The emotional toll of addiction can have a negative impact on the family unit. Without needed treatment help, this will only worsen with time.
How Does Addiction Negatively Affect The Family Unit?
Drug addiction can have a far reaching affect that goes well beyond the addicted person. There is a negative impact on the family members and friends, as well as within the community. By far, those who are most negatively affected by drug addiction are the family unit and all those who are a part of it.
When someone develops an addiction, their entire way of life shifts. For a family, the addiction greatly upsets the lives and dynamics of every member. The addiction will often take center stage and in many cases, the lives of the family will be as focused on the addiction as the addicted person is.
Most of the time, there is a disruption of the family unit’s social, psychological, emotional, and even physical health. Socially, the family may isolate themselves from each other and from their community as they confront the addiction.
They may no longer trust their addicted loved one, and may begin to adjust their thinking and become suspicious of others. Addiction can be an emotional rollercoaster and can emotionally overload everyone in the family.
The stress of dealing with the situation can cause physical issues and inadvertently create more problems, causing an endless cycle of stress.
Addiction is defined by the NIDA as a chronic and compulsive disease where the person has complete and absolute focus on their addiction. It is sadly quite common for everything else in the person’s life to become secondary to the addiction, including their family.
Any responsibilities that the addicted person has to themselves and to their family often is forgotten. It can be gradual, forgetting or postponing little things. Eventually, they could stop showing up at family gatherings, going to work—which can be a big issue if they are the primary earner in the household—and even stop coming home.
At some point, the person’s responsibilities become a problem for the rest of their family, who will often take over for things to get done or to prevent those from outside of the family from finding out about the addiction.
The Blame Game
The NIDA stresses that there are a lot of causes that can impact the development of a drug addiction, but there is never any one person to blame. It is rather unfortunate that addiction usually causes people to try and find someone who is at fault.
Both those within and outside of the person’s family will blame those closest to the addict for not doing something to stop the addiction from forming or from getting as bad as it did. Sometimes, the family members will blame themselves for not noticing what was going on sooner.
This can create a hostile environment within the family unit and generate potentially severe damage on the relationship between the family members and the addict.
If you or a loved one has an addiction, please contact us through our website or call us at (800) 407-7195 to speak with one of our caring specialists about your treatment and recovery options.