This won’t be pleasant to read. But it’s important to talk about.
It’s not a new concept to think that addiction destroys more than the user – it can harm the whole family…sometimes for years after. Always remember, someone suffering from addiction isn’t fully functional. They may be functional to a degree, but let’s be honest…their thought process isn’t in the best interests of themselves or those around them.
Here are 5 ways familes also suffer when addiction takes hold:
Addicts Can be Neglectful to Others
Someone who is suffering from substance use disorder can often be inwardly focused. They can tend to build a wall around themselves and act only in the best interests of their addiction…not even their own interests. This causes their partners, spouses, or even children to feel neglected. And if these close people don’t know that there is addiction involved, imagine what that does to their own self-esteem when they are “neglected for no discernable reason”.
Abuse to Others
This is a dark one, but it’s a reality…and no one should ignore it. Remember, someone who’s struggling with addiction…their brain isn’t firing on all cylinders. Their thought process is poor, their memory might be even worse, and their mood…it might be a raging disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately, this can lead to verbal abuse of a spouse, children, or even worse…it may lead to physical abuse.
Cause Children Future Anxiety or Co-Dependency
Since an addict can have an unpredictable behavior pattern, this can cause children to grow up in an unstable environment. Maybe a child will be uncertain or even afraid of their parent, because they don’t know what kind of mood they’ll be in that day. Ever hear of “Adult Children of Alcoholics”? It’s an organization that helps adults who are still dealing with the psychological ramifications of growing up in a home with an addicted parent. It can take years for that type of emotional trauma to wear off.
Warp a Child’s Sense of What is “Normal Behavior”
Perhaps there’s a parent who doesn’t even bother hiding their addiction. Maybe they’re binge drinking or even shooting up right in front of their child. A child’s guardian is the adult that they model much of their behavior after in the early years of their life. The mirror neurons in their brain are picking up on that behavior, and since there is no “voice of reason” telling them that this is wrong…they don’t know any different. The chance of a child growing up as an addict themselves goes up tremendously.
Cause a Child to Grow Up Without A Parent
Perhaps a parent, or both parents, run into trouble with the law because of illicit substance use. Often times if there’s no next of kin, a child will end up in the foster care system. They can be bounced around from home to home for years with no stability. According to Arrow Child and Family Ministries, 40 to 50 percent of children in foster care will never complete high school. Not to say that a child in foster care can’t still achieve a happy life, but it drastically reduces the odds.
It’s no mystery that addiction can hurt more than just the sufferer. But many don’t consider how deep that hurt can go…or how long. Addiction isn’t like a broken leg or infection. This disease can affect others in ways that no other disease can. The best way to prevent such tragedies is to make sure – if you know someone struggling with addiction – to get them help. Please. You may not realize who else is affected by the situation.