Do you know how addiction affects families? Addiction doesn’t just affect the person who has it. Unfortunately, addiction impacts everyone around that person, especially families.
Marriages and parent-child relationships are often ruined by addiction. Fights and tension are exacerbated, finances are strained, and bonds are broken. But for families affected by addiction, there is hope. The Ranch PA offers family therapy for families shattered by addiction.
How Addiction Affects Families and Loved Ones
Families are unable to escape the consequences of substance abuse by a member of said family. They are there for intoxication, withdrawal sickness, blackouts, and overdoses. Families have to watch their loved one slowly degrade before their eyes, unable to stop them. The ways how addiction affects families include:
- Relationship Strain: Due to the erratic behavior caused by addiction, both familial and romantic relationships often collapse under its weight. Addiction affects brain chemistry and can exacerbate co-occurring disorders, worsening the strain.
- Fights: Addiction and conflict go together like cats and dogs. Fights often break out over the frequency, amount, and timing of drinking and drug use. The stealing, lying, drunk driving, and medical and legal troubles also cause domestic disputes.
- Parental Grief: Seeing a family member come home intoxicated can be emotionally damaging. This is particularly true for parents, whose horror at the addiction is compounded by grief, guilt, and regret.
- Money Troubles: Addiction’s hold on the brain is strong enough to override any other concerns. Many substance abusers steal money from unsuspecting loved ones, or pawn electronics and family heirlooms to get their fix. For those with a more stable income, addiction can still take a dent out of the finances. Money problems are the most powerful social pressure there is, and addiction only makes it worse.
- Failure at Work and School: Addiction and fighting among adults harm children mentally and emotionally. Social withdrawal and a drop in school performance are sure signs of this. Meanwhile, work performance can take nosedive for the addicted person or their spouse.
12-Step Programs and the Family
The 12-step program has chapters of its core guide dedicated to various people connected to the alcoholic or drug use. These chapters include spouses, employers, and children. Addiction affects the entire social ecosystem, radiating outwards from one person to everyone that relies on them.
Families can be your greatest support system, but their very emotional and physical proximity makes them vulnerable.
What You Should Know About How Addiction Affects Families
Addiction can look and act as differently as the people who are struggling with it. What we do know and what we should know is that it takes time to heal. While someone in recovery heals, their friends and loved ones also heal from the wounds inflicted by addiction.
If you or someone in your family is battling an addiction, we can help. The Ranch PA offers addiction treatment programs that can heal both the patient and their family.