The Cost of Addiction to the Family
Addiction can be a serious problem, not only for the addict but also those closest to them. Family members suffer alongside addicts, often feeling helpless as they watch their loved ones decline due to addiction. Family members are usually the first to notice the effects of this serious condition and as a result, family dynamics often change and can become strained. It is important to recognize the effects of addiction on family members, in order to provide the best chance of recovery for the addict and their loved ones.
At first glance, the effects of addiction on a family can be obvious. Communication and trust drop, arguments often become more heated and frequent, and family dynamics can become dysfunctional. Family members become hypervigilant in their attempts to prevent the addict from substance abuse. While family members of addicts may have good intentions in trying to help the addict, this approach usually ends up doing more harm than good.
It is common for family members to make excuses or attempt to cover up the addict’s behavior. This can be especially damaging to children, who often feel responsible for their parent’s addiction and can suffer from feelings of guilt and embarrassment. Unfortunately, it can become a normal way of life for many families as they navigate through the implications of addiction.
For some, the physical effects of addiction can be heartbreaking to witness. Families often compare the addict to their former selves – healthy, functioning, and productive individuals – before substance abuse altered the course of their life. Health problems can include liver damage, seizures, and other infectious diseases. It is also not uncommon for addicts to experience unintentional physical injuries due to engaging in dangerous activities while under the influence.
Families of addicts often feel helpless and confused. As the addiction takes over and the addict continues to engage in destructive behaviors, family members can develop feelings of anger, resentment, and anxiety. When families are filled with these types of negative emotions, it is difficult to have meaningful conversations, build relationships, and provide emotional support.
The financial cost of addiction can be profound. Addiction can lead to financial ruin and put a strain on even the most stable finances. Addiction can lead to missed workdays and job losses, leaving families unable to afford basic necessities such as housing and food. Additionally, the cost of treatment, hospitalizations, and rehabilitation also take a toll.
The emotional effects of addiction on a family can linger long after the addict has recovered. This is especially true in situations where the addiction had been going on for some time and family members had become used to the behaviors associated with it. Many families of addicts develop trust issues and continue to feel wary of the addict’s activities even after recovery is attained.
While addiction can be a difficult struggle for both the addict and their family, understanding the implications of addiction can help families make the best decision for their loved ones. Attempting to limit the negative effects of addiction on the family can create a more positive environment and provide the support needed to help a loved one achieve recovery. Family arms provide a safe, non-judgmental place for addicts to open up and explore their feelings and emotions, allowing them to connect with their family and begin to heal.