Drug or alcohol abuse in a family wreaks havoc on all family members. While the addict may be physically damaging his or her body, the rest of the family feels the emotional effects. Spouses commonly over-function for the addict. Children can learn unhealthy coping patterns. Often the situation at home gets very dysfunctional before the drug abuser seeks out a drug recovery center.
How Addiction can Affect the Wife
Women tend to internalize the stress of having a chemically dependent family member more than the rest of the family. If you are female and have someone with a substance abuse problem in your family, you probably already know this. Just living with someone that has a substance abuse problem increases your risk of depression if you are female. According to Pratima Murthy, chief of the centre for addiction medicine at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore, India, mental health issues are more likely to occur when women become addicted to drugs or live with someone who is addicted. Murthy reports that 40% of females who frequently abuse substances attempt suicide.
When the Addict is a Female
When the addict in the family is female, it is important for your family to address both depression and the substance abuse. Even if the substance abuser is able to stop using an addictive substance, she will not be completely healthy without treatment of mental health issues. Anxiety and depression will likely increase without having drugs or alcohol as a coping strategy. If drug treatment is to be effective, locating a facility that provides a dual diagnosis recovery program is crucial. Family dynamics can change. Families can become healthier with help. When drug recovery centers on the needs of an individual and includes the family, each one of your family members develop new patterns of interacting with one another. Look for help with a loved-one’s addiction and take the first step towards a healthier family. Photo: The Ranch PA