Here’s how an individual’s drug addiction affects the whole family


A battle with drug addiction is usually seen as a personal experience, but many forget that human beings are linked through relationships. The user is physically and mentally devastated, but it also affects the family. Whether it is the user’s spouse, children, siblings or parents, they suffer emotional damage as well as financial, legal and other consequences due to the addiction. They can be called secondary affected.

Family members depending on their experiences and personalities react to the user differently. Some are retreating, others are getting involved and actively participating in the recovery. In view of this, some responsible drug treatment centers like Lantana Recovery, Charleston are offering family support!

Here are some close family relationships that are affected and how they might react to the person who is recovering:

1. Traumatized children

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Samhsa), 1 in 8 children live with a parent who is an active drug user. Factors that affect children are whether they live with one or both parents and only one of them is users.

Children living with only one parent or whose two parents use are in the same situation. Children with a non-user parent may turn to them for support, but with both parents, it’s an emotional turmoil. These children develop physical signs and emotional feelings of unsafe living in an unpredictable environment. They also grow up to be emotionally unstable adults and develop extreme guilt and self-blame. Unworthiness is also one of the major feelings in these children. In extreme cases, they are removed from the drug addicts’ home and placed with foster families.

2. The spouses

Spouses are one of the most obvious and directly affected victims of drug abuse. Dishonesty and selfishness on the part of the users tend to make the marriage bitter for the spouse. The user is often blind to the full impact of their relationship. If the couple has children, the non-user is responsible for protecting them from the other spouse and also for monitoring their mental health. Sometimes drug addicts resort to physical and mental violence just to get what they want. Some spouses may seek professional help, but some act as a facilitator for the user.

3. Parents

Parents of children of all ages often blame themselves for not bringing them up. Being constantly urged on by concern for the well-being of their child causes emotional damage on tremendous levels. Parents are often hit financially as they try to support their child in the hope that they will turn around to satisfy their guilt or self-blame. According to the NCBI, the parents of these children form unhealthy addictive relationships with them as the child grows up. Parents are always advised to seek professional help if they are still the guardian of the child, such as teens or early twenties, and they are also advised to refrain from funding their unhealthy habits. .

4. Siblings and extended family

Siblings are often seen as the invisible victims of drug addiction. If the parents are drug addicts, the older child often takes on the role of parent to protect the younger ones. This change in relationships often sends them into a spiral of varying emotions. Older siblings can experience confusion, frustration, resentment, and shame towards themselves, their younger siblings, and most of the time, their parents as well. If the addict is an adult, his siblings may experience a sense of grief and loss because their brother is not the same person as before. Some adult siblings may experience financial loss because they support the drug user through their recovery.

Some roles to watch and watch out for when dealing with a drug addict as a family:

1. The facilitator

The facilitator is the one who takes care of everything that is not done by the addict. Financial, social, business and family responsibilities are one of the things. This type of person constantly makes excuses for the addict’s behaviors and often allows him or her to continue the addiction unconsciously.

2. The hero

The hero is often an older brother who is beyond his age and seems quite confident. It is often children who assume responsibilities in the absence of another parent or any support. In adulthood, they become obsessed with perfection.

3. The scapegoat

These children display mischievous and chaotic behavior and often have problems in school and in adulthood if left untreated.

4. The mascot

These people use humor as a coping mechanism to pretend that everything is fine at home. They are the stress relief for the family to maintain the comfort

5. The lost child

This child often engages in fantastic games for distraction and has difficulty developing relationships as an adult.

It is very rare that the effects of addiction are limited only to the user. Immediate family and sometimes extended family are both affected in one way or another. It is also important to take care of their emotions and mental health while the addict is recovering. Recovery is most successful when both parties receive help and understand each other equally.


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