Effect of Addiction On Family Members

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The effects of addiction on family members can have a great impact on the structure of the family. A healthy family structure helps create a safe, happy, and nurturing space. However, when addiction touches someone within the family unit, it can foster destruction within the family relationships. The internal struggle that occurs, not only with the individual who is struggling, but their loved ones as well is an extremely difficult situation to navigate. Understanding addiction and its impacts can be beneficial toward them getting the help they need to heal.

Understanding Addiction

Substance abuse and addiction is a chronic and relapsing condition that, with proper care and support, can be managed. However, without this care and support, it can lead to havoc and devastation in the lives of everyone involved. This condition contributes to chronic unemployment, health issues, legal problems, and the destruction of the family unit if it is not addressed properly. Dependence on a substance often occurs without warning, and it can affect anyone. It does not discriminate, and anyone from doctors and lawyers to school teachers and students can fall into addiction. It is important to understand that these struggling individuals benefit from professional care, however, their loved ones could also use the support to learn how to help without enabling their loved ones.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction in a Loved One

Identifying when a loved one is struggling can be a crucial turning point in the lives of those impacted. While sometimes it can be difficult, many signs could be indicative of substance abuse and dependence. Some of these signs include:

  • Inability to control their use of drugs/drinking
  • Running out of medicine early
  • Taking someone else’s prescription
  • Continued use despite negative consequences
  • Prioritizing drug and alcohol use above responsibilities
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Social and emotional withdrawal
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawal symptoms 


Identifying these signs could help reduce the effects of addiction on family members, and encourage the struggling individual to get help. Having the right support and care from addiction professionals can only improve their quality of life, and improve the family relationships. 

Effects of Addiction on Family Members

Often, when someone is struggling with substances like drugs and alcohol, their actions affect their family. Whether it be directly or indirectly, the family also feels the impacts of addiction. The effects of addiction on family members are significant. It creates emotional, psychological, and financial strain on the struggling individual’s family. Emotionally, families can feel guilt, shame, and helplessness while watching their loved one go through the self-destructive path addiction leads them through. This contributes to stress and anxiety in husbands, wives, children, parents, and other loved ones. Psychologically, struggles with drugs and alcohol can lead to unpredictable behaviors leading to disruptions in the family dynamics. Finally, financial strain occurs as the person struggling focuses more of their finances on substances rather than taking care of their financial responsibility, leading to their loved ones taking on the financial load. 

Addressing Addiction with a Loved One

When it comes to addressing the effects of addiction on family members with a loved one, it can be a delicate situation. When speaking with a loved one, it is crucial to be non-confrontational and come from a place of love. This can be an extremely difficult and emotionally charged situation, leading to an explosive confrontation. If a loved one is struggling, having a professional who is experienced in this type of conversation can be beneficial to having a positive outcome. Someone who is struggling with drugs and/or alcohol can be unpredictable, especially when under the influence of these substances. 

How Treatment Can Help

Professional and medical detox is a crucial part of healing. Removing the substances from their system is necessary for them to be able to learn a healthier way of living. Substance abuse treatment helps with this. Being medically monitored helped prevent complications as the person goes through the withdrawal process, and begins implementing healthy coping skills. Once detox is complete, therapies such as CBT and DBT can help the person begin to identify their triggers and learn how to get through distressing situations without using substances. They can address any trauma that may contribute to drug and alcohol use, and then begin living a happy, healthy, and supportive lifestyle.

Getting Help for Addiction

Fighting through addiction is a struggle that countless people face daily. The impacts addiction can have not only on the individual but also on their families can be devastating. It can result in a loss of trust, and friction within a marriage, parents watch their kids go down a path of self-destruction, and children lose out on the parent they deserve. There is help available to help prevent these impacts and improve relationships. If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help. The Healing Center provides a safe and healing environment for those touched by addiction to begin a journey of healing. Call us today and begin your journey.