Effects of Drug Addiction On Family Members
Drug addiction can have a profound impact on a person’s physical, emotional and financial health. However, it’s also important to recognize the impact that addiction can have on an addict’s family members. It’s not uncommon for siblings, parents, or spouses of those who are dependent on illicit substances to experience mental health and other struggles of their own.
Family Members May Feel Like Failures
From an intellectual standpoint, an individual may understand that he or she is not responsible for a loved one’s addiction. Furthermore, a person may understand that their loved one has the sole power to determine when he or she will begin taking steps to overcome drug addiction. However, being a caring human being means that you will feel like you have come up short as a sibling, spouse, or parent for not being able to prevent a family member from becoming dependent on drugs.
For instance, you may wonder if there were clues that you missed that could have helped you discover the problem before it developed into a true addiction. You may also wonder if something that you said or did was what caused someone who you care about to start using drugs.
It’s also not uncommon for people to wonder if they enabled their loved one’s behavior by not forcing them to get help sooner. Conversely, those who have forced a family member to rehab may regret the fact that it did little but push that person away.
If you are having trouble coping with a family member’s addiction, it may be a good idea to seek help from a mental health professional. This person may help you understand that there is little that you can do other than to wait until your family member is ready to take action on his or her own.
The Financial Challenges Family Members of Drug Addicts May Face
Those who are addicted to illicit substances may be unable to work because they are constantly under their influence. Furthermore, if a person has been convicted of a drug crime, it may be difficult to find employment even during periods of sobriety. Therefore, your loved ones may rely on you to provide for their basic needs.
This may mean that your adult son or daughter lives at home without paying rent or otherwise contributing to household expenses. It could also mean that a spouse is unable to pay a portion of the mortgage, utility bill, or other expenses. Ultimately, you will be responsible for paying 100% of your family’s expenses, which could easily total thousands of dollars or more each month.
Of course, this isn’t the only challenge that you might face. A person who doesn’t have an income has no way to pay for the substances that he or she likes to use. Therefore, this person might choose to take money out of your purse or wallet without asking. There is also a chance that your sibling, cousin or child will take your debit or credit card without asking.
In extreme circumstances, your identity could be stolen so that your loved one can get access to a line of credit. Identity theft can have negative consequences on your credit score and creditworthiness. It can also add to the stress that you might already feel about your inability to help this person overcome his or her demons.
It’s worth noting that you generally aren’t responsible for any debts accrued without your knowledge or permission. To protect your identity, it’s generally a good idea to keep cards, account numbers and other information private. You may also want to put a fraud alert or freeze on your credit report. Doing so will make it difficult or impossible for anyone to get a credit card or loan in your name without you knowing about it.
What Happens if an Addict Has Children?
One key effect of drugs on family members is the fact that someone else might have to care for the addict’s child. In many cases, a state will restrict or revoke a person’s parental rights if that individual is addicted to illicit substances. This is because doing so is generally considered to be in the best interest of the child.
While it may be best for a child to be away from a parent who is dependent on drugs, it can cause problems for other family members. Even if you want to care for your grandchild, you may not have the time or financial resources to do so comfortably. If your spouse is the one who is addicted to drugs, it may mean that you are solely responsible for raising your son or daughter.
This can be especially challenging if you don’t have access to public services or have other family members who can help with this task. In the event that no one else can care for the child of an addict, it may mean that the minor is placed in the foster care system.
It’s important to note that parents are able to regain custody of their kids if they overcome their addictions. Therefore, you may be able to use this fact to help motivate your loved one to start taking steps to get sober.
You May Be the Target of Physical or Emotional Abuse
Over time, an addict becomes skilled at manipulating the people closest to that individual. For instance, your adult son or daughter may claim that addiction to marijuana is the result of your lack of attention while your child was growing up. Therefore, you owe that person a place to stay, money for food, or other resources to make up for your negligence.
It’s also possible that your spouse will try to say that his or her addiction was caused by emotional abuse that you levied against that person. It’s important to note that you are never to blame for another person’s actions regardless of what you may have done wrong yourself. Of course, this assumes that you did anything wrong, to begin with. In most cases, an addict is simply looking for anyone else to blame for his or her problems.
It’s important to point out that certain drugs will cause a person to become paranoid or to hallucinate. This could lead an individual to believe that you are trying to hurt or kill them or that you are helping someone else accomplish this goal. If you think that a loved one is capable of harming you or others close to you, it may be a good idea to call the police or to take other steps to avoid getting hurt.
Addiction May Cause Rifts Between Family Members
It’s possible that you may be perceived as a bad parent by other members of your family if your son or daughter becomes addicted to drugs. Your own parents may refuse to speak to you if you don’t leave your spouse because of problems with illicit substances. If your cousin steals money from your sibling or spouse, you may have no choice but to condemn the action or risk creating a rift between yourself and the loved one who was wronged by the addict.
It’s also important to note that stress or depression may cause people to lash out at others. Therefore, it’s important to understand that a loved one’s angry words or actions may be nothing more than a sign of emotional distress as opposed to an actual grudge against you.
Addiction to drugs, alcohol, or any other substance can be a difficult thing for anyone to cope with. However, it can also be difficult for the family members of those who are dependent on illicit substances to live a happy and healthy life. If you are struggling with the fact that a loved one is dependent on chemicals to survive, it may be a good idea to seek help. You may want to talk to your doctor about ways to manage your mental and physical health while dealing with this stressful situation.