children sad being hugged by mother how addiction affects families

How Addiction Affects Families

Addiction does a lot of damage to you, both physically and emotionally. Too often, however, we forget exactly how much damage a person’s addiction does to the family and friends of the addict. When you love someone, it is difficult to stand by and watch them slowly destroy themselves. Relationships become severed, and families fall apart. When children are involved, they become affected for the rest of their lives. Let’s take a closer look at how addiction affects families.

How Addiction Affects Families Financially

One of the first obvious signs of trouble is how addiction affects families financially. First, there is the cost involved in purchasing drugs or alcohol. Often this cost increases over time. It can get to the point where bills are left unpaid, the rent or mortgage becomes overdue, and eviction may have to be faced. As the addiction deepens, loss of work becomes a problem, bringing in even less money to cover even the necessities. Children may go hungry because the grocery money was spent. Medical appointments may be missed due to a lack of funds or no transportation. If things get too bad financially, you may find yourself losing custody of your children because they are considered to be in an unhealthy environment.


Next, we look at how addiction affects families with regard to relationships. There may be more arguing as the addict stops going to work, taking care of the household chores, or caring for the children. Addiction causes personality changes that can leave the environment ripe for domestic violence. If one partner is codependent, they may start to feel taken advantage of and lash out at their partner or the kids. Children may live in fear or not want to be home, increasing the chances of getting into trouble in the streets or at school. Trust disappears. At best, strangers share one house. At worst, divorce happens, and everyone ends up going in different directions.

How Addiction Affects Families: Unhealthy Roles

Learning how addiction affects families must also take into account the changing roles of family members and how that affects mental health. This is especially apparent with children who grow up in a home with one or both parents who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. The interactions of this time will change the way the children deal with the world for the rest of their lives. These children often take on one of three different roles.

  • The Caretaker is often a mini-adult. They take on the parenting role of both the parent and other siblings. As things get worse at home, they try to keep everything together. They may end up being the one who lies to hide the events going on inside the house. These children often grow up to be codependent in their relationships.
  • The Rebel will act out their anger and confusion. This is the child who cries out for help by getting into trouble at school, running away from home, or turning to drugs or alcohol themselves in order to get through each day. In many cases, this child becomes a scapegoat and is harshly treated by both parents and other siblings.
  • The Joker just wants everything to be easy, and for everyone to get along. Whenever possible, they use humor to try to lighten the mood. Eventually, they are likely to live lives full of depression and are most at risk of future suicide.

Five Palms Can Help

At this point, you have probably realized how addiction affects families. There is hope, however. By contacting Five Palms today, you can start to get help to heal the emotions that have caused chaos to reign in your family. Healing is possible, and your family can become the safe haven it was always meant to be. Contact us today and start on your healing path now. 1.844.675.1022

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