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How Drug Addiction Impacts the Family & How Family Members Can Cope

how addiction affects families

Those battling substance addiction do not always understand how their drug abuse impacts others. It can be difficult for someone caught amidst the drug-using cycle to recognize the harm they are actually doing to the people around them. We are not necessarily talking about secondhand smoke, either. Drug abuse can bear a deeper kind of pain for friends and family members, and if your loved one is currently battling substance addiction, you likely know this firsthand. Addiction can be tremendously hurtful – not just to the addict’s self, but also to those closest to him. As a parent, you may particularly understand this heartache.

It is not always easy to remain optimistic as you watch your teen go through multiple drug rehab programs, struggling to find a treatment plan that works. It can be hard to intervene if your son continues to use drugs, or stay out late drinking, when you feel like you’ve done all you can do. You may feel as though you are starting to lose hope, or even losing the bond you once had with your child. Unfortunately, addiction can negatively affect relationships in this way.

It is important to remember, as a supportive, loving figure in your child’s life, that recovery from addiction is very possible. It is also important to remember that you are one of the biggest influencers on your teen’s journey to sobriety. The majority of adolescents and young adults do not seek drug treatment on their own. Most times, they do not see the extent of their problem at all. That is where you and your other family members can help. Choosing the right rehab facility for your son or daughter is one of the most crucial components of their success. But what else can you do?

The first thing that affected families can do is to educate themselves on drug abuse and on the cycle of addiction. In order to help your teen, you must understand what he or she is going through at this time. Spend time understanding first, how drugs impact the individual and second, how their addiction affects the family. Forget the addiction myths you’ve heard in the past, and take a new look at your loved one’s battle with drugs. By accepting the nature of addiction as a disease, you can gain a better understanding of why your teen is behaving a certain way, and why it is so difficult to break certain habits.

If you have found yourself becoming more and more preoccupied with your teen’s drug activity, you may start organizing your life around his addiction. You may start obsessing over your teen’s actions and whereabouts, and attempt to control the addiction on your own. This, unfortunately, actually can inhibit the recovery process. You may believe you can handle it, manage it, and tolerate the addiction alone. This, however, will only prevent you from seeking out the professional help that your teen deserves.

Instead of trying to manage an addiction, try to understand it. Engage in positive conversation with your teen as much as you can. Oftentimes, when addiction enters a family, the relationships between members gets halted, awkward, or tense. Drug addiction can make it feel as though there is a constant barrier in the room. Your addicted teen may be hiding things, lying, or avoiding face-to-face confrontations altogether. You may try to maintain family order by not bringing up your feelings or apprehensions at all. It is normal for parents to grow frustrated, angry, and disappointed, however, you should not let it get to the point where communication with your child stops. Some parents avoid any sort of drug intervention in fear of triggering an argument or uprising.

Yet avoiding talking altogether can lead to confusion and disconnection within the family. If you have started to recognize your son’s addiction, or noticed any drug using behaviors, try to communicate with him about your concern. Talk with him about your feelings, share a story with him, or relate to him in order to ease the conversation. If your teen is currently in drug rehab, it is also important to maintain communication. Talking about the pain, and how you both are coping with that pain, can aid the recovery process. At Turnbridge, we offer family support groups and encourage family involvement and support every step of the way.

Your teen may not see his drug abuse as an outright threat to your family. Still you may feel the urge to blame his drug using for your stress levels, emotions, and abnormal behaviors. You may feel hurt, or like you can no longer trust your child. Yet his addiction is not a choice, but rather a disease that takes time to overcome. As your loved one commits to this journey, you must remain patient. It takes time to regain health, to rediscover one’s self, after a stretch of drug abuse. There may be bumps along the way, there may be breaks, relapses, and even promises broken, but it is crucial for you stay focused on the goal of recovery. Never find yourself uninterested in your teen’s recovery, because you are a great part of it.

Of course, an addicted person is not the only one that needs support. Even if you do not realize it now, you may benefit from family education on addiction, counseling, or a parent support group as well. To learn how to get help for your teen or for yourself, call Turnbridge today at 877-581-1793.