Addiction not only alters the lives of individuals but also families. It brings relationships to ruin. An addict’s struggle and their actions’ repercussions go far beyond them. Drug addicts not only put their life in jeopardy but everyone who falls in their close circle. Their substance abuse severely impacts their loved ones, whether it’s spouse, child, or parents.
Millions of families are affected due to alcohol and drug addiction causing strained relationships, financial constraints, and the likelihood of abuse. Due to the unique dynamics of every family, not all families experience the same magnitude of destruction. No matter how you slice it, addiction has a profound effect on family relationships.
It may not be evident initially then but gradually it impacts every aspect of the addict’s life. Here’s how drug addiction affects family members-
Risk to addiction
When an adult family member is an addict, it inflicts the greatest harm on children. According to a study conducted by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, among children raised by alcoholics, the likelihood of succumbing to addiction was four times higher than that of their peers.
When young children become teens, they may choose to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs to cope with stress at home. Adaptability makes children very resilient to trauma, so the repercussions may not become apparent until they grow older.
Addiction takes charge of one’s life. Drug abuse may have obvious direct costs, but there are also indirect consequences. It is common among substance abusers to have difficulty in performing basic tasks.
When the addict’s mind is filled with their next fix, they may not be able to focus on tasks like going to work or paying their bills. Substance users are often unable to hold down jobs, so if they are parents or caregivers, they will contribute less income to their household. It means fewer funds are available to purchase household necessities. This may make paying for rent, food, and utilities more difficult. Frequently, they buy drugs/alcohol by stealing money or pawning off valuables.
It is not uncommon for a person who is addicted to substances to become estranged from his or her friends and family and to cease to care about things that used to interest them. A withdrawal from a best friend, partner, or spouse can be painful since the loss comes rather suddenly.
It can be challenging to live with a partner who is addicted to drugs. Sometimes it leads to aggressive arguments, verbal abuse, and even violence. A child raised in such a household can be confused between their intoxicated parents and the sober, stable version of their parents.
Too Much Negativity
It is common for people living with an addiction to create a toxic environment at home with condescending remarks or complaints. Watching this may lead to children adopting this type of behavior.
They learn that only emotional turmoil can gain their attention, and this isn’t healthy. Families and friends of individuals struggling with substance abuse or addiction may encounter a number of negative attitudes and emotions.
Their self-worth may be damaged and their sense of self-love may get eroded. If a spouse loses hope or feels disappointed, it’s likely because common endeavors or goals crumble and the addiction grows more powerful than the relationship or family needs. Adolescents or kids in such households often face a great deal of fear and anxiety, and, as a result, suffer greatly.
Addicts tend to be secretive. Secrecy increases the likelihood of lying and deception, giving birth to truth issues. Addicts’ closest family and friends are unaware of their activities, causing them to live in a constant state of anxiety and fear.
People in their close circle may feel disrespected because of the perceived lack of respect, honesty, and loyalty. Having a sense of trust within any relationship is crucial.
Addicts are often dishonest, evasive, and secretive about their habits, and this often breeds mistrust in their loved ones. In the absence of necessary balance, problems such as jealousy, anger, fear, and resentment can arise that can damage the relationship.
Parents can wonder whether they provided the best parenting when their children are secretive and engage in substance abuse.
There are no limits when it comes to drug/alcohol addiction. Often, it leaves a permanent scar. Seek professional help if your loved one is into substance abuse.