It is a common belief that addiction has a limited reach. Drug addiction is not just a disease of the addicted family member. Concern about the addict, to the emotional, financial, and psychological impacts are just some ways in which drug addiction affects the entire family. In short, addiction is a family disease; affecting and impacting all family members including parents, children, and siblings.
What Is Addiction?
In general, addiction is a term used to describe a substance use disorder. Substance use disorders occur when an individual has a dependence on one or more drugs, including alcohol. The addicted individual often feels a physical, mental, and emotional need to use regardless of the consequences to major areas of their life. Addiction is not a moral or character weakness, instead it is a result of a complex interworking of genetic factors, mental health disorders, and environmental influences that can trigger dependency and addiction. It is classified as a chronic disease that requires life-long commitment to treatment in order to remain abstinent and avoid relapse.
How Drug Addiction Affects the Entire Family
Drug addiction strains relationships, creates financial concerns, and can increase other family members’ risk of substance abuse. In addition, living in the same home as an addict is difficult when family members do not know how to help or react to the addict’s behavior.
It can be difficult for parents to admit their son has a substance abuse problem. They can blame themselves for their son’s addiction. They also worry about their son accidentally overdosing, causing self-harm, or the police showing up on their doorstep in the middle of the night. Parents can feel powerless as they watch their son spiral deeper and deeper into addiction. Unfortunately, many parents do not know how to help their son and often enable his addiction.
Children of Parents Who Are Addicts
When one or both parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol, it causes children to believe that abusing substances is normal behavior. In addition, children can feel like they have no one to support them or feel the need to protect their addicted parent. As a result, they often are forced into being the adult while taking care of their parents or siblings.
Statistics show that children who grow up in addicted households are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol themselves. This is another striking example of how drug addiction affects the entire family.
Siblings, regardless of birth order, are not immune to the affects of their sibling’s addiction. Parents who are contending with a drug addicted child may overlook the needs of their other children, because addiction is an all-consuming disease — yet another example of how drug addiction affects the entire family. Often, siblings may resort to attention-seeking behaviors or look for a way to escape the turmoil of addiction, including starting to use drugs themselves.
Younger siblings who look up to their older brothers may start using drugs or alcohol in order to be “just like their brother.”
As your loved one’s addiction worsens, their emotions and moods become more unstable. They become erratic and unpredictable. Sometimes their responses become aggressive and violent where they could physically, sexually, or emotionally abuse other family members.
Importance of Getting Help with Drug Addiction
When a family member struggles with addiction, family members need to educate themselves on how they help their loved one. There are support groups for families of addiction, rehab centers that offer advice and family counseling, that can provide guidance on how best to help your the addicted young man in your life.
By taking the time for the family to learn about addiction and how it affects their loved one, they will be in a better place to provide support and assistance to encourage them to seek drug addiction treatment. Furthermore, getting into groups like Al-Anon can provide the support that is essential for individuals who have an addict in their lives.
Why You Need to Get Help for the Addict
Ongoing drug abuse increases dangers for the entire family, not just the addict, which could include:
- Your son could become violent and injure other family members.
- The addict brings other addicts into the home.
- The valuables in your home are stolen.
- Your child overdoses and dies.
- Addictive behavior by other children in the family
- The addict gets into trouble with the police and ends up in jail
- The young man engages in risk-taking behavior in order to fund their habit
- Your child develops a mental health disorder.
How drug addiction affects the entire family will vary between families. However, the dangers of drug addiction and accidental overdose are always present, no matter what substance is being abused.
Drug Addiction Treatment Options for Young Men in Southern California
If you want to get help for your family, your son, your brother, or yourself so the entire family can overcome drug addiction, New LIfe House in Southern California is here to provide the support and assistance you need.
We offer custom-tailored drug addiction treatment options for young men. Our program options include group counseling, one-on-one counseling, family counseling, nutrition education, exercise, and other activities that promote sobriety and forming life-long friendships with other recovering addicts in their program for ongoing support.
Aside from our residential treatment options, we also offer:
- Outpatient Programming
- Educational Programming
- Family Programming
- Life Skills Programming
- Alumni Programming
Please feel free to contact us by filling out our online “contact us” form, emailing us at [email protected], or calling (888) 357-7577 to learn more about our drug addiction treatment options and how we can help your family overcome drug addiction today!