- Written By Granite Recovery Centers
- Clinically Reviewed By Cheryl Smith MS,MLADC
- June 11, 2021
Substance use disorder can do a lot of damage to a person’s life, but it doesn’t stop with only one person. At Granite Recovery Centers, we’ve heard many heartbreaking stories from families that have come to us for help.
Families are affected by substance abuse in many ways. The story is different for each, but there are a few things we’ve noticed, so we incorporate family members into our rehab programs to help everyone confront the past and make a better future.
Understanding how substance abuse might affect your family is important because it can be a springboard to healing. Communication is key, so let us help you and your family talk about the following issues.
One danger of substance abuse is teen experimentation. The saying that the young will copy the old has some truth to it.
Children will likely follow the example of an older person in the household. This could be a parent or an older sibling. It doesn’t matter if the child knows the behavior is wrong and has been negatively impacted by the substance use disorder; that child might still develop curiosity toward the substance or another one. This could stop at experimentation, or it could develop into a substance use disorder.
Risk of Domestic Violence
Another hard truth is that the risk of domestic violence increases with substance abuse, and that could put every person in the household in danger. We’ve heard some tragic stories, but we’ve also seen families put their lives back together again after rehab.
Violence can occur in a household for various reasons. Sometimes, it happens because the person with the substance use disorder is going through some type of turmoil and can’t control themselves. Substance use disorder can create mood instability, which might turn violent.
Sometimes, the abuse happens for other reasons, or the person dealing with the disorder is having a bad day and doesn’t have a better way of unloading negative emotions. Whatever the reason, you can see why volatile domestic situations are dangerous for everyone you love and why something must be done. Our team at Granite Recovery Centers is ready for your call to put you on the path to a more peaceful existence.
Physical violence isn’t the only type of violence that could happen because of this substance use disorder. Verbal abuse is also likely and can be very hurtful. If it goes on long enough, it can lead to things like PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). This affects more than just adults: It can scar any children in the household.
Part of the reason family members affected by substance use disorder have a hard time forgiving each other is that these types of abuse take place. They are incredibly destructive, but solutions are available.
Financial stress also ends up impacting a family in different ways. Feeding a substance use disorder is costly, and it only gets worse along with the severity of the disorder.
An addiction could be manageable at first, but the reality is that it will become unmanageable at some point. This could lead to all sorts of problems related to money. Financial stress could be one reason there’s violence in the family, but it could also lead to families not eating as well as they should or missing important payments, like the electric bill or even the rent.
We don’t know what your family has been through because of your financial problems; we can only imagine. No family deserves to live under this kind of financial burden because of a substance use disorder.
Things can get so bad for families that some end up losing their homes and other assets because of the financial strain that substance use disorder causes. Help is necessary before things gets worse. After the family member becomes stable in their recovery, they can begin to rebuild.
One reason that families suffer financial strain as a result of addiction is employment problems. The person dealing with substance use disorder may provide some or all of the income that the family depends on to live. If this happens to be you, then you know how important your income is to your family. The problem is that a substance use disorder doesn’t recognize important roles in a family.
A person dealing with addiction forgets everything and only thinks about their substance of choice. This could mean overlooking things like personal hygiene, but it could also mean neglecting work.
It may start small, maybe a day late here or there, but it gets worse. At some point, you could lose your job, which could be devastating. If your substance use disorder hasn’t been properly dealt with, the chances of finding another job are low because you won’t care about employment in the throes of addiction. You do not want to put your family through this kind of stress, so please don’t hesitate to call Granite Recovery Centers. We can work with you to put you back on track.
Many of the drugs used by those with a substance use disorder are illegal. Even the ones that aren’t could cause legal trouble should you get caught under the influence while operating a vehicle.
An arrest would not only affect you but also impact every person in your household. Having a loved one get arrested is a devastating situation that can traumatize family members. Things can get worse if well-intentioned family members allow the use of illegal drugs in the household and get caught.
At that point, the person with the disorder won’t be the only person in legal trouble. Facing drug-related legal problems can create long-lasting repercussions that extend beyond the substance use disorder. This could make it harder for you and your family members to get a job in the future.
Feelings of Guilt
A substance use disorder leads to guilt. If the person going through this happens to be a teenager, then the parents often feel guilty. They might wonder if they spent enough time with the child or if they saw signs of trouble earlier but decided to ignore them. People can always think of a reason to feel guilty, and that guilt can tear families apart.
If you have a substance use disorder and you’re a parent, then the problems you’re causing will give rise to some guilt too. Maybe you will start to feel bad because your family isn’t eating well or you’re all losing your home.
There’s a lot to feel bad about. What’s worse is that an overwhelming feeling of guilt can lead to more problems, like more dependency. If not that, guilt can lead to conditions like depression, which can be dangerous if it goes untreated and gets worse.
Guilt is a hard feeling to live with, and it can be overwhelming. Keep in mind that this feeling will only increase if you continue without treatment. A lot of people with substance use disorder experience guilt as they face the heartbreak they’ve caused. One thing we do at our rehab facilities is teach you and your family how to approach this subject.
Family neglect is another issue that substance use disorder can cause. Neglect is one of the worst things that can happen to children because a child needs plenty of attention, love and care in addition to having their basic needs met.
Substance use disorder can make a person forget parental duties and cause psychological damage to their children that will continue to affect them throughout their lives. The only thing that matters to someone suffering from this disorder is when and how they’re going to fulfill the need for the substance. It can become an obsession that forces them to neglect their children. The neglect is emotional, but it can also be physical, which could become dangerous. Sadly, many adults face mental health issues because of childhood neglect.
Relationships between the person suffering from the disorder and his or her children may be healed. We’ve heard both sides of this story, and our hearts melt every time. The bond between parent and child shouldn’t be broken, but this disorder is incredibly devastating in more ways than you can imagine, which is why it’s so important to seek help as soon as possible.
Substance use disorder may increase the chances of a family breaking apart. This can lead to many issues that stem from family separation.
Sometimes, addiction leads to divorce. Another possibility is that parents might get separated from their children because they’re deemed a danger to them.
All these situations are extremely difficult to bear and quite heartbreaking. Things may get better with hard work, and any improvement is better than nothing at all, but it’s easy to see why families fall apart because of this disorder.
The violence linked to addiction could be the reason for strain on a family and could lead to a breakup. You should know that we’ve seen individuals fall deeper into their substance use disorder because of a family breakup. These separations are incredibly brutal because these relationships are important.
A person who’s already dealing with this disorder is going to find coping with this change even more challenging. It’s important to follow through with your desire to overcome the substance use disorder for everyone’s sake.