Addiction and Recovery: 7 Ways Substance Addiction Affects You and Your Family

Addiction and Recovery: 7 Ways Substance Addiction Affects You and Your Family

Drug abuse and other substance addictions are at record highs in the UK as of 2018, with reports of misuse and death increasing every year. According to the article “Statistics on Drug Misuse: England 2018,” one in twelve adults ranging from the ages 16 to 59 admitted to having used an illicit drug at least once in the previous year. These statistics are staggering, and the effects are just starting to be felt widely.

Substance addictions are dangerous, but not just to you as the user. These addictions can be deadly to you, and harmful to your family as well.  If you are addicted to a substance, you may not have considered these 7 ways that your drug abuse is affecting you and your family.

  1. Substance abuse can cause long-term mental health issues.

Mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand with substance dependence, but which one comes first?  Drugs and alcohol are frequently used by people to ease the symptoms of depression or other mental concerns, or to cope with problems. However, adding substances can cause side effects and worsen the symptoms you were originally trying alleviate.

Alcohol and other substances affect the brain, causing an imbalance in the hormones and chemicals that run your body and control your moods. With continued use of these drugs, your brain begins to lose normal cognitive functioning, causing problems with thinking, balance, functioning, and even eventually resulting in severe mental health problems like depression and psychosis.

  1. With addiction can come the loss of relationships.

People who abuse drugs often do so in place of their normal relationships with their family and friends. This can happen gradually as you lose interest in doing activities that you previously enjoyed because you’d rather be using. It may also be sudden as those who love you pull away before you realize there is a problem, and you are faced with the loss of your spouse, children, or other loved ones.

  1. A toxic abuse situation can result in negative atmospheres and mindsets.

Whether it is because you are becoming negative and hostile towards your family, or because they are blaming you or themselves for the addiction problem, inevitably substance abuse will result in a toxic atmosphere.

While you are using, you either consciously or subconsciously will realize that you should not be, and this fosters lies and hidden secrets as you find new ways to support your drug habit and engage in the use of them. The emotional turmoil that will ensue can cause pain and suffering to your family and friends, and eventually end in the loss of that relationship.

  1. Your substance use will cause new roles and dynamics in your relationships.

Those family and friends who choose to stay throughout your addiction will slowly shift their roles from spouse, child, parent, or friend to caretaker or enabler.

Caretakers will feel that they must look after you to ensure that you don’t become mired further in your addiction, lose your job, your home, etc. This is a downward spiral because unless you choose to seek professional help in a treatment center like ARC, these consequences will most likely happen. Even though the caretaker is putting themselves in a no-win position, they will feel like a failure and place the blame on themselves.

Those who turn into enablers will, either knowingly or unknowingly, contribute to your habit by taking care of you when the drug makes you sick, lying on your behalf to keep you from losing your job or keep your drug use a secret, or covering for you in other ways that end up being detrimental to you both.

  1. Addictions take a toll on your financial stability.

Even if you continue to work, you will be using that hard-earned money to pay for your substance addiction. As you use more frequently and in larger amounts, you may find that you run out of financial resources to pay for your addiction and you may begin to take the money from other sources, like your mortgage payment or electricity bill. You might even find yourself stealing the funds from those you care about or using credit cards to buy your drugs.

If the addiction continues to progress, you may even lose your job. When you can’t contribute financially to your family’s stability, this causes extra stress to those who are affected.

  1. Exposing your children to abusive behaviors causes long-term mental damage and suffering.

Children who are exposed to drug use at a young age are often more likely to experiment with illicit substances in the future. Those who grow up in a home where drugs are frequently abused also have to live with the negative atmosphere that is fostered – from verbal abuse to physical abuse, lying, fighting, and arguing. This can cement an impression in a young child that this is what a relationship is supposed to look like, causing long-term problems.

  1. Physical damage and death can occur with chronic substance abuse.

Depending on the substance you abuse, you may experience outbursts of violent, manic, or depressive behaviors. Many drugs can also cause physical damage to the heart and lungs.  Ongoing use has been shown to cause kidney failure, liver damage, and sexual performance issues.

Whether you are a chronic user or brand new to the drug, you also run the risk of overdosing, which causes death in many cases.

Substance Abuse Has No Good Side To It

You can tell yourself that you can control your use, or that you can give it up any time you want to, but the sad fact is that there is no good side to drug use. A user may have a “feel-good” high while they are using the drug, but that feeling will go away and be replaced with the need to find it again, resulting in the never-ending search for the next fix.

The only way to save yourself and your family from this perpetual circle of addiction and pain is to seek treatment and end the cycle before irreversible damage is done.

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