Drug abuse is a disease that affects the entire family. It can destroy relationships and create emotional turmoil for your loved ones.
The Effects of Drug Abuse on Families
Different family units will experience different effects from their family member abusing drugs. Some of the most common effects include:
- Stealing, lying and mistrust – Once people become addicts, many turn to stealing and lying to try and hide the abuse. This kind of behavior creates mistrust and resentment within relationships and the family unit.
- Instability – People who suffer with addiction tend to be unreliable. This leaves the rest of the family to attend to the addict’s responsibility. This can cause a great deal of instability in the family unit as loved ones are let down.
- Conflict – Addiction leads to negativity when the addict communicates with his or her family. Resentment can lead to family members lashing out at each other. Criticisms and complaints tend to become the norm and leave everyone feeling unhappy.
- Financial distress – Drug abuse can lead to problems in the workplace, such as missed days, decreased productivity and even the loss of a job. Addiction results in a financial burden that can lead to families losing their homes or being unable to provide for their children. The addict then lands up replying on support from their family with even more strain placed on relationships.
- Denial and shame – When one person in the family unit becomes an addict, the entire family can suffer from denial and shame. Families try to work hard to hide the results of the addiction and start developing elaborate stories of denial.
Addiction and Co-dependency
According to the leading drug rehab in Chiang Mai, drug abuse affects personal relationships in very specific ways, usually with one of the partners, or even both, showing signs of co-dependency.
Symptoms of co-dependency include:
- Controlling behavior – Co-dependents believe other people can’t take care of themselves and that leads to them becoming controlling in all types of situations.
- Low self-esteem – Spouses try hard to please their partner, truly believing that if they make their partner happy, they will stop using drugs.
- Becoming dependent on other people’s approval – Co-dependents’ partners tend to put their own values aside to avoid rejection and make others happy. Their self-worth tends to be based on the approval of others and this in turn results in excessive people pleasing.
- Neglecting your own needs – Partners may think they are selfless in wanting to care for the addict’s needs, but this is an enabling behavior that is detrimental to the relationship.
Overcoming the Effects of Drug Abuse on a Family Unit
One of the best ways to help the family unit cope with the drug addict’s abuse is to involve the family in therapy and counselling. Together, the family can learn about addiction and co-dependency and how to support the addict instead of enabling him or her. Therapy can help family members rebuild their damaged relationships with the help of skilled counselors.
Drug rehabilitation is the first step towards recovery. Since the disease affects the entire family, it is a good idea to involve everyone in the recovery process.