Not Just You: How Addiction Affects the Whole Family

The choices you make affect everyone around you, but especially your family. The effects of addiction can spread throughout the family—affecting your parents, siblings and other loved ones. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a brain disease. Regardless of the drugs used, addiction has similar consequences. When considering reasons to get help, think about how your addiction may be affecting those who love you.

Guilt
Your parents feel responsible for your well being. Because they love you and want to protect you, they will question how they have allowed you to develop an addiction. They may wonder if they paid enough attention to early warning signs or put enough limitations on your behavior. Or it could be that they fought hard to intervene but were not able to help. Regardless of the circumstances, your parents and loved ones carry guilt and blame themselves to a certain extent.

Enabling
In some situations, your parents and siblings may enable your addiction. They may willfully ignore your problems or play them down. They might make excuses for your behavior or brush things off as a phase. They may be hesitant to address the addiction directly, worried about the stigma or the rough road ahead. Enabling is one of the major ways your addiction isn’t just about you. Drugfree.org offers true stories to help families with loved ones suffering drug and alcohol addictions.

Behavior
Addiction affects your mood and the way you treat the people around you. Since your family probably spends the most time around you, they’re going to catch the brunt of your moods. Your addiction may lead you to steal, to lie, to perform poorly in school and to withdraw from the people who care about you. Your parents, siblings and friends may be hurt by your behavior. They may feel betrayed or angry. They will feel helpless and will wonder how to help you and how to repair your relationship.

Responsibility
Your family must rally around you to help you overcome drug addiction through professional treatment. This can be a scary step for families to take, but it’s ultimately necessary to help you heal. While you are ultimately responsible for your own behavior, your family will be involved in supporting you through a lifetime of recovery. Family members may go through a process of healing as they come to terms with your addiction and learn how to help you and how to help themselves.

The LiveFree! Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is a coalition of members of the community who strive to address alcohol and drug use in Pinellas County. Visit us online today to see how you can get involved in this cause that is so important to our community.

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