Addiction to alcohol or other drugs affects and destroys more than the health and life of the addict. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) says that drugs can “destroy relationships.” When you abuse drugs, you may not realize that your addiction affects the entire family, or maybe you simply choose to ignore it.
After all, as an addict, you probably became a master at seeing what you want to see and ignoring the rest long ago.
Family members suffer significantly from the devastation of addiction when a loved one abuses drugs.
Because of the effect that drug abuse and addiction has on the addict as well as on loved ones of the addict, loved ones should also participate in the process of treatment for substance abuse, whether the loved one is in treatment at an outpatient treatment San Diego facility, dual diagnosis treatment San Diego program or other drug and alcohol rehab.
Whether a person abusing substances lives alone, with a partner or in a family with children, the addiction of one person affects the entire family, truly making addiction a family affair.
Addiction even affects distant family members who do not live in the home.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) points out that “Extended family members may experience feelings of abandonment, anxiety, fear, anger, concern, embarrassment, or guilt,” and that some family members may even feel the need to take legal action to protect themselves from the family addict.
Additionally, the NCBI stresses that “the effects on families may continue for generations. Intergenerational effects of substance abuse can have a negative impact on role modeling, trust, and concepts of normative behavior, which can damage the relationships between generations.”
Whether a person engages in prescription drug abuse, uses heroin, designer street drugs or some other illicit substance, the effects on families is far-reaching and devastating.
Children often take on the role of the parent, caring for other children or even the addict parent.
Children often become victims of verbal, emotional or physical child abuse or neglect when a parent abuses drugs. Schoolwork and peer relationships may suffer.
Children may suffer from depression or other mental health consequences in event of a parent abusing drugs. Adult children often suffer with relationship problems due to the long-term effects of growing up in a home with one or both parents abusing alcohol or other drugs.
Children may self-medicate, either turning to alcohol or drugs as adolescents or adults. If both parents abuse alcohol or other drugs, children suffer even more.
Getting help for addiction means more than secretly attending a few meetings at an outpatient treatment facility that you think no one will ever know about. Involving family members in the process of treatment for drug addiction, treatment at an alcohol rehab program or in the event that you need dual diagnosis treatment helps your loved ones understand that your addiction is an illness.
Involving loved ones in treatment is not the big deal you may think. Many alcohol and drug treatment programs include family members, realizing that addiction and recovery is a family affair.
Treatment providers realize the importance of creating an individualized treatment plan for individuals in need of alcohol treatment, drug addiction treatment or dual diagnosis help for co-occurring disorders.
Treatment professionals also recognize that family involvement in the treatment process is crucial to the restructuring of family roles and healing the family. Psych Central recognizes the importance of individualized family involvement in addiction therapy, explaining that “Each family is different, and the best way to approach family involvement with addiction therapy will differ with every person.”
Unfortunately, over time, family members actually end up enabling the addict, an issue addressed when family members participate in treatment.
During treatment, family members learn to deal with their feelings, the devastating effects of their loved one’s addiction on individual family members and on the family as a whole.
The family learns how to break the cycle of co-dependency, about the patience required during the drug abuse and addiction treatment process, and that just as addiction affects the entire family, treatment of substance abuse is also a family affair.