How Addiction Affects Everyone
One of the biggest health-related issues in the United States is alcohol and drug addiction. When it comes to addiction, it’s not just the addicted individual who is affected. The person’s entire family and friends can become affected when dealing with addiction. Drug and alcohol addiction affects fathers, mothers, couples, and more, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Research has shown that young children and adolescents are the most affected by the abuse of alcohol and drugs in families. There are a number of ways that addiction can affect everyone.
Alcohol and drug abuse not only affects just one individual but also the entire family. Addiction can create interpersonal problems for every member of the family.
As an addicted individual, you can grow jealous of family members and others in your life. Your partner can become resentful and jealous of you. You may have more arguments with your partner and your children. There will be conflicts over money since many addicts make poor financial choices to pour money into the addiction. You can create emotional trauma for your children and partner by yelling, insulting, manipulating, or talking down to them. Those who are addicted can become more violent or family members could become violent with you, including hitting, smashing, or throwing objects. Addiction can also lead to more violence.
Children of alcoholics and substance abusers can often face the biggest impact. The parent doesn’t have to still be actively using in order for the child to continue to feel the impact of abuse. Despite the suffering, many children will blame themselves for their parent’s substance abuse. Many times children of substance abusers are frightened. They can be victims of violence and witness violence. These children can suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder with anxiety and depression. Children aren’t only scared for their own well being but also have the concern that the parent can die as a result of drug use or drinking.
Alcohol and drug abuse can affect the family structure in different ways depending on the living situation. If you live with young children then the parent’s problems will affect children. When one parent has an addiction, the other will do their best to protect the children and assume more of the responsibilities of parenting. If both parents have addictions, the effects can be much worse and addiction can be passed down to the children. If an adolescent is dealing with addiction and lives with the family, the needs and concerns of siblings and other family members can be ignored.
How Does Family Therapy Help?
Family therapy can be a good resource for family members with alcohol and drug addictions. Family therapy helps in a number of ways. You and your family will be able to deal with the impact of detoxification and the process of cleaning the body from the addiction. Your family can become aware of their own needs and express those needs safely. With family therapy, the next generation in the family can be less likely to carry on addiction.
When searching for family therapy, it’s important to find the right counselor and therapist and be upfront about why the family is going to therapy. If there is abuse, whether it’s physical or emotional, family counseling may not be an option since family members need to be protected first.
What Can You Do?
Even though you know that addiction can affect everyone, you will now need to educate yourself further and learn what you can do to help your loved one with addiction treatment. Only the person addicted can ultimately get help and stop using but there are things that can be done to encourage them. Support groups and counseling are helpful for families of addicts. Getting someone time for yourself may also help encourage a loved one to seek the help they need.
You also need to not only get support for the addict but everyone involved. This is important for children who are usually most affected by addiction. There are a variety of services for families that need assistance.
Consider an intervention. While only an addict can decide to get help, professional intervention can help. This involves a professionally trained intervention specialist providing education, guidance, and support to get the addict to accept that treatment is necessary.
It’s important to have patience throughout the recovery process. Addicts can go through various recovery processes depending on the level of addiction. It can be hard to stay focused on recovery. The recovery process is going to be ongoing and there is no known cure for addiction. Long-term recovery can be possible. There are different options for people who need help dealing with addiction to alcohol and drugs. With proper medical advice and time, families can start to heal and put their lives back together.