Dealing with a substance abuse issue or addiction is seen as a solo-struggle most of the time. We hear stories of people who lost jobs and savings due to their drug abuse or their alcoholic tendencies. However, there is another side to addiction, there are other victims who often suffer just as much as the individual struggling with the addiction. Spouses, children, and parents who witness a family member struggling with addiction suffer a great deal as well and experience deep emotional damage, as well as financial, legal, medical, and other consequences. It is this hidden side of addiction that reveals how truly devastating and far-reaching addiction and substance abuse truly can be!
Addiction Affects Friends and Family
“The effects of drug and alcohol addiction can be both short-term and long-term. Peaceful, loving homes can be divided by the strain caused by drug and alcohol abuse. Conflict becomes normal as family members fight to engage in a son or daughter who abuses heroin, for example. Trust begins to erode. Relatives may become more guarded if a relative abusing illicit substances act with aggression or hide their disorder in secrecy. Marriages can end due to changes caused by addiction. Communication becomes more difficult, highlighting frustration” (Addiction Center).
Just as any traumatic event such as the loss of a loved one, surviving a natural disaster, being the victim of a crime, or experiencing great physical or emotional pain can lead to life long struggles and issues, watching a loved one suffer with addiction can be just as traumatic and life-changing. Watching a parent or sibling spiral out of control and sink deeper into their alcoholism can be devastating. Losing a friend or loved one to a drug overdose can be a truly traumatic experience. Struggling to help a child you love overcome their addiction and watching them struggle day in and day out can take a toll on any parent. The effects of substance abuse and addiction stretch far beyond the life of the person struggling with the addiction- there is a huge ripple effect that needs to be better understood by society today!
How Addiction Impacts Young Children
The simple truth is that children are very influential and susceptible to things they see and experience. Because they are still developing their personalities, they are extremely vulnerable to external influences. They learn by copying what they see others do and they mimic the actions and behaviors of their parents, siblings, and other family members. Children may be exposed to aggression or violent behavior because of a drug abuse issue a parent has and this can lead them to be more aggressive and violent as well. Arguments between parents may be normal, causing a great deal of emotional and mental distress as the child tries to cope with the lack of love and nurturing in their lives.
Early exposure to a home torn apart by substance abuse and addiction can lead a child to feel emotionally and physically neglected and can force them to live day in and day out in a situation where they feel unsafe. As a result, they can become more mentally and emotionally unstable. They may become aggressive or withdrawn, they may lack self-esteem or blame themselves for their family member’s behaviors, and they may even struggle with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and other mental issues as a result of their exposure to substance abuse and addiction.
Teenage Addiction Affects the Family
Recent CDC studies have shown that underaged drinkers have more drinks per drinking occasion than their adult counterparts. At least 19% of individuals between 12 to 20 years old drink alcohol regularly, but due to underreporting the figure is most likely much higher. Early exposure to alcohol can open the door to other substances that can be even more addictive and dangerous. Marijuana use is more common in teens than cigarette smoking and other drug use and most say they were addicted to alcohol to some degree before they ever started playing around with illegal drugs.
Teenagers have to face a great deal of peer pressure in school and are often pushed by their peers to try dangerous substances. Drugs like cocaine can over-stimulate teens, methamphetamines can cause hallucinations, and opioids can lead to relaxed highs and feelings of intense pleasure. These drugs cause feelings and sensations people like but the repeated use of these drugs means that more and more of the drug must be used each time, with damaging and at times deadly side effects! This is why it is important to get addiction treatment as soon as possible before the addiction takes hold and becomes a major obstacle to overcome and a major cycle to try and break.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction and are looking for an addiction treatment program in the Beverly Hills area of California, then we invite you to give us a call here at Footprints of Serenity. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and substance abuse and take back control of your life. Call now for a confidential consultation with our team!