How is the Family Affected by Addiction?
Addiction is a family disease — there is no denying that. The family unit is one that can either run effectively or ineffectively (or sometimes in between). Every person’s actions impact the other, which is why when a family member is addicted to drugs or alcohol, all other family members feel the effects. Some of the most common ways that the family becomes impacted by addiction include the following:
It is easy to fall into a pattern of codependency when a family member has an addiction. In fact, it is so easy that many people do not realize that their behaviors are consistent with codependency. This causes both the user and the codependent family member to feed off each others’ toxic behaviors out of fear of losing or making the other one upset.
All family members can experience a sense of heightened anxiety when someone in their family unit is an addict or alcoholic. Anxiety can cause several sleepless nights, poor diet, irritability, and irrational thinking.
Some members of the family, often siblings of the addict or alcoholic, may rebel in some ways in an effort to attract attention. Acting out in common in a situation like this, as is behaving similarly to a class clown. These behaviors are often a thinly-veiled attempt at expressing their pain and upset with their loved one’s addiction.
Turning inwards, not speaking much, or avoiding socializing are all common in some family members where addiction is present. Unfortunately, this is a very lonely and isolated coping mechanism and those who adopt it are at higher risk for abusing drugs or alcohol themselves in the future.
Breakdown of communication
The entire family can struggle to communicate effectively with one another, especially if you have some family members with heightened anxiety, others who are rebelling, and some that are turning inwards on themselves. When communication is ineffective, functioning in a regular day can feel extremely challenging, if not impossible.
Since the entire family unit is impacted by addiction, it is absolutely imperative that all family members seek professional treatment to help rebuild a stronger foundation for themselves to thrive on.
Why Family Therapy Healing Supports Addiction Recovery
Here at Continuum Recovery Center of Denver, CO, we offer a once per week family therapy and education experience. Family members can attend in person or via teleconference. This nontherapeutic educational presentation is only for family members of loved ones in treatment as the clients do no participate in this setting.