When a loved one has an addiction, it affects more than the individual’s mind and body. Whether the person is addicted to alcohol, prescription pills, or illegal drugs, their actions and decisions impact their whole family. If you are related to someone with such problems, take a moment to learn how it can affect your family and signs indicating the drug or alcohol issue is no longer personal.
What Addiction Can Do to a Family
Strained Relationships, Tension & Conflict
When a parent or sibling abuses alcohol or drugs, it is not uncommon for the individual to withdraw from family life to focus on their addiction. They may neglect their responsibilities, display erratic behavior such as staying out all night or allow children to engage in previously prohibited activities and argue, if not physically fight, with their family. The energy of the entire household can shift because of negative behaviors and actions, causing tension and strain that is felt by everyone.
As relationships deteriorate because of a loved one’s drug or alcohol problem, other family members may seek solace elsewhere due to chaotic home lives. They may spend more time with extended family or friends, or cheat on their spouse with the addiction. Separations and divorces are also common when a partner has a substance abuse issue.
Conversely, family members might turn into caretakers for the person addicted to drugs or alcohol, which increases stress and anxiety. The emotional, mental, and physical health of the family members often suffer when they take on caretaker roles.
Signs to Look For
If a member of your family has a substance problem, familiarize yourself with signs indicating familial strain. You may notice some members spend less time at home or have started slipping academically because of stress. Arguments may increase, or there may be signs of physical violence such as bruises and cuts because the addicted individual has become abusive. Controlling behavior and codependency can occur because the non-addicted family members want to help the addicted loved one and prevent them from using.
Even if you do not notice any of these signs, you may feel increased tension in the family and higher stress levels that can lead to insomnia, poor food decisions, short tempers, and displays of sadness and worry among members. Financial problems can also occur because the loved one with the addiction steals money or has lost their job.
If you believe a loved one has an addiction, offer your judgement-free support, and discuss counseling and recovery options when the time is right. The LCADA Way has provided residents throughout Lorain, Erie, Medina, and the surrounding counties in Ohio with rehab and mental health services since 1981, including medication-assisted treatment, sober living facilities, transportation, and video conferencing. Call (440) 989-4900 today to help your family member start their recovery journey or visit the website for more information about treatment services. Get the latest tips and news on Facebook.