The Effects Of Drug Abuse On Families

Posted by on July 23, 2019 in Stuff with 0 Comments

Drug abuse happens when an individual habitually takes or consumes illegal drugs. About 18 million Americans were diagnosed with substance abuse disorder in 2017 and 70,000 deaths in the US were reported to have been caused by drug abuse. Contrary to popular belief, drug abuse doesn’t only affect the user—it can also negatively affect their families.

To paint a clearer picture of how drug abuse can affect families, consider the points below:

1) Families Will Experience Severe Financial Distress

When family members suffer from drug abuse, they tend to spend their money on drugs instead of buying necessities for their families. With their urge to obtain and use drugs, it’ll be hard for them to keep their jobs and provide money for their families. And once this happens, they might resort to other means of obtaining money. To drive the point home of how this situation can lead to severe financial distress to families, read the following:

  • When family members lose their jobs, they won’t be able to sustain the needs of the family. It’ll be hard for the family to afford paying for rent or buying groceries. This is especially true if the problematic family member is the breadwinner.
  • In worse cases, a family member will even have to sell their house and other investments just to have money to buy drugs. This can often result in having too much debt and even bankruptcy.
  • In order to cope with the family’s needs, other members will be forced to quit school and look for a job even at a young age. Cases of child labor and out-of-school youth will increase simply because a single member of the family is abusing drugs, most especially if they’re the parents.

2) Families Will Experience Instability

Family is the basic unit of society. A person will likely have more opportunities in life if they grew up from a good family and has all of their family members supporting them. It’ll be hard for a family to experience all of these things once someone is abusing drugs. This can create instability within the family system and can have the following repercussions:

  • Drug abuse can lead to negativism, so instead of communicating with everyone in the family, this family member will simply isolate themselves. Anger, resentment, and even blame can take place within the family, which can cause members to lash out with each other. Other relatives who may not be aware of the exact situation in the troubled household may have the tendency to unnecessarily point fingers at whom or what they believe to be the root cause of the addiction.
  • Even if only one member of the family is abusing drugs, everyone can go through shame and denial because of it. Disassociation can breed within the family, wherein some would refuse to attend gatherings or celebrations if the person who is an addict is present. Older relatives may discourage their own children to interact with the drug abuser should they be within the vicinity. This can lead to the further isolation of the drug abuser instead of them getting the support or compassion they need.

3) Instances Of Lying, Mistrust And Stealing Will Increase

As mentioned, a person who is misusing drugs will spend most of their money to buy and use these substances. This person will neglect their responsibility of putting food on the table and would opt to obtain drugs with their money instead. If they don’t have a steady source of income, this behavior can lead to lying, mistrust, and stealing. These traits are usually depicted during the following instances:

  • In order for a family member to cover up their drug abuse, they would usually lie to their families about how their money is spent. They might have bought drugs, but whenever their spouses ask where the money is, they would tell white lies to cover up their behavior. This trait can become innate to a person, causing them to adversely affect their relationships in and outside of the family.
  • Some people will do anything and everything just to get their hands on drugs. If they don’t have enough money to buy drugs, they will steal from other people. This behavior can progress into criminal activities or, in extreme scenarios, even killing someone to get more money to buy drugs.
  • Over time, this kind of behavior can create mistrust and friction within family members. Of course, no one wants to be associated with a family member who’s a thief and drug addict. This can even become the reason why a family will disown someone, or have one of their family members sent to jail because of stealing.

4) It Can Create Emotional Strain, Which Can Last For Years

Although unseen, emotional strains can affect the family members of a drug user long-term. When they know someone in the family is already abusing drugs, they will be worried about the whereabouts of this person. Where are they right now? Why are they not coming home? Are they safe? These family members can develop a sense of worry and fear over their drug addict family members. Over time, this can worsen and can result in anxiety and depression.

Here are some other ways emotional strain can take place once a single-family member is abusing drugs:

  • Drug abuse can also result in resentment. For example, a sibling may have to watch how their parents cope with the drug abuse of another family member. As this sibling watches the struggle of their parents, resentment can happen. This can happen in the form of embarrassment at school or financial difficulty. Over time, resentment can develop into a deeper level of anger.
  • Family members will also have conflicting emotions whenever a family member goes through drug abuse and recovery. Family members will often feel tired of the pain and lies they experienced from the drug addict, but on the other side of the coin, they will always want to help this family member recover. Most family members will have a hard time navigating through these emotions.
  • Because drugs can alter someone’s behavior, instances of violence may occur, which can traumatize adults and children alike. This may leave a negative impression that can last for years, and may even cause some members of the family to turn to substance abuse just to cope with the trauma, leading to an unending cycle of drug addiction. 

Get Professional Help

There are several types of help available for people who are abusing drugs. If you want to turn over a new leaf, or know a family member who wants to take this path, get professional help as soon as possible. The earlier the treatment is provided, the better chance someone can live a drug-free life—for themselves and their families.

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