Why Is Alcoholism Considered a Family Disease?

When we think about alcoholism, we often assume that the only person affected by this condition is the person addicted to alcohol. Since only one person may be drinking, you may wonder why is alcoholism considered a family disease. Addiction has far-reaching impacts on other family members — not just the addict. Unfortunately, these impacts can often be overlooked when addressing alcohol rehab treatment for the addict. 

What Impacts Does an Alcoholic Have on Their Family?

For starters, as alcohol use increases and the person goes from drinking occasionally to dependence to addiction, the impacts will gradually become more noticeable. So why is alcoholism considered a family disease? Some of the more common impacts an alcoholic has on their family include:

The alcoholic becomes more preoccupied with drinking. 

As a result, they no longer have the desire to dedicate their time and energy to spend with their family. Even though deep down they still care, their addiction has taken over their life. They get to the point where they become more concerned over where they are getting their next drink and when. As such, they are no longer concerned about eating dinner as a family, being present for family game nights, spending quality time with their family, and so on. 

Additionally, the desire to drink may impact other areas of the person’s life. For instance, schoolwork may suffer or a student athlete may suddenly stop playing a sport he once loved.

Alcohol abuse changes the behaviors of the alcoholic. 

The more a person drinks, the more alcohol gradually starts affecting various behaviors. Initial changes include:

  • Slowed Response Times
  • A Willingness to Take Risks
  • Slurred Speech
  • Balance and Mobility Issues
  • Difficulties with Reasoning and Rationalizing

Eventually, other irregular behaviors can start to emerge, such as violence, aggression, anger, and dishonesty. This can lead to uncomfortable situations for family members when attempting to coexist with the alcoholic.

Alcoholism could impact the alcoholic’s employment status.

Alcohol addiction can get to the point where the alcoholic needs to drink just to get through their day, even while at work. Eventually, this will catch up with them, and they could lose their job. Without a job to support the family, everyone suffers.

Alcoholism can affect one’s education.

In families with teenagers and young adults, who develop alcohol addiction, their substance abuse problem can affect their educational opportunities. Their disease can prevent them from wanting to do well in school. 

They may quit sports and other extracurricular activities. People with substance abuse disorder may even quit school. Their addiction leads to conflict in the family between the alcoholic, their parents, and their siblings. 

Siblings are Affected by Alcoholism.

Parents and guardians are not the only people affected by their child’s alcoholism. Siblings often get caught in the whirlwind of addiction, too. Younger siblings may not have their needs met because parents are focused on their older addicted child. Younger children, too, may not understand why their older brother is acting strangely or isn’t spending time with them. Because younger siblings often look up to their older siblings, the younger child may believe that drinking is a way to fit in.

Why is Alcoholism Considered a Family Disease: Because Treatment Needs to Include the Whole Family

There are several reasons why alcoholism is a family disease. Simply treating the alcoholic does not address the other impacts their drinking has had on their family. By including the family in alcohol rehab treatment, it allows everyone the opportunity to heal and rebuild damaged relationships. Doing so further helps create a supportive sober living environment for the entire family when the recovering alcoholic is ready to return home. Additionally, the family is able to resolve issues that arose, like the impacts the alcoholic’s change in behavior has had on the family. 

Furthermore, if there is a family history of addiction, addressing the problem as a family will provide the groundwork that the young adult needs to being his recovery journey. If there are environmental factors, such as one or both parents suffering from alcoholism, sobriety plans for after rehab can be made to support the young person’s continued recovery.

Getting Help with Alcohol Rehab in Los Angeles

Struggling with alcoholism has impacts on your family. When you are ready to get help and take the first steps to recovery, contact New Life House today. We have young adult recovery communities in the Los Angeles area.

Our facilities and alcohol rehab treatment programs help support young men and their families through our Family Program. We provide a caring, supportive, safe, happy, healthy, and sober living environment, free from distractions that allow you to form bonds with other recovering addicts your own age for a life-long support system. 

Together, we can help you and your family achieve long-lasting success in recovery.

Last Updated on May 24, 2022


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