BY: Lori Miles
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Substance abuse is often thought of as an individual disease. Unfortunately, one person’s addiction usually has a ripple effect on family members. Let’s look at how substance abuse takes a toll on families.
Destruction of Trust
Trust takes a long time to develop and an instant to break. Someone suffering from substance abuse may lie or deceive others to keep their secret from family members. Furthermore, due to relapse issues, any trust that is gained may be broken over and over again.
Growing Up Too Fast
Children of addicted persons are often forced to take on parental roles at a young age. This is especially true when the person suffering from substance abuse is a single parent. Kids are robbed of their childhood and are forced to deal with situations before they are developmentally ready. In addition, parents suffering from addiction are often overly critical and inconsistent in implementing rules, leading to ineffective and injurious parenting practices.
Drugs and alcohol cost money. For those who are addicted, purchasing drugs takes priority over other expenses. This puts families in a poor financial situation, where essential bills may go unpaid due to the need for a consistent fix.
There is considerable shame associated with substance abuse. Families are often embarrassed by the behavior of their family member and choose to remove themselves from social situations rather than face the chance of inappropriate incidents. This may lead to increased isolation and a lack of needed social support.
One in five people is locked up for a nonviolent drug offense. It is impossible to know how many of these people are dealing with substance abuse issues, but we can reasonably conclude that addiction played a role for many of them. Legal trouble due to substance abuse comes at a significant price. Not only does legal representation cost money, but it also takes time and effort to fight charges. Additionally, if a family member ends up in jail, they are unable to contribute to the necessary responsibilities. Families must also deal with the stigma of having one of its members being charged with a crime.
A Vicious Cycle
The financial, emotional, social, and legal strain of substance abuse often leads to even more stressful situations. Someone who suffers from addiction will often cope with stress by using drugs or alcohol. Therefore, a vicious cycle is initiated that is difficult to break.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with substance abuse please contact us. With support, treatment, and guidance we can help you or your loved one conquer their addiction.