7 Effects of Drug Addiction On Family Members

Drug addiction is something that affects not only the addicted individual but their family/friends as well. There are serious effects of drug addiction on family members. It is not easy seeing a loved one change for the worse and become someone they are not. Drug addiction affects several different aspects of a person’s life, one of which is ruined relationships with loved ones. 

A part of drug addiction treatment is repairing these relationships and building a stronger bond with loved ones. In order to achieve sobriety, it’s crucial to have the support of loved ones and friends along the way. Many people tend to focus on the physical effects of drug addiction and not the impact of substance abuse on families. At the end of the day, drug addiction can end up causing much more than physical damage to a person’s body. 

How Connection Between Drug Addiction and A Person’s Family

effects of drug addiction on family members

Coping with a loved one who is struggling with drug addiction is not only stressful but can also be emotionally painful. Intense emotions may run high which can end up causing conflict and struggle between the family and the person who’s addicted. In some cases, the family understands that the addict is not trying to hurt them intentionally. This may lead to a more empathetic and supportive approach. 

However, in some cases, there may be more toxic features such as manipulation and deceit between the addict and their family. This is one of the many effects of drug addiction on family members and loved ones. Over time, this behavior can sever ties and create an impact on the family relationship. In turn, a person may continue using drugs because of this. 

1. Trust Can be Lost

Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship, especially between those closest to a person. Drug addiction can end up getting the best of someone which results in lying, making excuses, and failing to uphold promises. As time goes on, family members may end up losing trust in a person for failing to meet their obligations. This can cause distrust and frustration. 

Distrust can end up falling on children as well which can cause more adverse effects as time goes on. This can create trust issues in a person as they continue to develop. Losing trust can also impact a person’s marriage and relationship with their children.

2. It Impacts the Addicts Children

Children whose parents suffer from addiction tend to be impacted greatly by their parent’s alcohol or drug abuse. The statistics paint a disheartening picture, nearly 1 in 5 children grow up with a father or mother who abused substances/alcohol. Chances are that if a parent is dealing with an addiction, this will cause an effect on the child’s development. In single-parent households, the situation is even worse because the child has no one to turn to. 

As with many other responsibilities, a person may completely ignore or avoid their child and their needs due to drug use. They may not feed the child or take them to school. This creates a dysfunctional and negative household for a child. Not to mention the mental toll that a parent’s drug use can have on the child. 

This dysfunction and loss of trust may create trust issues in the child. This is one of the many effects of drug addiction on family members. This impact on a child’s development is extremely important and anything that disrupts that process can cause short-term and long-term problems. 

3. Stress Can Increase

Drug addiction is a stressful and sometimes painful situation for everyone involved. There are several different stresses that arise from a person’s addiction. It is heartbreaking to see a loved one go down a path of addiction and change for the worse. Not to mention the frequent tension and inability to stop using. It can become a dysfunctional and tiring environment to live in. 

What tends to happen in situations with families and drug addicts is enabling. Enabling occurs when a person allows a loved one to continue using drugs without consequences. While a loved one may have the best intentions, sometimes they may enable the addict without meaning to. This is done through picking up their responsibilities, making excuses for them, providing money, and other behaviors. This can end up causing an imbalance in a relationship and much stress along the way.

4. Physical and Emotional Abuse May Happen

In some cases, the person who is abusing drugs may be in denial or act irrationally. This is one of the ways that drugs take over a person’s life and behavior. During this time, tension can be created between family members. Simple disagreements can end causing big fights with nothing being accomplished. 

This tension can cause a change in behavior for everyone involved, not just the person using drugs. Sometimes things may escalate to the point where physical abuse may begin. In some cases, the addict may be the abuser. In other instances, other family members may be abusive towards the person suffering from addiction. 

Children can also end up becoming abusers in some cases. Their parent’s drug addiction may cause them to act out or misbehave as a way to shift the blame. This can end up leading to a downward spiral of acting out, which may involve drinking/using drugs themselves. The impact of substance abuse on families cannot be understated. Don’t hesitate to get help if a loved one is dealing with drug abuse. 

5. Financial Problems Often Occur

One of the often-overlooked effects of drug addiction on family members is the financial problems that may arise. Drug addiction is not cheap and requires a lot of money and time. Frequent drug abuse can end up causing someone to lose their job and responsibilities. Once someone is addicted, they may go to far lengths to get their drugs. If the person has a family, this financial burden will begin to affect them as well. 

They may begin to have trouble providing food, clothing, rent, and a roof over their family’s head. Drug use can also indirectly cause problems if the addict gets into legal problems like drinking while intoxicated or using illegal drugs. This can create much financial stress on the entire family. 

Family members who enable a loved one’s addiction can also contribute to the family’s financial problems. They may give addicted individuals money to buy drugs or alcohol, thinking that they’re being helpful. This usually makes the situation worse because it allows continued use while depleting their finances. This may create a dependency problem because they may rely on a loved one to care for their financial needs. 

6. Confusion and Fear Can Develop

Drug addiction and abuse can end up causing confusion and sometimes frightening changes in a loved one. They may become unpredictable and it may be unclear as to how they’ll react to certain situations. This fear and uncertainty can have family members confused and hesitant to help them or engage with them. 

Going back to the idea of emotional and physical abuse, this unpredictable behavior can lead to abuse. This is also true when children are in the picture. They may be more reserved and scared to interact with their own parents or siblings. This creates a tense and fearful environment for everyone involved. Fear is one of the effects of addiction on family members and shows the true impact substance can have on loved ones. 

7. Withdrawal Symptoms and Behavior

When someone is dependent on a drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance. These withdrawal symptoms can be scary to witness and can make a person act irrationally. Withdrawal symptoms differ depending on the drug that is being abused but they can include anywhere from nausea, to headaches, to strokes. It can be hard to cope with this and usually means that a person will do anything to get drugs back in their system again. It can be a scary and concerning situation for family members and the addict alike.

How to Deal with Drug Addiction in the Family

effects of drug addiction on family membersNow that you know the effects of drug addiction on family members, it’s important to think of your next steps carefully. One of the first things you should do is to try and motivate a loved one to get professional help. This should be done when they are sober and calm. Let them understand how their addiction is affecting the family and make sure to use facts. 

Sometimes it’s best to hire a professional interventionist and set up an intervention. An intervention can help a person understand the true impact of their drug use and can help set boundaries and goals for the future if they are in denial. Also, family counseling can help and therapy is also recommended in these addiction cases. This can help tackle the problem as a collective group. 

Getting Professional Addiction Treatment

The impact of substance abuse on families is stressful and painful, this is why getting professional treatment is needed. After your loved one has agreed to get professional help it’s important to choose the program that will best fit their needs. At The Owl’s Nest, we provide a wide range of treatment options such as outpatient treatment and other therapy options. Don’t wait; give us a call today! Get started on your journey towards sobriety.


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