Addiction & The Family
Addiction does not just affect individuals—it affects
entire families. Regardless of the
substance abuser’s age or family role, it damages family structures in the
affects familial relationships by decreasing stability at home, creating a lack
of unity, and fostering a chaotic family dynamic. Parents who abuse substances cause
severe familial dysfunction and can induce self-esteem problems in children. Parental
substance abuse also leads to a sense of helplessness in children, as there is
nothing children can do to change their parent’s behavior. If the
drug abuser is a child, the family tends to either enable destructive behavior
or feel helpless to stop it.
abuse can also cause financial problems for families, leaving family members
frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted. Addicted persons (and sometimes their family
members) have trouble meeting work obligations, because they put addiction-related
behaviors and expenses above other responsibilities.
associated with addiction decrease the mental and physical health of both addicts
and family members. Furthermore, drug or alcohol abusers sometimes display mood
swings that hinder healthy functioning and open the door for physical violence
in the home.
Getting help for the whole family.
family members are willing to take on the hard work of recovering along with
their addicted loved one, both will benefit from improved relationships;
better communication; and a happier, more satisfying life.
What is family addiction
Family addiction treatment refers to
treatment programs and therapies geared toward families and loved ones of
addicts. It typically examines the family’s daily life and interactions and
attempts to identify dysfunctional areas. These areas might include power
hierarchy, rules, alignments, communication,
enabling and codependency. Family
therapy also educates family members on the disease of addiction and the roles
they inadvertently play in it.
Benefits of family addiction treatment.
Family addiction treatment not only
involves family members in the healing process, it is essential for preventing
the cycle of abuse and addiction from passing from generation to
generation. Family treatment programs also provide added benefits such as
opening lines of communication; preventing divorce and separation; protecting
the family from additional stress and anxiety; and giving loved ones a sense of
empowerment and control.
Various options are available for
family addiction therapy.
• Residential and outpatient
typically offer programs and
counseling for addicts’ families. Treatment is necessary for every family member, because
every family member has been negatively impacted by addiction.
• Al-Anon and Alateen are 12-Step support groups for families and friends of alcoholics that allow attendees to
share experiences and offer hope and encouragement to one another. Together,
they make up the
Al-Anon Family Groups. Al-Anon and Alateen
meet at locations across the country.
• Professional Interventions can be extremely helpful in
confronting the addict and helping him to make the decision to begin treatment.