Some people think that substance use is a personal choice. In reality, substance addiction almost always disrupts family life in traumatic ways. Spouses, parents, and children may all suffer from the devastating effects brought by a loved one’s addiction. This is true for people of all ages.
Erosion of Trust Among Family Members
Because many people with substance addiction hide their problems with lies and deception, their family members may distrust them. Conflicts become commonplace as parents distrust teenagers who use drugs with their friends. Spouses have marital tensions due to financial difficulties caused by one person’s hidden addiction. Relatives become guarded for fear of bad influence.
Sometimes people with addictions develop compulsive or violent behaviors that physically or emotionally harm other family members. In most instances, communication becomes more frustrating, and the person with addiction feels isolated.
These negative family dynamics are hard to overcome even when people seek treatment. Recovering individuals still need to navigate eroded trust and projected negative attitudes from family members.
Addiction Harms Young Children
Children who grow up in a home with a parent who has substance addiction are at a higher risk of using substances themselves when they grow up. This may be because witnessing the trauma of parental addiction and disorders at home may create lasting psychological stress and emotional pain for the child. When the children of addicted parents grow up, they tend to consider substance use as a valid option for self-soothing.
Having parents who are preoccupied with substances can also create delays in learning and development in children. These delays put children at a disadvantage and may lead to emotional and mental disorders. Children in homes with addiction may develop feelings of unworthiness. In the worst scenarios, parental addiction may cause children to be removed from the home and placed in foster care.
The Challenges of Teenage Addiction
Families with teenagers who use drugs or alcohol tend to experience devastating changes. Teen addiction can be traced to many factors, such as genetics, early exposure to parental addiction, or peer pressure. The negative effects of teen addiction may be lasting because adolescents are at a critical phase of brain development. Substances may cause permanent changes to their brain structures.
Many parents experience tremendous distress when their teenagers develop substance addiction and want to run away from home. Lacking the necessary coaching to properly intervene, the confrontational response of these parents may push troubled teenagers further away. Some families may be so concerned about their image that they do not want their children to begin treatment. But delaying intervention can only make matters worse.
Addiction of Young Adults
College students or young adults may also grow into using substances after they gain more independence from parental monitoring. Substance use-related incidents occur more frequently on college campuses than in other places. Even when young adults begin working, they can pick up the habit due to work-related stress or socializing needs.
Addiction tends to take deeper root in people before they turn age 25. With the high accessibility of illicit drugs in the community, young adults may form tolerance and addiction in these years. They might also form friend circles in these socially active years. Hanging out with friends who normalize the use of substances can drive them deeper into addictive habits.
Dealing With Substance Addiction in the Family
No matter what the family structure looks like, having someone with substance addiction can become very challenging. The risk for young children in the home must first be mitigated.
Family members should motivate their loved ones to get professional help. Meanwhile, the family should get educated about addiction and recovery to better support their loved one. When communicating with a family member about his or her addiction, the family should stay calm and nonconfrontational. Love and support should be affirmed.
The family member should understand how their addiction-related behaviors are affecting the entire family. The family should express their concerns and willingness to help. If a family is not ready for such conversations, a professional interventionist can be hired to communicate with the addicted family member.
Recovering individuals have a higher chance of healing if they get support from family members. A treatment facility that uses family-based therapy or counseling should be sought. Experienced therapists will coach family members on how to set up healthy boundaries so that the home environment provides a relaxing and conflict-free place for the family member’s recovery.
Family members need to learn how to practice self-care. Common techniques include taking time for oneself, meditation, breathwork, and mindfulness. Support groups are available to learn from other families with similar situations.
In sum, this journey can be easier after finding people to walk alongside the family during this journey.
Are you aware that substance addiction brings many negative effects to family life? Do you know how to help your family heal while you are going through recovery? You can work with health professionals who adopt a family-based treatment approach by involving family members in the process. At Casa Recovery, we have a group of experienced health professionals who specialize in supporting recovering individuals and their families. Our team addresses a wide range of co-occurring health issues, including mental health concerns, eating, and sleep problems. We have a range of other programs to involve and support family members of recovering individuals. Your treatment team will work with you to provide customized efficient and effective treatment methods that have been developed and applied in clinical settings. You cannot find a better team than what we offer at Casa Recovery. Call today at (888) 928-2272.