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What are the Effects of Addiction on Family?

Image showing the effects of addiction on family members

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects not only an individual’s well-being but also the psychological and emotional state of their family members and friends. The effects of drug addiction and alcohol abuse on family members are severe. It is difficult to see a loved one change for the worse and become someone they are not. One of the adverse effects of drug addiction on a person’s life is unhealthy relationships with loved ones.

Drug and alcohol addiction can have both short-term and long-term impacts. A substance abuse problem can put a strain on happy, loving homes, destroying the family dynamic. Family members may become more guarded when a loved one who uses illegal substances behaves aggressively or hides their condition in secrecy. Addiction-related changes can also lead to failed marriages.

How Does Drug Addiction Affect Families?

Addiction affects everyone differently, and no two people will have the same experiences. The same is true for family members. There is no right or wrong way to handle addiction. Without having experienced the effects, it has a profound and difficult-to-understand control on a person’s body and psyche.

To satisfy the seemingly uncontrollable drive to abuse drugs, an addict tends to magnify their negative features and give up their favorable ones. It may make loving family relationships tense and challenging. It can convert a partner or family member who was once truthful and compassionate into someone who is deceptive and selfish. Immediate family members are typically affected differently by addiction.


When addiction enters a family unit, the children are likely to suffer. According to recent studies, one in every five children grows up with a parent who abuses substances. Most of the time, kids seem to carry on with their lives as usual, yet, they may exhibit behaviors and mental health issues like depression, difficulty falling asleep, or acting out in class. 

Since children are pretty adaptive, the effects might not become apparent until they are older. Most of the damage happens under the surface due to the normalization of addiction.


When an addiction problem arises in the setting of a marriage, spouses typically take the effect of it in the most transparent way. Selfishness and dishonesty can cause rifts in relationships because the person abusing drugs or alcohol cannot fully see the consequences of their actions. You, as the spouse, could feel upset, angry, guilty, or ashamed, but the important thing is to take a step back and concentrate on finding treatment options from a professional.


Parents may experience severe consequences if their young child develops a substance use disorder. It may be hard to avoid placing blame on oneself, yet fault and guilt are hard to use in this situation. In this case, the best actions you can take include learning more about addiction, getting professional help, and working with a family therapist.


Your siblings and cousins will be concerned for you and want to assist in your recovery. When individuals try to convince an addict that change is necessary, they often encounter resistance or even hostility. The best thing you can do is make it evident that you believe they need to enter treatment, but also focus on listening to their concerns, providing emotional support, and not supporting unhelpful behavior.

Effects of Addiction on Family Members

Many people think that dealing with an addiction is a very personal thing. However, partners, children, parents, and siblings of those battling addiction also experience emotional damage. They might also face financial, legal, medical, and other consequences.

Loss of Interest

Because addicted family members are prone to breaking their promises and commitments, their relationships suffer as a result. It’s important to remember that most of the time, the addicted individual intends to keep their promises, but the effects of the drugs prevent them from doing so. 

Because the addict fails to fulfill their obligations, their significant other may become irritated and respond with anger, weakening the family structure. They also have an increased risk of failing the commitments they make to their children. If this continues, the kid will struggle to build relationships with others because they lack trust. 

Increased Stress

Everyone affected by drug addiction deals with a stressful and often painful condition. A person’s active addiction causes a variety of stresses. Seeing a loved one develop substance abuse problems and undergo a negative transformation is heartbreaking. Added to this are the ongoing stress and inability to stop using. It can become a stressful and dysfunctional environment to live in.

Enabling is what frequently occurs when families and drug users are involved. Enabling occurs when a person allows an addicted family member to continue using drugs without any pushback. Even though a loved one has the best intentions, they may unintentionally enable the addiction. This enabling is done by taking up their responsibilities, providing them with money, making excuses for them, and other behaviors. As a result, a relationship may become imbalanced, and stressed.

Financial Problems

The potential financial issues that may result from drug addiction on family members are one of the often overlooked effects. Drug addiction is expensive and takes time and money to maintain as well as treat. Someone who abuses drugs may end up losing their job and other responsibilities. Once hooked, people will go to great lengths to get their drugs. This financial load will start to have an impact on the person’s family as well.

The individual may struggle to meet their family’s needs, including food, clothes, rent, and a roof over their heads. As a result, the entire family may experience severe financial strain.

Family members who enable a loved one’s addiction also participate in the family’s financial problems. These family members may believe they are helping when they provide money to the addict so that they may purchase alcohol or drugs. The enabling usually worsens the issue since it permits the individual to continue using drugs while depleting family finances.

Physical and Emotional Abuse

In addition to making the addict irrational in their behavior and actions, drug abuse will likely put others around them on edge. This implies that ordinary arguments can escalate into significant conflicts because everyone feels misunderstood.

With everyone acting out of character, physical violence may begin in addition to the emotional abuse already there. Addicts can be committers of abuse, but their fragility also makes them vulnerable to becoming victims.

Children of addicts may also become substance abusers. Some children may act out and misbehave to deflect blame from the addicted parent. As a result, they may be traumatized and succumb to substance abuse like their relatives. Abuse and addiction may create a cycle of death that can only break through effective treatment.

Confusion and Fear

Drug addiction can result in perplexing and perhaps terrifying changes in a loved one. They may become erratic, and it is uncertain how they would respond to certain situations. This fear and confusion might cause family members to be confused and reluctant to assist or interact with the individual.

Referring to emotional and physical abuse, this unpredictable behavior of the individual can result in abuse. This also holds true when children are present, as they may be more reserved and fearful towards their parents and siblings, producing an environment of tension and terror for everyone engaged.

who is affected by addiction

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does drug addiction affect a person’s family?

Early exposure to a home split by drug usage can make children feel emotionally and physically neglected and dangerous. They may become psychologically and emotionally disturbed. Due to a parent’s substance misuse, children may experience intense guilt and self-blame.

What are the effects of drug abuse on family and society?

Possible effects of addiction on the family include:

– Emotional burden
– Economic burden
– Relationship distress or dissatisfaction
– Family instability
– Effects on children

How does addiction affect a person’s life?

People with addiction often have one or more associated health diseases, such as lung or heart disease, stroke, cancer, or mental health disorders. Imaging scans, chest X-rays, and blood tests can reveal the destructive effects of chronic drug use on the entire body.

How does addiction affect family and friends?

Addiction gradually declines trust and generates conflict and drama. Typically, addicts do not respect themselves or others, lie, and make poor judgments. The combination fosters bitterness amongst friends and family. Chronic mental or physical health issues, ranging from depression to death, might emerge; this can generate stress for the addict’s friends and family.

Help Someone Get Sober with The Haven Detox

Having a family member with a substance abuse disorder is distressing, perplexing, and stressful. However, the situation is not hopeless. Treatment centers can assist individuals with drug addiction issues and their families.

We can assist you if you want to know how to convince someone to enter treatment. The Haven Detox-South Florida offers comprehensive and well-rounded addiction treatment programs. We can help your loved one in quitting drugs and alcohol.

We understand the difficulty of caring for someone who cannot remain sober, and we are here for you. Contact us at (561) 328-8627 immediately to talk with a professional and trained counselor who can address any questions you may have.

If someone in your family is dealing with substance abuse, you don’t have to go it alone. The Haven Detox in West Palm Beach, Florida takes a holistic approach to assist everyone in the family to get on the road to healing. If a member of your family is suffering from substance abuse, give us a call to see how we can help.

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