The problems faced by those who struggle substance abuse touch almost every aspect of their lives but perhaps no effects are more personal and damaging for the long-term than the negative consequences experienced at home.
Common issues experienced during active addiction include:
- Marital discord or divorce
- Loss of child custody
- Issues of addiction, behavior problems and increased mental health issues among other family members
- Bankruptcy and foreclosure
The losses associated with the emotional, mental health, physical, legal and financial problems experienced in families where substance abuse is an issue can take a lifetime to overcome – but healing is possible, especially when everyone involved is included in the recovery process.
Possible Health Risks for Partners of Abusers
It might not seem like the partner of a substance abuser has anything to fear health-wise. The truth is, however, that certain behaviors related to substance abuse can put intimate partners of abusers at risk. Drug abusers who use drugs intravenously, for example, are at an increased risk of developing HIV, hepatitis, and certain other diseases and health conditions. Many of these conditions can be passed on to sexual partners through unprotected sex, so just as the risk of contracting these diseases is higher for intravenous drug users, it is also higher for their romantic partners.
Additionally, becoming the victim of domestic violence or attack is increased when living with someone who is struggling with active addiction, and the stress related to the constant worry, argument and tension that characterizes addiction can cause a slew of mental health problems as well as physical ailments.
Silent Sufferers: The Children of Substance Abusers
While it is true that substance abuse impacts each and every member of the family, perhaps the worst of the consequences associated with substance abuse are incurred by those who deserve these consequences the least: the children.
Some of the known risks and consequences for children of drug and alcohol abusers include:
- Increased risk of developing a future substance use disorder
- Increased risk of aggressive behavior and criminal activity
- Increased risk of learning difficulties
- Problems with concentration
- Increased risk of emotional problems, including depression, anxiety and poor self-esteem.
Furthermore, families in which at least one member is a substance abuser have a 50 percent greater chance of experiencing domestic violence, which can take its own toll on the children involved.
Substance Abuse and Marital Problems
Marriage is stressful and difficult, and being married to a substance abuser increases the stresses and difficulties tenfold. Many marriages do not survive substance abuse; in fact, divorce is said to be seven times more likely when one or more of the partners has a drug or alcohol use disorder. As mentioned, there is also an increased risk for domestic violence, which includes spousal abuse. Furthermore, substance abuse increases the risk of legal problems, financial problems, unemployment and a host of other difficulties, all of which can make the marriage even harder to maintain.
Hope and Healing
The good news is that family units do not have to fall apart because of substance abuse. Those who abuse drugs or alcohol can get help for their problems, and families can be rebuilt and healed once the substance abuse problem is under control.
However, every member of the family has to be committed to change, especially the person with the disorder. If you want help for your family, don’t hesitate to seek treatment here at Black Bear Lodge. Recovery from substance abuse and the damage it creates can be overcome through comprehensive, evidence-based care. Call now for more information.