How Drug Addiction Affects the Family

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There are many people in today’s world that suffer from an addiction to drugs. People with an addiction don’t realize that their problem doesn’t affect just them, it affects the whole family in different ways depending on who in the family is the one with the addiction. Some people call drug addiction a disease of the mind because once a person has an addiction, it’s complicated to get rid of if not near impossible. But with time, strength, willpower, and patience it can be done. Having a strong support group, not only increases the likelihood of success but also makes the transition between easier for all family members.

Addiction isn’t a one-way street. When a person has uncontrollable drug use, their actions and behaviors don’t get wiped out of existence like a black hole can do to a solar system. The many different negative actions carry out in a wave, that often, tragically, affects his or her loved ones. Family members often see addiction first hand. Imagine watching your child grow up only to wither and die in front of your eyes; it’s horrifying. Sadly, however, this is a sight that many families have to watch and experience. The up-close experience of what addiction does to an individual hurts greater than anyone can imagine because of how attached you are to them and the person you knew them to be.

People with addictive personalities spend too much time dealing with actions and projects because they feel like they have to. (Vaux, Robert.) Addiction can be defined with participation in activities and experiences that affect the humans quality of life in some way. People with an addictive personality, isolate themselves from social situations in order to hide their poisoning. (Loewen, Stanley) Often times hiding away behind closed or locked doors avoiding all human or outside world contact if possible.

In an interview with Skylee Ferguson, a person who has had first-hand experience, says that, in her family, there were about seven people, including her own father, who also drank alcohol. To her knowledge, every type of drug was used by varying family members. These family members started using drugs sometime before or in high school way before she was born. Growing up, this drug use made her home a very unstable environment which included her and her family living in many different states and cities. They did, however, always manage to have a roof over their heads. Now, she can’t specifically name the reasons why they used the drugs because she wasn’t told and she didn’t want to ask. Although, she did state that they abused drugs for many different reasons, each reason varying for each individual.

She didn’t like that they lost themselves, their values, and their morals. The drug use also came with unstable mood swings, violence, and most of their free time was spent hiding away, using. The people that influenced her family members to use were mostly other members of the family or friends. Fortunately for her, the drug use has changed dramatically, most of them have improved and sobered up. But unfortunately, to her knowledge, there is at least one person who is still using. There was a point when the drug use got worse, but losing one of her family members due to incarceration due to their own drug addictions, things then began to get better.

She admits that her father, unfortunately, introduced and managed to influence her to use a substance when she was fourteen, but hasn’t touched it since. She states that now, older, she can look back and it really upsets her that her father was so willing to introduce her to something that could have possibly ruined her life.

However, after all this, she wouldn’t change how she grew up for the world. She is very thankful that her family is now sober and she hopes that the last person will sober up and better themselves as well.

When children are exposed to a parent or guardian that uses drugs, the effects on them are often long term. The emotional strain alone can last for many years. It can often create poor self-image, loneliness, guilt, feelings of helplessness, fear of abandonment, anxiety, and chronic depression. Long term addiction affects can also range anywhere from memory loss, to high risks of depression and anxiety development. Researchers say that one in five adult Americans lived with an alcoholic relative at some point during their childhoods. (Center for Alcohol & Drug Studies Inc.) People that grow up in a home with addicts are often denied the more important details of his or her childhood and often have relationship and social life awkwardness and problems later in life.

Drug use can impact things such as family finances, physical health, and psychological well being, thus affecting the entire family as well as the user. In a family, each individual most likely, has a role they play in trying to keep the family stable. When drug use is brought into the family, the roles will often naturally shift to adjust to the new behaviors associated with the drug use.

This shows that among all of the family members who are impacted by an addicts disease, the children seem the mostly likely to suffer with the worst of outcomes. (Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies Inc.) Some of the many roles that the people in the family can adopt are; The Hero- This role is often portrayed by the oldest person in the family. This person appears responsible, hard-working, and successful. However, don’t let this act fool you because, on the inside, he or she feels insecure, incompetent, confused, angry, overworked and that things are always going wrong.

  • The Scapegoat- This is the person that will, most of the time, be blamed when anything goes wrong or something bad happens. In other words, they kind of become a distraction from the real problem at hand. He or she is rebellious, troublesome, and is at high risk of abusing drugs themselves because they don’t like the unfairness in which they have or are being treated.
  • The Lost child- This child is usually a drifter, and they have the I-don’t-care-about-anything attitude. This poor child is also often burdened with all the negative thoughts and has no real emotional attachments to the other family members.They distance themselves away, trying to block out or pretend that there is no pain or suffering going on.
  • The Mascot- This child is known as the clown in the family. They are quick to make a joke to hide how easily hurt they are. The child becomes good at hiding how they truly feel about everything, always distracting anyone who gets too close with humor or laughter so they won’t know the real truth.
  • The enabler- This role is often taken on by the non-addicted or less addicted spouse or older sibling in a single-parent home. Since this person is always denying how serious the addicts “disease” is, they make excuses and pick up the slack to make sure things that need to get done, are accomplished in a timely manner as well as waiting on the addict hand and foot so that the addict remains content and causes less disruptions within or around the other family members lives.

Now, last but not least, the family has the Addict- He or she may feel extreme guilt for what they’re doing and how they’re making their family feel. They often become withdrawn from everything and everyone and have frequent bouts of paranoid or schizophrenic episodes. However, most of the time, they won’t stop using because they either think that they really need the drug to function throughout their everyday life, that they would be lost without it, or that they could not emotionally tolerate everything that they think is going on around them.

To sum it all up, drug addiction and usage has a very negative effect within and around the families and friends closest to this disease. There is never really anything positive that can come from it and it leaves everlasting damage within its wake.

Cite this paper

How Drug Addiction Affects the Family. (2021, Mar 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/how-drug-addiction-affects-the-family/

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