Early exposure to a household divided by drug use can leave a child feeling emotionally and physically neglected and unsafe. As a result, they may become more mentally and emotionally unstable. Children can develop extreme guilt and blame themselves for their parents' substance abuse. They may develop feelings of unworthiness or develop dysfunctional attachments in adulthood.
In extreme cases, children may be removed from the home and placed in foster care. One of the most serious ways that addiction affects the entire family is the increased risk of abuse. Family members are more likely to experience violence at the hands of an addict. Whether it's emotional, physical or sexual abuse, the risk increases.
Substance abuse by children is an area of great concern to parents. Studies show that 1 in 5 children grows up with a parent who abuses drugs or alcohol. If a parent is struggling with an addiction or substance abuse problem, the effects of that disorder will most likely play a role in the child's development. This is especially serious in single-parent households where children have no one else to turn to.
They're also likely to forget about the promises they make to their children. If this becomes a trend, the child will have difficulty establishing bonds with other people, since he does not know how to trust. This loss of trust often results in broken marriages and dysfunctional children. Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship, especially among people closest to a person.
Drug addiction can end up bringing out the best in someone, resulting in lying, making excuses, and not keeping promises. As time goes on, family members may end up losing trust in a person by failing to fulfill their obligations. This can cause mistrust and frustration. Worst of all, addiction undermines the loving and trusting relationships that maintain a healthy family.
Children may be forced to play a parental role in the case of parents who are no longer able to function independently. Spouses can hide their addictions from their partners, lying about their actions or expenses. Parents of addicted children can do their best to rescue a son or daughter from a destructive lifestyle, only to experience the anguish of seeing their child return to that lifestyle over and over again. Restoring those relationships, which were often damaged long before substance abuse began, requires time, patience, and the support of addiction professionals.
Brothers and sisters of addicts in drug-affected families are often referred to as “invisible victims.”. Social workers can help by encouraging their clients who abuse substances to take precautions to avoid pregnancy and by providing education about the risks of drug use by the mother in the developing fetus. The best thing you can do for someone who is affected by substance abuse is to take care of yourself so that you can help, care for them, and support them. These factors can create a destructive cycle in which substance abuse causes emotional pain or mental instability, triggering an even greater desire for alcohol or drugs.
Now that you know the effects of drug addiction on family members, it's important to think carefully about your next steps. We have several online addiction guides that will give you an inside view of addiction and how it affects everyone involved. Most of the time, the impact of substance abuse on families can be significantly diminished with open and honest communication. Over the course of their lives, more than 21 million Americans aged 12 and older have had a substance abuse problem, including alcohol and drug addiction.
Many people tend to focus on the physical effects of drug addiction rather than on the impact of substance abuse on families. Every person who abuses alcohol or drugs affects the life of a child, parent, sibling, spouse or partner. There is no doubt that substance abuse by parents interferes with children's physical and emotional development, but addiction also affects the health of the family as a whole. Drug addiction affects several different aspects of a person's life, one of which is to ruin relationships with loved ones.
However, statistics indicate that the substance abuse problem affects people from all walks of life, including parents, children, spouses and couples living in otherwise “normal” households. One part of drug addiction treatment is repairing these relationships and building a stronger bond with loved ones. As a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), David works closely with area treatment centers, recovery-oriented nonprofits, as well as being a keynote speaker at several recovery-focused events. .