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How is Family Affected by Addiction?

Addiction isn’t just about the person using drugs and alcohol.  The substance abuse affects everyone in the person’s life, also.  Human connection creates a strong hold on loved ones.  The bond between family members weakens by the use of drugs and alcohol.  Some relatives and friends will try to help.  Codependency is common with addiction.  The individual suffering from substance abuse disorder becomes selfish, manipulative, and loses empathy.  The family’s frustrations and reactions will build, and both parties will disconnect.  Treatment and family therapy can help the group reunite.  Each person will have to work on rebuilding the relationship and regain trust in each other.  


Being independent is a life skill worth having.  Many people find it an attractive and noble trait.  Addiction can change the value of being independent.  Codependency is when a person feels the need to please or care for another individual.  A mother, father, or sibling could feel responsible for the person with an addiction.  The family member thinks caring for the individual will help.  The reality is the family member is enabling the addiction.  

Financial stress

When the person with addiction begins to purchase large amounts of drugs or alcohol, seeking help from family and friends can create a financial strain.  Addiction commonly causes the loss of a job, home, or car.  The stress and pressure on the family will build.  Some members will begin to reject help.  The individual with addiction can backlash and cause more hardship.  Stealing from loved ones is not unheard of with substance abuse.

Emotional tension

Frustration and anger will affect the family.  Reactions and confrontations grow unhealthy.  When children are involved, the emotional tension can cause fear and traumatic situations.  Walking on eggshells around the person with an addiction will hinder an already unstable environment.  

Personal care

The lack of self-care is common with addiction.  The family members can also lose focus on themselves.  While codependent loved ones live through addiction with the individual, paying attention to themselves becomes less and less important.  Sleeping, eating, and being productive is neglected as the stress accumulates.


Substance abuse treatment can give the person with addiction a chance to start a new life.  People involved in the individual’s life will need to rebuild and learn how to be supportive.  Some family members take longer than others to forgive.  Family therapy sessions can help each person understand and communicate better.

The lives of everyone involved with addiction are important.  Treatment is not only for the person with substance abuse.  At Resilient House we provide family therapy to help each person heal.  If you or a loved one is suffering, please call 833-change1 (833-242-6431).