How Drug Abuse Affects Family

People abusing drugs do so for their own benefit and often forget about the kind of impact it can have on their friends and family members. People close to you are directly affecting by your drug abuse because of the way it affects you. Your children miss out on quality time with you when you’re getting high, your parents feel responsible for you turning to drugs and your co-workers depend on you and when you don’t show up time and time again, they are affection. Family, most of all, is affected due to their personal investment with you. Getting help for your drug abuse problem not only helps you, but those closest to you as well.

Family Problems Associated with Drug Abuse

The following lists the most common issues with drug abuse and how it can directly impact your family members.

  1. Jealousy – First up is the jealousy you might feel for other people in your life. This can negatively affect you which in turn affect your family members. This jealousy and resentment can lead to more serious drug use.
  2. Conflict with Relationships – Next is conflict with your partner or whoever you are in a relationship with. Relationships have arguments that can be worsened by your drug abuse, including the tendency to be more angry, defensive and violent if the subject of getting treatment or quitting drugs can lead to.
  3. How Drug Abuse Affects Family

  4. Conflict with Children – You might also experience conflicts with your children when abusing drugs, such as them not following your authority because of the lack of respect they have for you as someone abusing drugs.
  5. Financial Struggles – Money is a common topic of argument for any relationship and it can be worsened when abusing drugs or alcohol. You might experience more financial struggles as a result of your drug use, such as losing your job from calling in sick too often or having poor work quality, making bad financial choices or spending too much money on your drug use.
  6. Emotional Trauma – Emotional hardship can come to the surface when you’re abusing drugs which often includes manipulating, insulting or yelling at your children, siblings, partners or significant other.
  7. Violence – An unfortunate side effect to abusing drugs or being addicted to them is being more violent as you have more severe mood swings and irritability. You may become violent with your family members, including throwing things, hitting, smashing or slapping.
  8. Infidelity – People abusing drugs may no longer get satisfaction from their partner and seek the same satisfaction from other people, often time’s people who use the same drugs as they do.
  9. Separation or Divorce – Excessive drug use can also lead to separation or divorce as a result of all of the above issues with your family. Drug abuse can cause a wedge between you and anyone you are close with.
  10. Health Risks – The final thing to consider when abusing drugs is how many health risks you are exposed to. Everything from nausea and dizziness to irregular heartbeats and stroke can be caused from drug abuse. Think about how this risk affects your family.

Family Structures – Your family structure will also determine the type of treatment needed and how your family is affected by drug abuse. Regardless if you live alone or with a partner, you will need help for the drug addiction. This is because someone sober living with someone abusing drugs or alcohol is in a co-dependence situation. If you live with a partner and young children and are abusing drugs, the children are at risk for developing drug abuse as they are directly affecting by one or both parents using drugs.

One parent is also going to assume more responsibility than the other in this type of situation. A step family is a type of structure affected by substance abuse because it prevents the family from integrating properly and having enough stability. Having grown children also can be affected by drug abuse as they might either reject you completely and keep your grandchildren away from you or turn to drugs themselves. If you’re younger and live with brothers and sisters, your siblings look up to you and may copy what you do, thus putting the entire family in danger.

Family Therapy

Due to the above reasons and how family can be affected by drug abuse, family therapy is highly recommended. Therapy can help a family find their strengths and learn to live without substance abuse as well as giving the resources needed for every family member to deal with what has occurred as a result of the drug abuse. You will also be able to deal with detoxification during the withdrawal period when you go through therapy as a family and can be aware of the needs of each family member through the various therapy sessions you go to as a group.

Each individual can also learn from each other, how their drug abuse is affecting other members in the family and learning to work on their own problem while still helping other family members. Family therapy for drug abuse also prevents younger generations in the family to have the same substance abuse problem. If you have lost custody of your kids, going to family therapy can get you visitation rights and become closer with your children. However, if emotional or physical abuse is involved, family therapy is not recommended as some family members need to be protected. If this is the case, individual drug abuse therapy is best along with other forms of therapy for those family members who have dealt with abuse.

Seeking a Family Therapist

If you have chosen to overcome your drug abuse or addiction problem as a family, the first step is finding a good therapist or counselor. This person should be someone who is well qualified and licensed in counseling families with substance abuse issues. Start by contacting your drug abuse treatment facility or family doctor for references. They should be able to provide you with names of people who are licensed family therapists and have experience handling drug abuse situations in the family.

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