We know that addiction negatively impacts the person who struggles with drug abuse. As isolating as a substance use disorder can be, it can also have a significant effect on loved ones. It’s important to understand drug addiction and relationships when you’re in a very social stage of life. If you know someone who suffers from addiction, you’re probably affected by the problem too.
Drug Addiction And Relationships Within Families
When parents are addicted to drugs, their children are often forced to take on responsibilities that are beyond a young person’s usual role. Kids have to develop specific coping mechanisms for dealing with the altered relationship structure. These unhealthy behavioral accommodations can work their way into a child or teenager’s regular lifestyle patterns.
In other words, children of parents who are addicted to drugs may learn unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. This may cause them to turn to substance use to escape the anxiety or manage their emotions.
On the other hand, many parents of teenagers with substance use disorder find that their lives are upside down. As a parent, you try to keep your children healthy and protect them from harm. Learning that they’ve been harming themselves with chemicals can come as a shock.
Parents may become resentful or blame themselves for their children’s behavior. However, pointing fingers can damage the family unit even further. At the same time, ignoring signs of drug abuse can make everything, including your relationship with your child, worse. Overall, drug addiction and relationships within the family can become strained and broken.
Shame, Drug Addiction, And Relationships
Spouses, friends, and family members who are close with someone who deals with drug addiction may believe the stigma that surrounds drug abuse. They may ignore the problem because they don’t want to feel embarrassed. Some other emotions that can come from this situation include anger, grief, guilt, and humiliation.
It can be hard to feel supportive towards your loved one when you’re feeling these intense emotions. If you don’t know how to manage them, you might avoid the person or shut down. This then leaves your loved one feeling lonely. You might lash out, causing your loved one to retreat from you further.
Many teens don’t know how to help their friends with substance use issues and change their social circles to avoid dealing with the problem.
Drug Addiction And Relationships Can Benefit From Family Therapy
Addiction can damage relationships, and those scars don’t disappear when the person dealing with drug abuse enters treatment. Family therapy can help individuals learn how to communicate openly so that they can rebuild trust, empathy, and compassion.
Parental support is vital for young people who uses drugs. Studies show that when parents passively support substance use by ignoring it, their children may be more likely to use drugs. On the other side, parents who encourage open discussion about substances may have teens that are less likely to engage in drug use.
Whatever type of parenting style you have, you may feel as though your child violated your trust by turning to drugs. A child who uses drugs to manage stress from dysfunctional family or social relationships can also benefit from family therapy.
When you’re in the grips of addiction, you need support to heal. At our drug rehab in Asheville NC, we offer small, gender-specific programs that give clients the chance to immerse themselves in an environment of healing. Through family counseling, the young people who come to our rehab center in NC can start a life of recovery with guidance and cooperation from those they love and rely on.