How Addiction Affects Addicts and the Family
Addiction affects the the way addicts think, feel and behave. When these things about the addict change, family and loved ones are directly affected. Obtaining the drug becomes the addicts number one focus, and they will do whatever it takes. Some families try to hide the secret and deal with the problem privately. The problem with this is that the addict is not getting adequate treatment for their addiction. Other families will deny there is a problem, which only allows the addiction to continue and increase the negative consequences.
When families hide or deny the problem, they become enablers for their loved one. As the addiction continues and worsens, the family members continue to cover up the truth and make excuses for the behaviors. Soon the addict will notice many changes in their life. Suddenly the family will find their lives centered around the addiction problem and emotionally strained. If the addiction problem continues, the grief will continue for the family and loved ones.
If recovery is not sought by the addict, many will end up serving time in jail, suffering from severe health, financial, legal and social problems, and even having an early death. The longer the addict uses their drug of choice, the sooner the more they will suffer. While under the influence of drugs, users do things they normally would never do, such as steal, lie, cheat, hurt, commit suicide, murder and many other harmful actions. This is because drugs alter the thinking process of the user. Not only do drugs have these consequences, they have emotional and physical ones as well. Emotionally, most addicts will begin to suffer from depression, anger, guilt, shame, self-pity and many other psychological problems. These increase the chances of committing suicide for drug users. Physically, many drugs have harmful effects on the human body. Most of these effects are to the vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, lungs and kidneys. Some drugs also have many physical changes to one’s appearance, such as rotten teeth, unhealthy weight loss, sores on the body and many others.
Many family members think that they can change the addict, but many strain themselves only to find out they are in over their head. An addict’s family members and loved ones may feel like failures and blame themselves, because they could not help the addict stop their addiction. This creates emotional stresses on them. Not only will family members worry and suffer from emotional issues such as grief about their loved ones, many will suffer from financial problems as well. These financial problems can come from paying:
- Money paid to support the addict who is unable to work
- Legal fees the addict has gather from reckless behaviors
- Doctor bills when the addict needed medical attention in response to drug use
These are just a few of the many effects of addiction to the family and loved ones. The worst effect is when family and loved ones have to deal with the death of the loved one battling drug addiction. Many blame themselves and overcome with a guilt that many are never able to overcome.
Addiction has a strong effect on the family and friends of the addict, but there is hope. For those battling addiction or for those who have a loved one battling addiction, it is very important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Treatment will offer detox treatment, counseling, courses, relapse prevention and much more to help with all the problems with addiction. Some programs have programs that allow families and loved ones to join in the process. When the family is involved in the treatment process, the chances and recovery has a higher. Even thought it is not always required, it is a good idea for the family to be apart of the treatment process, because of the strong effects that the addiction has caused for them.
The first step to a family helping their loved one is through an intervention, in which they convince the addict to seek the appropriate treatment. Do not allow addiction to affect you and your loved ones any longer, get professional help.
About the Author
Marilyn Kegley works with http://www.medicaldetox.org to educate individuals about the dangers of substance abuse. After watching numerous loved ones struggle with addiction, her goal is to help as many people as possible get effective and successful rehabilitation treatment.