Top Ways Drug and Alcohol Addiction Can Impact Your Family

It’s a very personal experience when battling a (SUD) also known as a substance use disorder or drug and alcohol addiction. Harmful substances are involved which have catastrophic effects on the user physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically. Many forget and do not take into consideration all the other individuals involved surrounding the one who is suffering from the drug and alcohol addiction. It can be an array of people from spouses, children, friends, including parents of adult children.

Homes suffer in many ways due to the circumstances of drug and alcohol addiction. It can also be short-term and long-term in various ways. 

Calm homes that are relatively peaceful and full of love can quickly become divided by the stress caused by drug and alcohol abuse. Heroin, for example, makes conflict within a home normal as family members begin to fight with each other due to trust eroding with the one struggling with the drug abuse. In return family members will become more hesitant and guarded in having much to do with the family member who is suffering especially if there is aggression involved or they notice secrecy on part of their family member.

Marriage Breakdowns

When it comes to marriages, it can usually break up a marriage due to the problems it brings. It makes communication difficult, and in return, it heightens frustration. It can affect finances, and the one struggling with addiction may also act in ways they normally would if they weren’t under the influence. This can lead to trust issues between both partners.

With certain substances family members overall can witness seeing their relatives experience certain side effects such as rage when under the influence. Even under the influence of alcohol, which isn’t even an illegal substance. Some may see their family members lose weight rapidly, where it’s hard to even recognize them from the last time they have seen them.

Shockingly enough, some family members might go a length of time not hearing from their family member who is struggling with addiction, only to find out they are living on the street or have overdosed and died. Such extreme circumstances can cause relatives to develop severe trauma and go on to develop unhealthy means of coping themselves. Such as codependent behaviors, anxiety, depression, or even substance abuse as well.

Top Ways Drug and Alcohol Addiction Can Impact Your Family

Addiction Impacting Younger Children

Sadly enough, 1 in 5 children will grow up in a home where a parent has a substance abuse problem, according to Psychology Today. 

For those children, there are ramifications that can possibly affect them in many ways. The mere witnessing their parents struggling from addiction at a younger age have greater long-term effects. They are more inclined to develop SUD, also known as, substance use disorders when they reach adulthood themselves. This also exposes them to be three times more susceptible to being physically and/or sexually abused or neglected. Distressing emotions are often evoked when a child sees their parents on drugs. These distressed emotions create delays in development and learning, which can also lead to prolonged mental and emotional disorders as well. 

Personality Development

Personalities are still developing while they are young children and they are vulnerable to influences especially external ones. A lot of the time children are exposed to aggression or violent behaviors due to parent’s drinking. When arguments break out between parents, which in some households is considered normal, it causes the child emotional distress to witness the fighting.

A child will feel emotionally neglected and unsafe, including physically as well from being exposed to a home that involves drug use. Over time the child will become more emotionally and mentally compromised and unstable. Children internalize, and will more than likely start developing extreme guilt and self-blame for their parent’s substance abuse and behaviors. In a result, the child could quite possibly adopt feelings of unworthiness, and develop unhealthy attachments in their adulthood.

Sometimes depending on how extreme the substance abuse is in the home, children can be removed and placed in another family member’s home or foster care.

Teenage Addictions and The Family

The CDC has many statistics pertaining to teenagers and addictions. They report that when it comes to alcohol underage drinkers will drink more drinks per drinking session than an adult would. Interestingly enough, 19% of people between the ages of 12 and 20 years old drink alcoholic beverages routinely. Though due to underreporting, the figure is probably assumed to be much higher. When it comes to marijuana usage it is more prevalent among teens than cigarette smoking overall. 

Many teenagers are trying to form their identity and that can be confusing and difficult. Especially when you have the pressure of your peers and want to feel acceptance. Yet you are surrounded by the constant temptations around you, and some of them are not all positive. To complicate matters, those teens who have parental substance abuse exposure are more subject to abuse substances when they reach adulthood themselves. 

Teen addiction stems from external and internal factors. An external factor would be, peer pressure from friends. An internal factor would be genetics. 

When it comes to substances there are some that over stimulate teens like Cocaine. It will make them more awake and create insomnia. Which will make their performance drop in school. Opioids on the other hand will more than likely produce a euphoric effect. People use these drugs more frequently than others, but they do have damaging effects.

Negative Effects on the Family

The person who is addicted is not the only one negatively affected. The entire family has negative effects, as well as, friends, and loved ones. The negative impacts can be the following:

  • Side effects
  • Withdrawal
  • Poor school performance
  • Strained relationships
  • Exposure to other drugs
  • Financial hardships
  • Causing parental grief
  • Reckless behavior within the home
  • Running away from home
  • Stealing money to support a habit
  • Legal issues potentially 
  • Potential fatal overdose

Sometimes teens will become overwhelmed and feel like the answer is to run away from home. Whether they have overwhelming feelings by the drugs and alcohol or the tattered relationships, or both. The distress in the relationships, especially between the parents and teen can push the teen into substances in order to try to mentally escape. Running away from home puts the teen in great danger. It exposes them to sexual, emotional exploitation, economic situations and abuse.

College Addictions and The Family

Once a teenager enters college, they are more probable to continue on with their struggle with their SUD (substance use disorder). The early introduction to drugs leads them to form a dependence and tolerance that is much stronger by the time they reach their college years. Many college students will then begin to party and make it a lifestyle, in which they abuse substances such as drugs and alcohol. Sooner or later they find that it becomes increasingly difficult to stop or even not partake as much. 

Many college campuses sadly report high numbers of sexual assaults. People report property damage, as well. Aggressive behavior happens, too, which is directly linked to alcohol abuse. The substance abuse signs for college students are:

  • New groups of friends
  • Money problems
  • Irresponsible or out-of-character behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Inability to handle college commitments

Establishing New Connections

There’s help available for those who suffer from SUDs (substance use disorders). It can greatly negatively impact the individual who is struggling as well as the family member, and those closest to the individual.

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers provide answers from providers for any questions you may have. Facilities allow sober relatives to visit their loved ones in rehab. They can participate in counseling and help strengthen and maintain their relationship. Patients can participate in several therapy options. Doctors can also treat them with medication if that’s a part of their healing plan, as well as receive constant support from trained medical professionals. 

If you would like more information for yourself or a loved one about drug and alcohol addiction treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us here at ARIA FL today to find out more.