Today we’re talking about the sensitive topic of how addiction affects family. Although substance use disorders of any kind are a unique experience that an individual battle within themselves, there has been a stigma attached to substance use in particular that is seen as a one-person problem. There is a lack of awareness of those who surround the substance user and how they are immensely affected. Spouses, parents, children, and friends can become as helpless and hopeless as the individual who is using.

Young children who are in a developmentally vulnerable stage suffer from long term effects from experiencing addiction within the household. Psychology Today reports that 1 in 5 children witness substance abuse therefore leading to higher rates of developing their own substance dependency later in life. Not only are they at risk of addiction, they are more likely to be exposed to emotional distress, mental health disorders, neglect and sexual/physical abuse (Addiction Center).

Along with young children, teenagers and young adults that are exposed to substances are easily influenced to experiment with them. Young adults that are using while living at home or still dependents of their parents can cause troubling home environments, strained relationships, poor school performance, financial hardships and parental grief (Addiction Center).

At River Rock Treatment, we have seen first-hand just how beneficial family inclusion can be in one’s treatment. While working with substance abusers and addicts, and their families in the recovery process, clients commonly express shame, guilt and embarrassment which can become barriers for asking for help. In response, family members frequently share their struggles while trying to help their loved one. Of course, there are many hurdles that need to be addressed before gathering family and expecting positive results. Having a professional to help diffuse tensions and steer conversations toward a proactive approach can help families overcome hardships together. Coping in an individual setting, along with family counseling can be a great way to build back trust and support of loved ones.

If you, or a loved one, are struggling with substance use disorder, contact River Rock Treatment today for a free screening assessment. We are here to help.

The following are resources to learn more about families and addiction:

How Drugs Hurt Your Family

Drug Use Hurts Families

Wasted: Exposing the Family Effect of Addiction

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