People often say addiction is a family disease, and it’s true that in many cases, family members suffer just as much as the loved one affected by a substance use disorder. Alcohol and drug abuse impact mental health, and while it’s no excuse for unhealthy behavior, it is a cause. If you’re in despair because addiction has torn your family apart, there is an end in sight.
Addiction treatment and family therapy at rehab can help you to enhance the well-being of the entire family. Call Brookside Treatment today at 606-658-3078 for more information.
Understanding How Addiction Affects Families
One of the most detrimental effects of drug and alcohol abuse is the way it challenges relationships. When our relationships suffer, it has a huge impact on our lives — and addicted people need a support network even more than most. This disruption of close connections can send the sufferer spiraling further down into addiction.
It’s important to point out that this is no one’s fault; blame and guilt only make both parties feel worse and don’t solve anything. The best way to cope with the struggles that occur as a result of addiction is to find a treatment program that offers family therapy. There are also support groups like Al-Anon that help family members understand and cope with substance use disorders in loved ones.
1. Addiction Impacts the Children of Addicts Most
Drug and alcohol addiction have the most profound impact on addicted people’s children. Not only does growing up in a home where drug or alcohol abuse is present make adult children more likely to develop substance abuse problems, but children of alcoholics and drug addicts are also more at risk for mental illness. Extended family members might not notice how serious an issue it is, but early experiences form a child’s understanding of the world.
2. Drug Addiction Increases the Risk of Domestic Violence
Substances like cocaine and alcohol tend to lower people’s inhibitions while also making them more aggressive. This can lead to physical abuse, which is an instant sign that someone needs to attend alcohol or drug rehab as soon as possible. It can also lead to emotional abuse, which can be just as traumatic in the long term.
When someone is addicted, their priority is their substance of choice — and in most cases, they’ll go to practically any means to get it. The disorder also causes denial and dishonesty, which can be confusing and frustrating for the people closest to the sufferer. Such a loss of control isn’t healthy or helpful for anyone, and it could lead to the endangerment of others.
3. Substance Abuse Problems and Financial Problems Go Hand in Hand
Drugs and alcohol aren’t cheap, and to consume them in vast quantities requires a lot of money as well as time. Many people who struggle with addiction either become less productive at work or lose their job, which decreases the amount of money they earn.
However, if they spend less time working, they require more money for the extra time spent using. This can be extremely worrying for a spouse, parent or dependent and could lead to debt, criminal charges or worse.
4. Broken Trust and Altered Family Dynamics
Due to the lies, deceit and manipulation that go hand in hand with substance use disorders, trust is often broken down between the sufferer and their loved ones. Because trust forms an essential part of the foundation for relationships, this can put a tremendous strain on both parties.
Trust isn’t irreparable, though, and with the right counseling, taking care of each other’s well-being and developing new coping mechanisms, you can rebuild and repair the family bonds.
5. Substance Use Leads to Increased Stress
To put it quite simply, substance abuse is stressful for everyone involved. While many addicted people claim to love their lifestyle and feel like they’re having a great time, half of their existence is spent either recovering from or trying to procure substances.
The never-ending cycle of running out and constantly thinking about your next fix isn’t fun for anyone — and many recovering addicts say that they didn’t really enjoy the substance in the end; it just made them feel normal.
For friends and family who don’t use drugs, this anxiety cycle can be extremely frustrating to watch, especially if you haven’t learned about the medical side of the disease. Plus, any financial, health or legal issues that arise as a result of the problem can lead to major stress for a household and extended family members.
In some cases, addicted people end up in a relationship together, and codependency can also occur between siblings or other family members. When it comes to substance use disorders and enmeshment, the two can be incredibly hard to separate. If two people who love and trust each other constantly reassure each other that what they’re doing is fine, a downward spiral can occur very quickly.
When people struggle to be on their own, there’s usually some underlying mental health issue that needs addressing. In most cases, the couple needs to spend at least six weeks apart to overcome the addiction separately and learn healthy coping mechanisms. It’s more difficult for people with an enabler to overcome addiction, but it’s still possible.
Start the Substance Abuse Treatment Process Today
If drug or alcohol use is tearing your entire family apart, it doesn’t have to be that way. Addiction recovery isn’t easy, but it’s 100% possible for everyone. Call Brookside Treatment at 606-658-3078 to start your journey today.