Alcoholism and Addiction: The Family Impact

Alcoholism and Addiction-The Family Impact-1

Table of Contents

An Endeavor To Understand the Negative Impact of Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism on Families

Alcohol use disorder or any other substance use disorder can cast a long shadow. Yes, in addition to affecting the person involved, alcohol addiction can touch the lives of loved ones. The ripple effects of alcoholism can particularly affect those within the family unit.


Living with a person with dependence on alcohol can be both psychologically and emotionally draining. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse suggests that excessive alcohol consumption can affect family dynamics to a great extent. From this post, you can understand the impact of alcohol abuse and alcoholism on families:


The Emotional Toll of Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol Dependence

Living with a person who drinks alcohol a lot creates a constant state of emotional upheaval and uncertainty. In turn, family members often experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Here are a few emotions that people face with alcohol problems in their family:


Fear and Anxiety Due to Alcohol Addiction

It is not possible to predict the behavior of people with binge drinking habits. In turn, there will be an environment of anxiety and fear within the family. When spouses constantly feel concerned about the well-being and safety of their partners with substance abuse, kids may become withdrawn. Constant fear and anxiety can take a toll on their overall health.


Frustration and Anger Over Alcoholism

Witnessing the effects of alcohol and the addictive behavior can contribute to feelings of frustration and anger. Family members might start feeling helpless. They become resentful towards the person drinking too much alcohol.


Shame and Guilt of Not Opting for Treatment for Alcoholism

The stigma that surrounds fetal alcohol spectrum can cause family members to feel guilty and ashamed. Mainly, they feel that they do not know how to make the person stop drinking. They feel that they are not in a position to take the person suffering to treatment. This guilty feeling makes them isolate themselves. They start avoiding social interaction due to the fear of being judged.


Joint Alcohol Dependence

Some family members take steps to support their loved ones with alcohol withdrawal. In this process, they sadly get into co-dependent behaviors. This encompasses giving way to addiction by taking on responsibilities that the person with alcohol misuse should otherwise handle. Also, it encompasses covering up the mistakes of the person involved in excessive alcohol use.

Alcoholism and Addiction-The Family Impact
Effects of Alcohol on Relationships

People using alcohol and other substances can considerably damage their relationships with their families. The Centers for Disease Control identifies that substance use disorder can face relationship issues with the following associations:


Alcohol Affects Relationships Between Partners or Spouses

A person using alcohol and drugs tends to forget the promises he/she has given to the partner or spouse. The reason is that addiction is a chronic condition. With secretive behavior and broken promises, emotional neglect becomes common. In turn, intimacy dwindles, communication suffers, and spouses start feeling emotionally distant and isolated.


People with Alcohol Use Face Troubles With Their Children

Again, the parent-child relationship is affected among people with consumption of alcohol. Often, kids in families with addiction can face unique challenges. They start experiencing emotional abuse and neglect. Otherwise, they might also experience dysfunctional behavior. In turn, their ability to trust, self-esteem, and emotional development can be affected.


Sibling Relationship is Affected Among People with Alcohol Use Disorder

Not only the spouse and kids but also the extended family of the person in alcohol may be affected. Yes, siblings of these individuals might feel resentful and neglected. They start feeling that they are responsible for the irresponsible behavior of their sibling. This can create a sense of unfairness and strain on the relationship.


The Signs of Alcohol Addiction Can Cause Financial Issues in Families

Apart from affecting emotional health and relationships, the signs and symptoms of addiction can cause financial strain in families as well. The reason is that the family will have to handle the cost of supporting the addiction as the amount of alcohol consumed increases day by day. In turn, the costs of excessive alcohol consumption increase. So, with chronic alcohol misuse, there can be a strain on the household budget.


Above all, with alcohol intoxication, the behavior of the person tends to change. In turn, he/she can lose the job. As a result, the loss of income happens. Alcohol poisoning can further exacerbate financial issues, even if it is moderate alcohol consumption. So, heavy alcohol use and its effect on financial stability also causes stress and anxiety among family members.


Effects of Alcohol Addiction on Physical and Mental Health

Apart from causing emotional, relationship, and financial strain, a person addicted to alcohol and his/her family can face mental and physical health problems as well. Here are some details to be aware of in this regard, as alcohol can also affect both mental and physical health:


Increased Risk of Mental Health Problems

In a family with a person consuming alcohol in large quantities, the family members have a greater probability of experiencing anxiety. Also, they are at higher risk of PTSD and depression. So, it is better not to overlook a treatment for alcohol reliance.


Physical Health Problems

The family members are in constant emotional turmoil and stress. So, these things can weaken their immunity. As a result, they are at higher risk of chronic illnesses. They will start moving towards unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance dependence and unhealthy food consumption.


Kids Develop Mental Health Issues Seeing the Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

In a family with someone with an alcohol dependence, the risk of alcohol use disorder will be higher in the kids. When they see a person’s alcohol use despite adverse social knowledge, they are at a higher risk of developing problematic alcohol use later in their lives.


Nowadays, smart recovery is possible irrespective of the symptoms and causes of addiction in a person. In turn, the entire family can be protected from the complications of alcohol use.


Treatment For Alcohol Use

Despite the considerable challenges like withdrawal symptoms, it is important to remember that there is hope for families that experience a pattern of alcohol use. Nowadays, to handle all issues related to alcohol, different resources and support systems are available.


With the help of these resources, it will be easier to handle the symptoms caused by alcohol cessation. With professional help and support, individuals with higher blood alcohol concentration and their families can stop or control alcohol use. In turn, they can gain back control over their lives.


In short, to understand the family impact, individuals should take steps to cooperate for the diagnosis of alcohol reliance. Also, individuals with alcohol should be ready to seek support so that they can stop alcohol overdoses. Alcohol can cause issues not only to the person consuming it, but also alcohol intake can affect his family to a great extent.


The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator will guide you through searching for the best ways to treat alcohol reliance. In addition to in-person options, you can learn about online treatments if you struggle to control alcohol use despite the adverse effects knowledge. Even, you can find telehealth services if you are preoccupied with alcohol. In turn, you can get the best cure for your substance abuse and mental health.

Yes, this can happen due to a relapse. However, Alcohol use disorder relapse is common only among people presently in treatment. Those who have already completed the treatment might experience a relapse during periods of stress. This can happen even when you are exposed to places or people associated with your past drinking.

However, you need not have to lose hope. You can gain control over your alcohol drinking when you seek help from professionals who helped you previously. They know your history. So, they will guide you to reduce alcohol consumption as quickly as possible.

Yes, many abuse and mental health services motivate their patients to create mutual help groups. The reason is that many people having problems with alcohol have found mutual help groups helpful in reinforcing and extending the benefits of the treatment of alcoholism. These groups offer a ready-made social network that supports both recovery and abstinence from the desire associated with alcohol use.

Contributing Editor

Troy Wakelin – Co-Founder and Contributing Editor

Recent Posts
Inspirational Videos
Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign Up For Our Quarterly Newsletter