Addiction affects not only the addict but also the whole family since the addiction progresses, and a series of behaviors arise that cause the whole family to suffer.For this reason, the treatment of addiction must involve all members of the family because they also must recover from the negative effects of the family environment in which they have lived.
Generally, families where one or both parents using drugs are at a greater likelihood of divorce, child abuse, domestic violence, depression, anxiety and medical problems. Also, kids are likely to have behavioral issues, poor school performance, low self-esteem, depression, and higher rates of delinquency.They’re also more likely to become adults with social anxiety and relationship issues.However, with proper addiction rehabilitation treatment, these negative effects can go away.
If in a healthy family the main objective is to foster the growth and well-being of its members, to raise kids and to satisfy emotional needs, in the family of an addict, this objective happens in the background, since the main task is to control the addiction and consequences of the addict’s behavior.
Due to the stress and emotional burden that addiction implies, everything seems secondary in this situation and the emotional needs of family members are left out.In fact, the ways in which the various families of addicts behave are so similar that they could be considered the normal reaction of the people in such circumstances. However, that reaction has a price that can be expensive.
The addict family members in the initial phase fall into denial of the situation. Like the addict, the rest of the family may also usually deny the existence of addiction. They try to keep the appearances facing the outside, acting as if nothing happened and everything was good, keeping the addiction a secret. They may feel ashamed of what is going on at home, and recognize what happens is too painful for them. While some only hide it from the outside, others deny it completely, even to themselves. This denial prevents the recognition that a particular problem affecting the family has been a consequence of addictive behavior, such as when the addict loses work and blame others or bad luck.
Over time, codependence develops in adults. Moreover, kids of addicted parents do not learn to identify well their emotional needs or their emotions, although adults are very sensitive to the emotional climate around them.They understand love as something that consists in satisfying the needs of dependency instead of seeing it as something based on a true interest in the well-being of the other person.This makes them feel better in relationships where their partner is not completely independent, as is the case with addicts. So, it is not uncommon for them to end up having an addict as a couple as well.
For all these reasons, people who have grown up in families with parents using drugs may need the help of a therapist to overcome these problems and be able to maintain healthy and normal relationships in adulthood.