How Addiction Affects Families


How Addiction Affects FamiliesDrug and alcohol abuse does not only affect the addict, but their family as well. When recovery starts, the whole family should show support. Family therapy is a good opportunity for individuals struggling with an addiction and their families to understand the addiction recovery process. Family therapy helps the families of individuals battling addiction cope with the different changes their loved ones may experience during treatment and recovery.

Addiction not only affects the individual, but also his or her family. Substance abuse disorders often generate interpersonal problems for the whole family. Some of the most common problems families may experience include:

  • Conflicts with partners and family members:
    Addicts and their loved ones often have arguments that may lead to “silent treatment” or growing apart from each other. These arguments can lead to mistrust and inflict fear on their children. The main cause of these quarrels is generally when drug addicts or alcoholic are putting their addiction first
  • Struggles with money:
    Drug addicts and alcoholics tend to miss work and school a lot and make poor financial choices.  Taking time off work can lead to job loss and allow the user more time to seek drugs.
  • Violent behavior:
    Arguments between family members and addicts can lead to violent behavior, such as hitting, slapping and throwing objects.
  • Emotional distress:
    Addicts create emotional adversities for their loved ones by yelling, manipulating and insulting.
  • Broken relationships: Some behavior caused by substance abuse may lead to separation or isolation from other members of the family, especially children.
  • Health problems:
    pregnant women who drink can have a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome, which may lead to serious damages in the baby’s brain. Smoking can also cause health problems such as breathing complications and lung cancer. When people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they tend to get involved in risky behaviors such as driving under the influence.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a good recovery tool for family members battling substance abuse disorders.

Families can be very encouraging during recovery. Their strengths and resources can help patients find healthy methods to abstain from alcohol and drug addiction. Families can also help deal with the influence detoxification has on the recovering addict’s life. The process of cleansing the body from any residual toxins can be very painful. Family members can also become more aware of their personal needs and express themselves freely during counseling sessions. Family therapy can likewise help the next generation avoid the risks associated with addiction.

Concurrent treatment

Social problems linked to substance abuse should be considered during treatment. Problems like unemployment, criminal behavior, domestic violence, and child neglect can also affect families dealing with chemical dependence. These issues must be addressed with the help of professionals in the addiction field and other fields. This type of treatment is called concurrent treatment.

Every time family counseling and chemical dependence treatment take place simultaneously, clinicians must communicate in order for the treatment to be effective. Multifamily group therapy and individual therapy, together with counseling sessions and support groups, might be necessary. Different approaches are necessary in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the treatment.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 556-9584. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author