Five Effects of Drug Abuse on Your Family

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Effects of drug abuse have an impact not only on the personal with the addiction; they ripple outward to the entire family. Children of substance abusers may take on the parental role. The parents of the addict may be in denial. Trying to manage the spiraling problems of substance abuse can lead to increased states of anxiety, anger and fear. Five issues tend to affect all families with a member who abuses drugs or other substances, let’s take a closer look.

The Effects of Drug Abuse On Your Family

Trust Problems
Broken trust is a problem that most families of substance abusers must face. Over the period of addiction, the drug abuser is likely to have told numerous lies concerning a variety of circumstances. This dishonesty causes family members to have little trust in anything he says. Part of the recovery process is re-building this trust in family relationships. This is one of the effects of drug abuse that can take years to overcome.

Broken Solidarity
Drug abuse often causes severe damage to the family dynamic and the sense of solidarity. The self-isolating behavior of the abuser can often leaves other family members feeling confused and angry. Disagreements about what the abuser has done can cause significant breaks in the family structure. Some members of the family may be required to take on duties the drug abuser can no longer perform, which leads to resentment and frustration. The sense of the family as a successfully functioning unit often suffers and makes family members feel disjointed and overwhelmed.

Social Standing
As the effects of drug abuse on the family member becomes more evident, others in the family may begin to feel shame and humiliation. They may feel society blames them for the disease of the family member and may feel they have lost their standing in the community. This feeling can be crippling for people who have previously thought of their family as “perfect” or immune to substance abuse problems. They may isolate themselves from their usual social groups in order to avoid dealing with questions or comments about the abuser. This can be one of the most visible and outward signs of the effects of drug abuse on a family.

Financial Effects of Drug Abuse
One of the most common effects of drug abuse on families is the disruption in financial stability. Drug abusers often lose jobs, burn through savings, borrow money and do whatever is necessary to support their habit from day to day. This behavior can cause significant burdens on other family members who can no longer rely on them to provide income. The costs of trying to get help for the can also be a significant factor in the financial instability of the family group.

Psychological Issues
Over time, the families of drug abusers often develop a number of psychological issues as a family unit. Children of the abuser may be required to take on the parental role, helping siblings finish homework, eat dinner and go to school. This emotional adaptation can have long-term effects on future relationships. Other family members may develop depression, anxiety, anger problems and profound feelings of insecurity about their lives. These effects of drug abuse must be worked on over time in counseling or other support group for families of substance abusers.

The effects of drug abuse on your family can be lessened and in many cases overcome with family therapy.  Family therapy is designed to address the concerns of the family unit in dealing with the substance abuse and learning how to support their loved done during recovery.  Family therapy also focuses on rebuilding trust, respect and repairing relationships during recovery and educating the family on the recovery process.