You might not think that your loved one’s substance use disorder is a family business, but their struggles are a complex battle that come with very real consequences to your family. Substance use disorder is often referred to as a family disease, which is true both from a genetic and social point of view.
You might already understand that there are physical, mental and societal challenges that come with substance use disorders and that jeopardize your family’s well-being. Let’s take a closer look at the true impact substance use disorder could be having on your family:
Substance use disorder can have a ripple effect on your family. A parent, a spouse, a child, or an extended family member struggling with substance use disorder can directly impact the entire family and introduces new levels of stress.
Getting Sober for the Kids
Though substance use disorder can seem like an individual, isolated challenge, it has the potential to impact your family, putting new forms of stress on your relationships. It’s made further difficult by the unfortunate fact that most people using substances heavily are often deeply rooted in denial with little or no understanding of the impact of their choices.
It’s not uncommon to feel out of control when a loved one is suffering with a substance use disorder. We understand that those suffering from substance use disorder pave the way for their entire family to suffer with them. The family is often right at the center of their loved one’s substance use driven turmoil leaving everyone feeling exposed and vulnerable.
Substance use disorder can overshadow relationships; the main disruption it causes is the shifting of family roles. Parents suffering from substance use disorder can sometimes neglect their parental obligations and this can often result in severe negative consequences for their children. Children from these families are also more susceptible to follow the same unhealthy path of substance use disorder. Hence, the vicious cycles can continue from generation to generation.
How is the Family Affected?
It is also important to highlight that substance use disorder affects every family in a unique way. Some families blame themselves for their loved one’s substance use, while others take a sterner role by seeking protective orders against their loved ones. It can often be hard not to toss around blame, but a potential first step to recovery for your loved one often comes in the form of offering them a safe environment to face their challenges.
The following are some common examples of the family problems that can arise when a loved one is suffering from substance use disorder:
- Divorce. An alcohol consumption increase of 1 liter per capita brings about an increase in the divorce rate of about 20%.
- Loss or destruction of relationships
- Ongoing emotional trauma and negativity
- Reversed roles e.g. a child might end up acting as a caretaker of their parent.
- Feelings of hurt, anger, jealousy and resentment among family members.
- Isolation from family and friends
- Financial instability
- Increased stress
- Exposure to damaging influences for children — in their formative years children are heavily shaped by their environment and the learn by example.
- Increased risk of developing other diseases
What You Can Do: Help Them with Their Recovery
When it comes to helping yourself, remember to manage your stress. Look after yourself — positive practices like meditation have been proven to help relieve stress. The best way to address their recovery, and to ultimately help yourself, is to consult the professional.
Supporting a loved one through a substance use disorder can sometimes feel daunting and it’s often hard to communicate the impact they are having on your family. You don’t have to go through this alone, we’re here to help. Call us today for an obligation-free chat about how we can help you to help your loved one. At Aquila Recovery, we have a range of programs and activities designed to set your loved one on the road to recovery.