Addiction is a complex disease. Its effects reach far beyond the mental and physical impacts experienced by the person directly struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction. The mental, social, and physical health effects of addiction frequently extend to those closest to the addict, many of whom have never used a drug or drank alcohol. Family members often struggle to help their addicted loved ones seek or accept addiction treatment.
Why Is Addiction Called A Family Disease?
No matter how close or distant your family may be, the decisions made by individual family members impact others directly or indirectly. When one family member struggles with addiction, it can negatively affect all family members by increasing their stress and anxiety. Family members experience feelings of responsibility, guilt, anger, sadness, and confusion, among others.
Addiction is often called a family disease because, unfortunately, no member of the family is immune to the impacts of addiction. Family members may experience new or worsened mental and physical health problems due to their intense focus on their loved one with an addiction over their own health-related needs. Ongoing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are common among those closest to the addict. Family members also face financial difficulties stemming from supporting (and sometimes enabling) their loved one’s habit. In some cases, financial problems are voluntary; however, in others, they have been stolen from, helped to pay legal fees, or provided food and housing for their loved ones.
Ongoing addiction and substance abuse by a family member have particularly adverse impacts on children in the family. Children often experienced heightened rates of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and diminished academic success. Unfortunately, for children, the impacts of addiction often do not stop as they grow or leave home. Children who grow up surrounded by or witnessing addiction often struggle to find healthy relationships as they enter adulthood, experience higher divorce rates, and have an increased likelihood of turning to substance abuse in the future.
How to Resolve the Effects of My Drug Addiction on Family Members
Addiction is a family disease, and it is essential to remember that one person cannot repair the damage caused by addiction. To begin healing, each member of the family unit must start with appropriate self-care. Self-care does not need to be extravagant; however, it must focus on improving your mental, physical, and social health. It can also be beneficial to utilize one of the many support groups available to help individuals and families facing addiction. If self-care and support groups are not enough to help heal family conflict, you and your family may benefit from professional treatment.
Professional mental health and addiction treatments can help your family work to improve their communication skills while reducing anxiety and depression among family members. There are many various professional treatment options, including individual therapies, group therapies, and family therapies.
Seek Help for Addiction at Rise in Malibu
It is essential to remember that no single individual can “fix” the difficulties brought on by addiction. As a loved one of someone struggling with addiction, you cannot take too much responsibility for the behavior of others. In the end, the individual is responsible for their choices; however, you can offer assistance and support when appropriate.
Addiction is, indeed, a family disease. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder or you are the family member of someone struggling, research treatment options to help yourself and your family begin healing through sobriety and recovery. If you are ready to seek addiction treatment or you are wondering how addiction treatment services at Rise in Malibu may be able to help your family, contact us today.