The Impact of Addiction on Families

The Impact of Addiction on Families-2

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How do Drug Addiction and Substance Use Disorder Affect Families?

When you get into substance abuse, it indeed affects you a lot. However, it has an equal effect on your family as well. Yes, it can affect your family emotionally, psychologically and financially. This will happen particularly if you are a breadwinner in your family.


The purpose of this post is to help you understand the profound effect of drug use on families. Also, you can understand the importance of addressing these effects here:


Prevalence of Addiction in Society

According to the American Hospital Association, more than 46 million Americans aged 12 or more had an addictive issue in 2021. Out of the 16.5% population, just 6% registered for a treatment program. The study further confirmed that nearly one in every 4 adults had a mental health issue. Among them, adults under 26 years are in the danger group with serious mental health issues and the lowest treatment rate.


This fearsome statistic helps you understand how important it is to address the effect of alcohol use on families.


How does Drug Use Disorder affect families?

Emotional Impact of Substance Use on Families
Communication Breakdown and Strained Relationships


When you become addicted to something, you are opening up the doors for strained relationships within your family. The key reason is that trust gets eroded when you start using opioids too much. Due to your addictive behaviors, communication breakdowns happen.


It becomes challenging for you to engage in open and honest communication. It further intensifies the emotional effect of alcohol use disorder on your family members.


Mental Health Issues and Emotional Distress

When you use drugs or alcohol without taking steps to overcome addiction, you can create emotional distress among your family members. As they get to see you suffer, it is common for them to experience frustration, sadness, and anger.


Seeing you, your family members might also develop mental health issues. For instance, they can get into depression and anxiety. This can happen due to the uncertainty and stress connected with alcohol addiction.


Increased Anxiety Levels and Stress

Addiction is a chronic condition. Your dependence on alcohol and drugs can place a huge burden on your family members. They start to worry about you constantly. Also, they start thinking about financial instability in the family.


Considering all these things, they feel insecure about the future of kids. It can create an atmosphere of chronic stress. In turn, drug and alcohol abuse can affect the whole household.


Financial Instability and Consequences of Drug Addiction
Depletion of Resources and Economic Burden

The effects of addiction include its financial effect on families. For instance, when you are addicted to nicotine, you will be spending a considerable amount of money on buying it. In turn, there will be financial instability.


In some instances, addiction leads to the depletion of resources. When your family becomes financially insecure, you will forget or neglect other essential needs. Examples include education for your kids, food, and housing.


Diminished Income and Loss of Job

The effect of any type of addiction on families extends more than just creating financial strain. It is not common to come across individuals who have lost their jobs after they are addicted to drugs. When job loss happens, you know what follows. Yes, it leads to reduced income and financial instability.


When these things happen, they can further compound your family’s already existing financial stress. So, you understand how important it is to get help to get out of craving for substance or activity.


Financial and Legal Obligations

People with addiction often face legal consequences. Examples include restitution, legal fees, and fines. These obligations can add fire to the boiling oil called financial strain. Again, it affects the future financial stability of your family.


The consequences will worsen if you cannot meet the legal obligation due to insufficient funds.

The Impact of Addiction on Families
Effects of Substance Use Disorder on Children and Adolescents
Neglect and Disrupted Role of Parents

In families with signs of addiction, adolescents and children experience disrupted parental roles. So, they start taking up responsibilities beyond their age. They start supporting their younger siblings and parents. In turn, they start overlooking their own needs. In turn, they start facing emotional distress and developmental challenges.


Neglect and Emotional and Physical Abuse

Be it behavioural addiction or gambling addiction; it can increase the risk of emotional and physical abuse within families. In adolescents and kids, episodes of neglect or aggression induced by addiction may cause lasting traumatic effects.


As a result, there will be an ill effect on their sense of security and overall well-being.


Long-Term Psychological and Emotional Effects

Adolescents and children in families with substance or behavior addiction are at a higher risk of developing psychological and emotional effects. These can encompass difficulty forming healthy relationships, low self-esteem, and a higher chance of engaging in substance abuse themselves.


Breakdown of Support Systems
Stigmatization and Social Isolation

In families with a person with drug use and addiction, there will be stigma and social isolation. Due to discomfort or fear, extended family members and friends keep themselves away. In turn, the family remains without support at this challenging time. The addiction stigma further compounds the emotional distress that families face.


Strained Relationship with Extended Families

As mentioned earlier, when you become addicted to drugs, your relationships with extended families will also be affected. Your drug or activity dependence can shatter the trust of your extended family on you. In turn, there will be a breakdown of communication.


As a result, a strained relationship with your friends and extended families will be strained. In turn, your family members can also not seek support and help from extended families and friends. This will worsen the situation further.


Restricted Access To Resources and Support Services

Addiction affects access to resources and support services as well. Your family will have inadequate financial resources. In addition, overburdened healthcare systems can make it hard to seek treatment and help that your family and you need. This can increase the challenges that your families face further.


In addition to these effects, you are more likely to develop a health condition. Developing an addiction can prevent you from following a healthy lifestyle. As your family loses focus on other things, they may get sick.


Yes, addiction will increase the risk of disrupting family dynamics. It can do it by shifting parental roles, communication breakdowns, and strained relationships.

You can understand that your gambling disorder or other forms of addiction affects your family with some signs. Examples include changes in their behavior, dishonesty or increased secrecy, financial hardships, and withdrawal from social communications.

You can spot that your family is being affected by other indicators. They are legal issues, declining performance at work or school, or physical health issues.

For recovering from addiction, families can seek help and support by reaching out to healthcare professionals, support groups, and local addiction treatment centers. Also, families should create a non-judgmental and open atmosphere to motivate the addicted individual to look for the right treatment plan.

Contributing Editor

Troy Wakelin – Co-Founder and Contributing Editor

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