It’s said that addiction is a family disease, or at least that’s what the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence thinks. That’s because addiction affects the entire family system as substance abuse extends beyond the individual.
But how does drug abuse affect families? Let’s dive into it and find out.
The Effects of Drug Abuse on Families
Addicts might not be aware of the damage they cause to those around them. In fact, more times than not an addict might believe they are only hurting themselves.
But they often fail to see the wreckage they leave along the way and the pains and traumas they cause their loved ones.
But addiction-induced family damage is real and it can manifest itself in many different forms including; emotional, financial, or even physical.
How Does Drug Abuse Affect Families
One of the most common ways families of addicts are affected by their addiction is by causing emotional damage.
This type of trauma can come in many forms; a cheated spouse, a neglected child, or a powerless parent.
The constant worry, challenges, and stress of dealing with a loved one’s addiction can oftentimes cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
This might cause families to suffer from a range of negative emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, and helplessness. It could also help induce generational trauma that could manifest in substance abuse patterns for addicted children.
Feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment are also common occurrences in the family circle when one of the members is suffering from addiction.
Addiction can also lead to a loss of trust in the family nucleus which can lead to divorces, irreparable lies, and difficulties when seeking recovery.
Sadly, emotional damage is not the only way a family member can be affected by addiction. Unfortunately, physical damage is also a way in which addiction affects families.
On one end, the financial strain that addiction causes in the family can end up being a burden when a dependent is suffering from health problems. In the worst of cases, addicts can also turn violent and physically abuse others in the household.
There can also be instances where the addict’s behaviors could get them involved in dangerous situations placing their families at physical risk.
For example, by driving drunk and getting into an accident. The backlash of criminal or conflictive situations outside the household can also affect the families in instances where there could be some form of retaliation.
Finances are without doubt one of the areas that get most affected by addiction. Not only are vices expensive habits to keep up with but also the costs that come along with it.
It may be difficult for families to pay their bills, save for the future, or make ends meet. It is also possible that they will have to deal with the financial consequences of their loved one’s addiction.
Some of the ways substance financially impacts the family of an addict include:
- Cost of addiction treatment
- Medical bills
- Legal fees
- Lost wages
- Excessive expenditure on leisure activities
- Bad debts
- And the obvious cost of drugs and alcohol
Finally, substance abuse can severely affect a family’s social relationships and the relationships within the family itself.
Often, family members feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss their loved one’s addiction with others, resulting in social isolation. Additionally, addiction can make it difficult for them to maintain friendships or relationships outside of the family. Friendships and school may be difficult for children because they may feel embarrassed to invite friends over or open up about their family situation.
Family therapy refers to a collection of therapeutic approaches that involve the whole family.
This form of therapy is based on the idea that a family is an interconnected system, so when someone in the family is affected by addiction, everyone is affected as well. As a result of these unhealthy relationships, chaos is created in the family, affecting everyone.
Essentially, family therapy helps the whole family heal from trauma, not only healing the patient but also teaching the family how to cope with addiction.
A safe and loving environment helps heal wounds from the past and most importantly, keeps the addict sober.
Get Your Family Help
Now that you know how drug abuse affects families you might be wondering what you can do to get help for your loved ones.
If addiction is in your family and it’s causing challenges in the household then you must seek out professional help now. It’s vital to take advantage of the benefits of family therapy for addiction if you want your family to recover.
At Veritas Detox we will arm you with the tools to overcome addiction in the real world, including therapy for the patient and his or her family.
Contact us today and find out how we can help!