional and psychological issues created by having a family member addicted to drugs or alcohol can create some unhealthy elements in family life.

  • Extreme Negativity
  • Reversed Roles (Children being the caretaker of their parents)
  • Self-medication
  • Disjointed relationships and conversations
  • Intense fear or anger
  • Inappropriate dependency
  • Denial by both children and parent
  • Verbal and emotional abuse

Maintain Hope

A family needs to realize they are not in a hopeless situation. This is a time for them to work on developing the right coping skills. There are interpersonal tools and supportive strategies they can utilize to deal with an addicted family member. One of the first things is to determine if an addicted family member is the main cause of discourse in a family. Once this is done, a family can move on to dealing with their situation in the best way possible.

Re-Establishing Family Connections

SUDs will take a toll on family members. It is also a struggle for individuals dealing with an addiction. People in this situation need to know there is help available. Those who provide treatment can answer the many questions family members have. When an addict goes through rehabilitation, they and their family can get counseling designed to help them develop a new and better relationship.

Are you ready to take that first step? It is easy. Just call us today at 123-456-7890. We can help you at any time of the day or night. Just call us at 614-705-0611.