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The Real Effects of Addiction on Family and Friends

Close up of a woman crying into her hands.

More than 21 million Americans are suffering from a substance use disorder. This is according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The direct effects of substance use disorders on addicts include physical, health, emotional, financial, and mental effects.

However, it is important to understand that addiction does not only affect the individual themselves but also their family members and friends. Research shows that almost half (46%) of Americans have a close friend or family member who’s been addicted to drugs.

The impact of addiction on these people is often overlooked, though it can be just as detrimental. In this blog post, we will highlight the effects of addiction on family members and friends, focusing specifically on the emotional, financial, and physical addiction effects.

Emotional Effects of Addiction on Others

Many people who suffer from addiction either end up losing loved ones, such as family members and friends. Addiction can alienate people in a number of ways, which can take a serious toll on the people around them.

For example, addiction can cause trust issues. People suffering from addiction may struggle to be completely honest with those around them. In order to feed their addiction, a person may end up stealing from their family members or friends. Dishonesty and distrust can create problems within once normal relationships, putting great stress on people.

The effects of this stress can result in confrontations, given that tensions can run high. Heated conversations can occur between people suffering from addictions and their family and friends. This can place an emotional burden on people and make it difficult to carry out everyday duties normally.

Even in cases where you are not as directly affected by a person’s addiction, it is always troubling to see someone you care about suffering. This takes an emotional toll on people, particularly if the addiction continues and the people’s condition worsens. 

Many people often feel that they did something wrong which led to their family member or friend becoming an addict. Parents, especially, tend to carry this emotional burden when their child suffers from an addiction. Children who have a parent suffering from an addiction will sense that something is not right and may carry around feelings of neglect.

As a way of protecting themselves emotionally, family members and friends may begin to create distance, which puts the relationship under even greater strain.

Financial Effects of Addiction on Others

A person suffering from an addiction, be it an illegal drug, alcohol, or something else, invariably end up spending a lot of money to get their fix. While the issue of finances is often not directly discussed between family members and friends, it does influence these relationships.

Someone spending a great deal of money to support their addictions risks the well-being of family members and friends in a number of ways, both directly and indirectly. Addicts often find it difficult to keep their job. In cases where an addict is financially responsible for other family members, these people can directly suffer.

Should an employer notice changes in a person’s performance, they may end up losing their job. This not only affects the person themselves, but also the people who rely on their income (such as children).

Addiction can also lead to stealing. It happens frequently that an addict steals from the people who are close to them in order to feed their addiction. Unfortunately, this puts a monetary burden on these people (as well as the emotional burden we referenced above).

What’s more, addiction can lead to legal trouble, which directly impacts family members. Everything from possession charges to DUIs and reckless behavior can have an impact on the family members given the high cost of legal troubles. Family members are often forced to pay for bail and lawyers in these situations.

Physical Effects of Addiction on Others

Unfortunately, physical violence against family members and friends does sometimes occur in cases of addiction. Addiction can lead to violence and people with addictions may engage in violent activities that otherwise they would never do.

Domestic violence is one example of the physical effects of addiction. People who are under the effects of a drug may not be aware of the stress and tension they are creating.

Addiction can also cause depression among family members and friends. It can be very difficult to watch a loved one as they battle their addiction. This may lead to clinical depression, which may result in serious physical issues.

PTSD is another potential effect on those whose loved one is suffering from an addiction. People, including children, who have experienced serious trauma can be scared for many years. PTSD can take a big toll on a person’s physical and mental health.

The Real Effects of Addiction on Family and Friends

If someone you love is suffering from an addiction, you may also be dealing with the effects of this addiction. The reality is that the majority of addicts don’t get the professional care they need to overcome their addiction. Specialized expertise and care are essential to helping a person overcome their addiction permanently.

The effects of addiction on family and friends are serious and potentially life-changing. If someone you care about is suffering from an addiction, APEX Recovery can help. We are San Diego’s premier drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

For professional San Diego alcohol rehabilitation, speak to our expert team today. Contact us for a free consultation. We don’t accept Medi-Cal at this time but do accept self-pay options.

Call Our Toll-Free Hotline 24/7 at 877.881.2689