Whether you are a spouse, child, sibling, parent, or any other person that is close to the addict, your life will be affected. Many family members find themselves covering up for the addict, denying that there is a problem and doing their best to cope with the situation. Unfortunately, many of these behaviors only contribute to the problem. Family members will often find themselves feeling anger, shame, guilt, resentment, worry, and even fear, as the actions of the addict become more unpredictable. Meanwhile, trust begins to break down, as lies are told about the use of the substance, the degree of the addiction, the addicts whereabouts, and spending habits. They may even steal from family members in order to support their habits. Family members may also begin to feel like they come second to the addiction. In many cases, this can be the truth, although the addict may not be meaning to do so. Oftentimes, the addiction becomes first before everything, including their own health, career, and relationships. As their career falls apart and the addiction becomes harder to support, a family may be placed under financial strains, which can add to the current strain on relationships.
Children and Addiction
While addiction can place strain on any member of the family, children tend to experience a whole different set of side effects. Children who live in a home with an addict are more likely to experience physical and mental illness, learning difficulties, abuse, and neglect. They often develop anxiety disorders, depression, low self-esteem, and defiance issues. They have also been found to be more likely to attempt suicide during their lifetime. Addiction also tends to run within families, and children living with an addict are more likely to abuse substances themselves or marry an addict. Children living in the home of an addict are also more likely to be removed from the home. To help a child understand and cope with emotions and situations that generally occur with addiction, it is important to find them support along with the treatment for the individual suffering from addiction. Many centers, such as The Palm Beach Institute, may provide family programs.