Addiction is a Family Disease
The effects of addiction are rarely limited to the person with the addiction. Everyone around him or her is affected in some way. Family members are often forced to pick up the slack, make excuses for his or her behavior, and potentially endure abuse. In many cases, extended family members have to help financially and help raise children whose parents are unable to care for them. For these reasons, addiction is a family disease.
How Parental Addiction Impacts Children
According to Psychology Today, 1-in-5 children grow up in a home where a parent abuses drugs or alcohol. This can create poor self-image, loneliness, guilt, anxiety, feelings of helplessness, fear of abandonment, and depression in children. These children are at a greater risk for behavioral/emotional problems and are four times more likely to develop their own addiction. They are also more likely to have difficulty dealing with stress and to marry an alcoholic or abusive spouse later in life.
Being the Parent of Someone Struggling with Addiction
No matter how old a parent’s kids are, discovering that your child has an addiction problem can be difficult. It may cause parents to question their parental abilities or decisions they’ve made. Parents often blame themselves for the development of the substance use disorder.
The effects of drug addiction on family members extends heavily to grandparents. According to the U.S. Census, the number of children being raised by their grandparents skyrocketed from 2.4 million in 2000 to 4.9 million in 2010. Two of the primary causes of this increase are addiction and mental disorders.
Being the Spouse of Someone Struggling with Addiction
Substance abuse problems are linked to higher divorce rates and the sober partner having to carry an unfair share of the household responsibilities. When both spouses are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the household atmosphere can become much more toxic. Each partner can feed off of and enable the other. This will likely lead to deterioration of the relationship, as both partners will be primarily focused on feeding their addictions rather than their relationship or the household responsibilities.
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