Bad Effects of Addiction on Families
Substance use disorder not only affects the addict, but also his family and society. Addiction may cause stress and problems in families and there are many negative effects on children of addicted parents. Children of addicts often feel emotionally abandoned which can lead to feelings of guilt, fear, self-doubt, moodiness, or anger such as excessive temper tantrums or violent behaviors. They suffer from low self-esteem and insecurity and develop poor school performance exposure.
The more the addiction of the addict the worse the effects on the whole family. If the addicted person is suffering from mental illness or has died, then it makes it even harder for children to deal with their grief. Children will often blame themselves for their parent’s drug abuse and end up feeling like they are responsible for fixing this situation by taking care of their parents or trying not to upset them.
Addiction Can Cause Financial Instability within a family
When a person is addicted they may steal from their family or spend money that is needed for the family on drugs. Young children of parents who are addicts may be placed in foster homes if there is no one else to care for them while the addict goes through rehab and treatment.
Money problems become quite serious when the addict has to spend money on drugs or alcohol instead of buying food, clothing, or school supplies for their children. They may have to borrow money from family members which end up damaging relationships between the entire family. Addicts are also more likely to have accidents at home because they are usually under the influence of alcohol and drug addiction so this adds to the financial problem.
It is also very expensive to treat an addict and this may put a strain on family finances.
Addiction Can Lead to Physical Abuse with Family Members
It isn’t only the addicted family member that may cause physical harm to another person, but other members within the family may as well due to their frustrations and anger towards the addict. Parental resentment and anger about an addicted relative’s behavior can lead children to feel rejection and resentment for their parents and they can be more likely to lie or steal themselves. Substance abuse problems can really change how the dynamics work in a family, this is just one of the effects of drug addiction.
Drug Addiction Can Cause Relationships to Break Down
Relationships can become strained between family members when someone becomes addicted to substance abuse. When addiction is present within a household, other problems are more important than what’s going on in relationships with each other. Family members may start to fight about money, physical abuse, the addict’s behavior, and how to handle this situation.
Sometimes addicts will stop communicating with their family members. All this can reflect badly on the children’s social lives because they don’t know how to act in school or within society when it seems like everyone else has a normal family life and their future mental health will also be severely affected.
Addiction Can Lead to Neglect of Children or Elderly Parents
Substance abuse is a priority over children or elderly parents for addicts. The addicted person may end up neglecting their children’s needs for food, shelter, clothing, and education. They may also leave young children with others to care for them; this will usually be someone who is not trustworthy with the child. It can easily turn into child abuse so it should be taken care of right at the beginning.
Their lives can become difficult because they are afraid of their parents and they can become easily manipulated by other adults who might take advantage of them. Their self-esteem and confidence will be lower than if their parents were not addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Just like with the children, addiction may cause neglect for elderly relatives as well such as forgetting to buy food, clean the home, or pay bills.
How do I Deal with Addiction in My Family?
As difficult as addiction may be for everyone to deal with, there are ways to address concerns and problems so that you can all work towards preventing the addict from their addictive behavior. Family Therapy is also one way that can bring your family together.
If this person is a teenager or young adult:
Teenage addiction affects the future life of everyone close to the addict. Set clear boundaries. Let them know what behaviors you will not accept and how it’s affecting other family members. Let them know how their addiction is preventing them from living up to their potential.
Let this person know that you are there for them and want to help whenever they are ready to take action towards recovery. Try not to blame or accuse them of being an addict because it puts distance between you and the other person. Letting the person know that you care and that you want to be able to help them is the best way to approach the situation.
If this person is a child:
Addiction impacts young children the most. Do not harshly or violently discipline your children. This will only cause anger and resentment so try not to resort to physical punishment as it can harm their self-esteem and confidence within themselves and others. Instead of focusing on the bad behavior, tell them to look at their own behavior and learn what they can change.
Let this person know that you love them no matter what happens and that you are there for them if they need someone to talk to.
If this person is an elderly relative:
Do not take over your family member’s role because it’s only temporary and they need to learn how to take care of themselves. All that you can do is assist them as much as possible, but you should not be the one doing their chores or errands for them. Let this person know that you love and respect them and want what’s best for them – if they feel respected and loved then they may eventually overcome their effects of addiction.
Emmaus Medical & Recovery provides substance abuse treatment and family therapy to families affected by parental substance abuse, teenage drug abuse, and substance use disorders. Contact us today to learn more!