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Addiction Affects Family Dynamics

Addiction Affects Family and Addiction Help - Bergand Group

Living with addiction is one thing, but many people don’t take into consideration that addiction affects family as well as the individual.  If you are struggling with substance abuse, your loved ones may also be having difficulty on a day to day basis.  If it’s someone else in your family rather than you who is dealing with this issue, then it’s likely you’ve been impacted by that person’s habits and want to see them get addiction help.

How Addiction Affects Family Members and Prevents Addiction Help

A household where addiction is present puts stress on everyone involved.  What used to be the “normal” state of things is often vastly warped to be an environment of tension and deceit.  “The drug user as well as family members may bend, manipulate and deny reality in their attempt to maintain a family order that they experience as gradually slipping away.”  People typically shy away from change, particularly from what they perceive to be negative change, and therefore are highly averse to admitting that there is a huge problem that needs to be addressed under their own roof.  Unfortunately, this is when things can get out of control and become especially painful to deal with; it also makes people more resilient toward getting addiction help.

Addiction affects family members of all ages and situations and falls particularly heavily onto the shoulders of children.  Growing up in an environment of great intensity and unpredictability can set kids up for a more turbulent adult life.  “In their youth, children of alcoholics or drug dependent parents (COAs) may feel overwhelmed with powerful emotions that they lack the developmental sophistication and family support to process and understand.”  As the situation fails to improve, that child will likely develop a negative response and could even become an addict themselves in the future.

When substance abuse is present within a household, the child’s understanding of routine and normalcy is thrown to the wind.  The addiction affects family dynamics, such as the way that a parent relates to a child, and can unfortunately serve as the basis for a new, much more negative foundation.  Previous notions of trust, “support and stability” break apart as the addiction becomes the central focus of the family and creates a serious sense of chaos.  Unfortunately, that chaos has a gradual introduction into the family life and so it’s easier for people to fail to notice the effects that it has, let alone to seek addiction help.

In these situations, there is usually some amount of shifting roles, of older siblings, for example, taking on much more responsibilities to fill in for parents who may be out of the picture physically or mentally.  The presence of addiction affects family connections, often preventing members within to feel comfortable enough to rely on each other in fear of things breaking father apart.  Of course, this can make things worse by building up a kind of pressure, compounding issues until they are released either in an explosive argument or in other behaviors, likely negative.  Children and adults alike are forced to carry burdens that they would never have felt without the pressure of a family member’s substance abuse.

Though there is a lot of avoidant behavior generated by nervousness toward open communication in general, discussing the situation of a family member’s addiction can be especially painful.  Without that conversation, though, they may never realize how badly they need to reach out for addiction help.  Also, more “intense emotions” may arise and wreak havoc, especially in children who may not know how to handle the situation or even understand it.  “If this highly stressful relational environment persists over time, it can produce cumulative trauma” which includes the physical and emotional repercussions.

Maybe there are no easy or simple solutions to facing up to how addiction affects family members, but communication and support are crucial pieces of the process.  It may take an external source to work out these issues and to encourage the addicted person to seek out help, but without an attempt to make changes for the better at home, there’s a good chance that the situation will stagnate or even deteriorate.  For more information about the ways in which addiction affects family, or to get addiction help for someone you care about, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center, and offers addiction help and support for those who are struggling.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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