Addiction is a progressive disease that slowly consumes the addict. While the devastating impacts of substance abuse on the user take center stage, it only tells half the story. To fully understand the effects of addiction, you must adopt the mindset that addiction is a family disease. The behaviors of the addict create chaos regarding how family members treat them as well as how family members interact with each other. This article will help you better understand how addiction needs to be seen as a family problem and how treatment can help heal the family unit.
How Helping Can Hurt the Addict
When families are confronted with a loved one who is addicted to substances, their first instinct is to try and help. To help the addict, however, their actions often end up making the situation worse. Whether it is helping to pay the rent, groceries or covering for their bad behavior, this enabling behavior often causes resentment, anger, and guilt among family members. These feelings can cause irreparable rifts within the family and can remain even if the addict enters treatment and has significant time clean and sober.
The Ways Addiction Impacts the Family
As a family disease, drug and alcohol addiction causes considerable problems in many areas of the family unit. Examples include the following:
Because the major focus of the attention is squarely on the addict, there may be family members who feel jealous or resentful of that attention. This is especially true of younger family members. If not addressed, these resentments can cause those family members to turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Helping an addicted loved one with their rent, mortgage, groceries and other financial obligations can put the family in a bind. Taking care of these obligations enables the addict to continue their behavior and causes financial stresses in other family members.
Along with financial woes, the added strain of coping with a loved one’s addiction can cause emotional burnout. As a result, family members may lash out at each other. Ultimately, family members may start engaging in manipulative behavior much like the addict.
Because a family member’s addiction is all-consuming, the emotional and physical well-being of family members can significantly decline. Family members can experience the onset of depression and anxiety which can lead them to substance use. Additionally, a loved one’s substance abuse can result in a host of physical ailments because of poor diet, lack of restful sleep and a lack of hygiene.
The Benefits of Family Therapy at Comprehensive Wellness Center
As we have seen, addiction is a family disease which has many facets. To help a loved one fully overcome their addiction, drug treatment must include the entire family. If you are looking for a South Florida treatment center that features proven family therapy services delivered by experienced and compassionate staff, call Comprehensive Wellness Center today.
The family counseling and treatment programs at Comprehensive Wellness Center are designed to help find the strengths of each family member. With our family-focus approach, our treatment staff can uncover the past links between family dynamics and substance abuse. With the use of therapy, counseling and 12-step support groups, Comprehensive Wellness Center will give you the tools and support you need to heal and grow.
Is your family ready to face the family disease of addiction head on? Call Comprehensive Wellness Center toll-free today!