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How Does Addiction Take A Toll On The Family?


Addictions compromise the health and well-being of the entire family, creating scores of emotional, financial, and legal challenges. It's hard to see a loved one fall into the clutches of mind-altering substances and watch them destroy their lives. Family members and loved ones go to great lengths to curb the addiction and help addicts recover.

It's natural for families to shift their attention and efforts towards the family member struggling with a substance use addiction. Family members dedicate their time, efforts, and resources to helping the addict overcome their drug dependence.

These unhealthy family dynamics set the stage for depression, stress, emotional distress, and anxiety disorders. Keep reading to learn more about how addictions impact the family.

Overwhelming Emotional Trauma

Mind-altering substances like opioids and heroin transform our personalities, altering how we think and interact with people. It's not easy to watch a parent, spouse, or sibling transform into a stranger focused solely on satisfying their addictions. Family members feel perplexed to see a loving and compassionate individual transform into a selfish and unempathetic individual.

It's hard to focus on the effects of emotional trauma, betrayal, and lies. It's natural for addicts to lie and take money from family members to support their addiction. These lies fracture our relationships by weakening and eventually breaking the bond of trust that we hold sacred.

In many cases, a family member's addiction can cause the parent or spouse to self-medicate or find relief in alcohol. Most rehabilitation facilities emphasize the need to reconnect with family in their 12-step programs to rebuild trust and make amends. For instance, family therapy is a prominent part of the treatment administered at Serenity at Summit, a world-class rehabilitation facility.

Addiction specialists believe that reconnecting with family and making amends is crucial to recovering from drug dependence. The family acts as an anchor of support, grounding the addict with mindful energy pulling them towards normalcy and life quality. But when addicts lose their anchor of support, they spiral into the deepest pits of social isolation and drug dependence.

Family therapy constitutes an integral part of the treatment, and it helps families communicate without the fear of confrontation. Therapists encourage family members to resolve emotional trauma by sharing their adverse experiences and discussing how the addiction affected their lives.

Strained Relationships

We hear horrid tales of ruined weddings, disastrous holiday dinners, and embarrassing public outbursts caused by family members with substance issues. But it's hard to imagine the stress and trauma family members experience unless you've seen a loved one struggle with addictions.

Substance use and addictions create an overwhelming strain on our relationships, forcing us to protect our well-being by disconnecting.  

Relationships become tenuous and strained over time, and addicts don't rush to make amends when under the influence of illicit substances. Their refusal to take responsibility for their actions and apologize for the harm they've caused is infuriating and hurtful. With time, family members adjust to their new lifestyle and give up on their chances of recovery.

Giving up is the only mindful choice when your mental well-being and financial health are at risk.

Changing Family Dynamics

Addictions expose families to harsh realities, forcing young children and adolescents to grow up and mature much faster. These children grow up much faster as they are forced to assume the role of parents and look after themselves. Children struggling with parental substance abuse are often denied a normal and healthy childhood.

Many children, parents, spouses, and family members venture deep into denial to continue seeing their loved one in a positive light. Parents struggle with overwhelming trauma and go to great lengths to help their adult children overcome addictions. Family dynamics shift dramatically, forcing family members to focus solely on the needs of the addict. This dependency creates rifts within the family, and members who support the addicted loved one often unknowingly enable the addiction.

Experts observe that most children who've struggled with parental substance abuse encounter trust issues while forming relationships as adults. Abnormal shifts within the family dynamics force children to act like adults and leave adults feeling confused as children. These shifts set the stage for lasting trauma, emotional distress, and numerous trust issues imprinted on our psyche.

Final Thoughts

Addictions create an overwhelming strain on the family's financial resources, often engulfing them with legal challenges. It's common for family members to take out hefty loans to finance rehabilitation treatments for loved ones who don't want to recover. It's also common for addicts to steal valuables and money from family members, leaving them in great turmoil.

People hooked on substances don't care if the children had breakfast before school. They don't care that the money they stole from their elderly parents was reserved for their life-saving medications. They don't show a glimmer of empathy or compassion while under the influence of mind-altering substances. And this lack of empathy pushes family members away, forcing them to give up and focus on recouping their well-being.


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