How Addiction Affects Families

Addiction Hurts Everyone

It’s no secret to anyone that substance abuse can destroy lives. The effects of alcoholism and drug addiction have been well documented over the years. An entire industry has grown up around treating addition and helping those who suffer from substance abuse get clean/sober and get their lives back. Something that doesn’t get as much attention, however, is the damage that substance abuse has on the family of the addicted person.

Living with an addict or alcoholic can be a taxing and frustrating experience. In fact, it’s difficult for everyone close to someone suffering from addiction, but it’s often families who suffer the most. Many times, family members can start to think they might be part of the problem, enabling the addict or in some way facilitating the addiction and the worst part is that sometimes they’re right.

Different families handle it in different ways, but without professional help, none of them are likely to actually help the abuser. Some families take sides, which divides the powerful family unit into a fractured home full of yelling. Some are embarrassed or ashamed of having someone with an addiction in the family and hide the fact from others, avoiding social encounters or trying to isolate the family from the addict. All of these situations only make matters worse and drive the addict further away from those who love them and, more importantly, those who can help them.

How Exactly Addiction Affects a Family

There are so many ways a family suffers from a person’s addiction. Substance abuse changes a person’s entire lifestyle and never for the better. The emotional damage that can be inflicted upon a family can be catastrophic as they try to deal with the grief and stress of what their loved one is going through. This emotional stress can often be seen at work or school as their mind is with their loved one and their pain, rather than on their own tasks.

In addition to the emotional damage, having an addiction in the family can cause long-lasting psychological damage as well. Addiction rewires the brain to seek continued use, altering behavior to feed the addiction, so an addict has little-to-no control over themselves and will do whatever they need to in order to get their drug of choice. Lying and stealing become common and the trust between family members can be irreparably damaged. Family members may never be able to trust the addict again, expecting the worst of every situation and looking for lies in every word because it’s what they’ve come to expect.

Both of these can be brought about or made worse by the physical stresses that can arise from living with an addict. The stress of worrying about their loved one can cause nausea, migraines, appetite loss, and even heart problems. Also, as previously stated, an addict will do anything to get their fix, which sometimes even includes physically threatening those around them, even family.

Help Is Just A Phone Call Away

Too often, families in this situation don’t know what to do and feel helpless. Bargaining and bribes, threats and ultimatums, crying and begging have all failed or perhaps even made the situation worse than it was before. It can seem like an utterly hopeless situation to be in, having an addict in the family. Nobody wants to watch a father, mother, sister, brother, son, or daughter slowly destroy their life, acting like nothing’s wrong as their entire world crumbles around them.

Fortunately, there is professional help for the family and the addict alike. Trained individuals, called interventionists, can help analyze the situation and determine the best model to use for an intervention. The interventions seen on television are poor representations, as they’re mostly shown for comedy or drama, but a professionally led intervention, planned with concern and love, and be the difference between life and death for the addict.

There are several different methods of intervention and different methods are ideal for different people. A trained interventionist knows the best method for the situation at hand and will lead the intervention, coaching, guiding, and steering the event towards a healthy resolution for the family and addict alike.

Many interventionists are addicts in recovery themselves. After all, who better to lead someone out of a dark maze than somebody who’s already found the way out? Pick up the phone today and speak to a professional interventionist. Help is available, you just need to reach out. Don’t wait for things to get worse when you can help today.

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