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THE IMPACT OF DRUG ABUSE ON FAMILIES

It’s estimated that over 20 million Americans suffer with an addiction. Because substance abuse can be classified as a dependence on an addictive substance, these addictions could be to illicit drugs, alcohol, or prescription drugs. No matter the substance, the end result is the same:devastation for both the sufferer and their family. While Orange County long-term treatment can help addicts overcome their dangerous habits, recovery is only possible with hard work and the help of licensed professionals. If help is never sought, the impact of addiction could prove extremely disastrous for the entire family of the addict.
The Addict
Whether it’s methamphetamines or opioids, an addict may not always see their addictive behavior as detrimental. Especially when under the influence, it may be harder for them to see their addiction objectively. In their minds, they may not think that they have a problem. If they do believe that they have a problem, it may not be easy to seek help or take control of the situation. Instead, their behavior may become increasingly erratic and unpredictable as the addiction worsens. They may result to stealing, lying, or hiding things in an effort to cover up their behavior or to further their addiction. While it may be difficult to see, an addiction is a disease. Once a dependency on a substance is developed, the mind and body make it difficult for an addict to break free. Even though addiction is considered a disease, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take its toll on every member of the family.
When a Parent Is an Addict
Parents who are addicts create a devastating reality for their children, especially if the children are young. During childhood, children rely on their parents to provide for their physical, temporal, and emotional needs. An addiction impairs the judgment and the ability of a parent to meet these needs. It can lead to children feeling neglected. Parents that are addicts rob their children of a healthy childhood. Children grow up without their parents as positive role models. In many cases, having a parent that’s an addict increases the child’s likelihood of developing an addiction as well. On top of the genetic factors, children who are raised in these situations are typically more exposed to drugs and alcohol, increasing their risk factor. As children grow, they may foster feelings of resentment toward their addicted parents. Their resentment may manifest itself in the form of behavioral issues or attachment problems.
When a Partner Is an Addict
Relationships are difficult enough without the added pressure of addiction. When one party suffers from addiction, it can lead to a toxic environment. The drug user may be angry, upset, and explosive, depending on their addiction. In some cases, the addict may recognize that their addiction is damaging the relationship. They may take strides to heal, giving their partner hope, only to have it dashed later by relapses. The partner of the addict may feel guilty or as if they are the reason for the addiction. In some cases, they may distance themselves from loved ones and isolate themselves from friends in an effort to hide their partner’s addiction. The embarrassment, fear, and feelings of failure are extremely common among those who have a partner suffering from addiction. They may attempt to “fix” their partner on their own instead of seeking professional help. Taking on this burden is not the responsibility of the partner. While support is necessary for recovery, shouldering the responsibility of the addict’s recovery could lead to the dissolution of the relationship.
When a Child Is an Addict
As a parent, it’s never easy to see your child deal with something hard. When a child is struggling with an addiction, it can unravel an entire family as parents try to pick up the pieces. Parents begin looking for a reason for the addiction. They may begin blaming each other or their other children, which only makes things worse. The blame game leads to other family relationships being damaged and more hurt to be caused. Typically, when a child is an addict, numerous confrontations, arguments, and interventions occur. If emotions aren’t in check, things may begin to escalate. These conflicts could result in more damage and turmoil within the family unit. Many couples struggle to balance their relationship as a couple and agree on a way to parent the addicted child. The guilt, anger, resentment, sadness, and embarrassment can be overwhelming as both parties struggle to come to terms with their child’s addiction.
While addiction destroys the life of an addict, it also deeply affects the members of their family. Those who are closest to them suffer great emotional and mental distress as the result of their actions. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction, consider A Better Life Recovery. Our Orange County long-term addiction care program is specifically designed to work with both addicts and their family members. By creating a safe and secure environment to heal, addicts can come leave their habits behind and cultivate healthy coping mechanisms to prevent future relapse. On top of instilling hope and helping addicts to break their addictions, A Better Life Recovery also offers family support options, education, and information. With our help, your entire family can begin to move on and heal from the devastating disease that is addiction.

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