Fighting a drug addiction will be one of the hardest challenges you face in your life. However, if you assume that you are the only person suffering from the experience, you are mistaken. You may be the one feeling the highs and lows of the addiction, but your family solely experiences the lows. Seeing the people, you love falling victim to something that could impair their mental and physical health is very hard to handle. Most family members silently suffer and withdraw from the addict because they can't see the pain they are causing themselves.
That's just the tip of the iceberg; this article will look at various other ways drug addiction affects the average addict’s family. Reading this article may be hard for the faint of heart. However, it’s important to put these facts out there and raise awareness about other stakeholders to drug addiction. Please read till the end of this article to gain a holistic idea about what drug addiction entails for the addict's family.
Not knowing what to do
One of the most common issues that the family goes through is the fact that they don’t know how to handle the situation. This isn’t your average medical issue where you can go to the doctor. There is still a lot of stigmas that surround the topics, it’s a long-drawn-out issue, and it's not cheap. Therefore the family may find themselves at a loose end and not know what to do about the situation.
Unfortunately, the family usually takes a leading role despite the confusion. Many of them often succeed in a helter-skelter attempt to save their loved one, much to their own surprise. Doing anything is better than remaining confused and doing nothing. A mere Google search will help locate a facility offering private treatment for addiction that can help prop gate a life of sobriety.
We understand how confusing and haphazard this time may be for the family, but trying and failing to help your loved one is better than not trying at all.
One assumes that the treatment and rehabilitation cost would be fairly high, and they would be right. Overcoming an addiction could cost a small fortune, and for people who don't have the money, the hope for recovering slips further away.
Other than the cost of treatment, it’s extremely common for the addicts to demand money (sometimes forcefully) from family members to fuel their addiction. Rage bursts, guilt tipping, and plain blackmail are extremely common techniques to gain money from family members to support the addiction.
It may not initially seem like much, but the few hundred dollars here and there amount to something massive when the prevalence is so common. Few people talk about how their finances take a massive hit when dealing with an addict; the stigma usually encourages them to remain silent on the issue.
Increases the likelihood for other addicts
Seeing an addict in the family often desensitizes individuals to the substance and can lead to further consumption within the family. This is especially the case with children who have grown up seeing their parents using illicit substances and falling down the same rabbit hole later in their lives.
Moreover, parents with an issue are also less likely to notice that they are addicts. Hence, when their children experiment with the substances, they don't notice when things are getting out of hand because they never noticed their own symptoms. Other than that, studies show that children of addicts have a higher tolerance to the substances; therefore, they are likely to consume more and lose track of their limits.
Families that see their loved one suffering and losing to drug addiction are likely to pull away. They try and fail and eventually distance themselves because they feel that they do not want to do anything for themselves.
Family members then create a wedge between themselves and the addict because the pain is often too hard to handle. The addict is no longer the person they knew, and dealing with them is more of a chore than a loving relationship. Hence it is extremely common to see addicts estranged from their families, living alone, which in turn leads them to consume more often and in greater quantities.
Estrangement often does more damage in the short term but often instills a sense of guilt in the addict that acts as a factor that helps them eventually overcome the issue in the long run.
While one family member is publicly battling drug addiction, another could be silently battling depression due to said drug addiction. This is especially the case in spouses and parents of the addict who feel that there is no way to break the habit and retrieve their loved one. Many of them become hopeless and give up because they will never get their family member back to the way they were.
The family members feel a sense of sadness similar to the depression faced in grief. Though they haven't lost their loved ones, the stark reminder that drug abuse could claim a life always looms. Moreover, when your loved one doesn’t act like themselves, is barely around, and eventually becomes a stranger to you, there is a minor sense of grief that encompasses the family.
It may be different from actual grief, but it can feel fairly similar and create the same depression-like symptoms in the individual.
Reading through this article may have been hard for some, but sometimes it’s validating to hear or read about the things you are experiencing. Simply knowing that other people have gone through the same experiences and reacted in similar ways can make you feel better about your situation.
This article has talked about the sad truth of drug addiction, its effects on the family, and how catastrophic it can be in general. We have gone over factors related to confusion, financial drain, depression, and more. This article is not here to scare you and remind you about how explicitly difficult reality is with a drug addict; rather propose a solution.
Find help, get therapy for yourself and your loved one. There are rehab facilities scattered across the country that can help your loved ones overcome the battle they are going through. It would be best to contact them sooner rather than later. Drug abuse tends to show its worst side in silence.