Parents and Family Circle 3


When talking about the effects of addiction, the conversation often focuses on the addict. However, substance abuse and addiction are not an isolated incident, the actions and consequences of the addicted individual can impact their family. In a lot of situations, the family suffers along with their loved one. Unfortunately, the person in need of help does not realize the issues created by addiction and the family that’s affected.

How Does Addiction Affect Families?

A family member who is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction has a disease. This disease does not just affect the person who is addicted. A person who abuses alcohol or drugs may behave in an unpredictable, forgetful, and erratic. When the person with addiction issues recognizes the issues, saving your family is possible. Addiction can impact your family dynamic in several ways.

Places Family Members in the Role of a Caretaker

When you suffer from addiction, your mind and body are affected by the constant use of these substances. The abuse of these substances can lead to the develop diseases, disorders, and illnesses. Acquiring some of these illnesses can cause family members to feel as if they need to take care of you. Caretaking can require a lot out of a person and even start to affect that person’s health. A caretaker will forget about their needs and begin to focus on the needs of the person who suffers from an addiction.

Financial Instability

Some addicts may do anything to facilitate their habit, including steal money or valuables to finance their addiction. The effects of addiction may cause a person to lose their employment, causing the family to experience a financial hardship. In extreme cases, when addiction can take a significant toll on the household’s ability to maintain their homes and lifestyle.


Some addicts may realize that their behavior is problematic and begin to withdraw from friends and family. This isolation may be a protective measure to prevent family members from seeing the effects of their addiction. Ironically, the act of isolation can create separation in the family that can cause you to lose contact with them. In the process, you may be eliminating an important and positive support system.

Conflict Among Family Members

Negativism is a common side effect of addiction. Negativism occurs when all communication among family members is a negative. This type of activity can create a harmful environment when family members start to show open hostility towards each other by condemning and making disparaging remarks to each other. This behavior can be normalized, helping perpetuate the negative cycle of drug and alcohol abuse.


Alcohol and drugs can have an adverse effect on a person’s personality. Substance abuse can also cause them to act in a manner that they wouldn’t normally. Because of the decrease in inhibitions, the addict may be more prone to acting in an aggressive or violent manner. The abuse can be verbal and physical in nature and can be directed at anyone, including spouses and children.


Family members who do not have substance abuse issues may become codependent with the person who has substance abuse issues. They may try to control the behavior of the abuser because they feel they can no longer take care of themselves. They may become complicit in their actions and ignore their feelings to maintain a peaceful environment.

It’s very unusual for the behavior of a person suffering from an addiction to have to effect on the members of their family. These family members are often forced to deal with situations that are created by the drug or alcohol addiction. While this issue can take a toll on families, saving your family is possible. Addiction and family counseling is the best way to help someone who is suffering from addiction. When the person is on the road to recovery, the family can also begin to heal.

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