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Drug and Alcohol Addiction: How It Affects Your Loved Ones

The number of people with substance abuse disorders in the U.S. is in the millions. Along with those who are struggling with addiction recovery, family members and close friends are also significantly impacted. Let’s take a closer look at how drug and alcohol addiction affects the loved ones of those with this disorder.

Increased Negativity

When all of the effects of addiction come together, the result is a general increase in negativity in households and social relationships. The mere existence of addiction can instantly increase the stress level of all in the household.

As time goes on and friends and family attempt to help, instances of miscommunication and arguments can become more frequent. The reason for this perpetually negative environment is due to the way an addiction causes the person to behave.

Common Behavior Patterns of Addiction

Regardless of the substance a person is using, the behavioral pattern of addiction is the same. They may become withdrawn from friends and family and be very secretive about their behavior. They may become defensive or even belligerent when asked about their activities or whereabouts.

Addicts often forgo sleep in favor of using, resulting in moodiness and irritability. Unpredictable behavior is another pattern; as a person’s addiction deepens, using becomes the dominant thought in their mind. Eventually, family, school, or work responsibilities fall by the wayside as the person’s sole focus becomes how, when, and where they can use.

Similarly, the activities that a person used to enjoy are gradually abandoned as they continue to go without drug addiction treatment. It may seem that suddenly they have a completely different life and new friends.  All of these behavioral patterns can cause a perpetually negative environment.

Impact on Finances

Adding to the negative effects of addiction is the financial impact that it can have on an individual and their loved ones. People who are addicted and who have abandoned their work obligations in favor of using may no longer have the resources to meet their financial obligations, let alone fund their addiction.

As a result, they may ask friends or family members for loans and may explain the need to get back on their feet as a reason for their request, only to use the money to buy their substance of choice. As their addiction grows, the chances of being able to repay the loans become less and less possible. This also can place a tremendous amount of strain on a person’s relationships with family and friends.

young injured man in hospital room sitting alone in pain worried

Physical Effects

Addiction has several frightening physical, mental, and emotional effects, both for the individual and those who love them. A number of physical problems can result from addiction, including rapid weight loss, heart problems, and cancer. The effect on families can include loss of sleep and concentration, as well as all of the additional stressors experienced when a loved one becomes hospitalized.

Trust and Stability

The family of a person who is addicted may begin to lose trust in them. Where they may once have held meeting their responsibilities in high regard, an addicted loved one may now place using as their first priority. The personality changes that occur as a result can cause family and friends to doubt their honesty. Sometimes, the destruction becomes simply too great for relationships to bear, and they cannot recover.

When trust erodes, so does stability. Marital relationships grow increasingly strained as the result of more arguments. However, in households with children, the effects of hearing and witnessing these arguments can have lifelong consequences on their own mental health, as can the dissolution of marital relationships.

Time with Loved Ones

Yet another of the many effects of addiction is the loss of time with loved ones. Because they’re so preoccupied with using, the time a person used to spend with their loved ones is now devoted to their addiction. Depending on how long the individual goes without treating addiction, a family may feel the stressful effects of not spending time with their loved one for several years.

It’s true that many of the effects of addiction can be remedied. Unfortunately, time is something that cannot be reclaimed, and so it is one of the most heartbreaking effects of addiction. If the person is a parent, they may miss their children’s milestones. They may also miss important family get-togethers and, as a result, may not get to spend time with ill or elderly loved ones before they are gone.

Every one of these losses can rob peace and joy from families and friends who are dealing with a loved one who is addicted. However, it doesn’t have to be this way; in getting support, families can learn how best to help their loved ones and get them the treatment they need so that healing can begin.

Treatment Options for Family Members

The stress that families and friends can experience as the result of a loved one’s addiction is very real and very significant. Treatment can be a great help in teaching families how to deal with addiction’s many facets. There are many groups, online and off, that can help families understand their role in addiction and help them to disengage to preserve their own mental and emotional health.

In addition to group support, family therapy is another option that can be a fantastic way to reopen the doors of communication and repair relationships. In addition, it can greatly increase the chances of successful treatment.

Treatment Options for the Individual

Addiction is a complex disease with any number of symptoms. As a result, there are a variety of treatment options that can be effective. Individualized and multi-faceted treatment that takes the mind, body, and spirit into account can offer a much higher degree of success than treating a single aspect of addiction.

Intensive outpatient therapy is a method of drug and alcohol detox treatment which allows the individual to decide when and where treatment is received. Designed for those who don’t require or who have already completed inpatient treatment, intensive therapy administers treatment in such a way that an individual can keep up with their work, school, and family obligations.

Intensive outpatient programs, called IOPs, offer both guidance and education as an individual goes through recovery, teaching individuals the skills they’ll need to first cope with the many mental and physical effects of sobriety, and then to avoid relapse and maintain sobriety for life.

As they receive this education, their addiction is treated via individual, group, and family therapy sessions which allow emotions to be shared in a safe space.

young happy couple after therapy session with psychologist

Compassionate Care, Expert Knowledge

The intensive outpatient programs offered by RECO Intensive have been designed to offer comprehensive treatment, flexibility, and support to those individuals and families who are struggling with the effects of addiction. The compassionate care we provide is administered not by one professional but by a team of experts to give the highest chance of recovery.

Medical doctors, primary health therapists, behavior health technicians, and case managers all share their knowledge and expertise with clients and each other. As participants, individuals receive education about chemical dependency, training to prevent relapse, as well as counseling and therapy.

This form of treatment is referred to as intensive because it requires participation several days per week over several hours. This level of commitment is required in order to administer thorough and continued treatment. As well, frequent attendance helps individuals to renew their commitment to being sober.

Addiction robs families of the joy and peace they once were able to enjoy. RECO Intensive detox centers can help restore harmony by helping families repair relationships as individuals receive the treatment they need. If it’s time to start dealing with the effects and consequences of addiction, RECO Intensive can help; just call (561) 501-2439.

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