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The Impact of Substance Abuse on the Family Unit:

Family addiction counseling can be extremely beneficial when it comes to   addiction therapy. Studies have shown   that treatment that implements family   therapy is more effective than when it's   not. Addiction is something that can affect home and family life for the addict and the household. It's never too late to get the help you deserve, for yourself and for your loved ones.  Therapy Addiction affects the individual, as well as everyone  around them. It can be painful to see a loved one   struggle  and  change for   the  worse.  Having  a supportive and open   family environment  is  crucial  too long  term  recovery.  This is where   family   therapy  for addiction can sometimes be necessary. 

Family Therapy Addiction affects the individual, as well as everyone  around them. It can be painful to see a loved one   struggle  and  change for   the  worse.  Having  a supportive and open   family environment  is  crucial  too long  term  recovery.  This is where   family   therapy  for addiction can sometimes be necessary. 


Addiction affects those who use substances and everyone around them as well. It can be a crippling situation for everyone involved. Living with someone who is abusing drugs can be unpredictable, unsettling, stressful, disruptive, and sometimes even scary. This can cause a lot of issues for siblings, parents, and spouses.

To cope with the situation, family members may adopt destructive behavior while trying to deal with the situation. The entire family can become  dysfunctional and fragile during the entire process. This sort of environment only helps fuel substance abuse and addiction.

Children are most affected by addiction in siblings and parents. Substance abuse can cause disruption in a

Child's regular development. Which can lead to higher risk of mental, physical, and emotional problems down the  line. These  stresses  and  disruptions  can  result

in  poor  performance  in  school  and  can  lead  to

learning  disabilities  and  problems  with  authority

(skipping  school,  suspensions,  etc.).  Alarmingly,

children are almost  four times more likely to become

addicted when living in a home with someone

suffering from addiction.

Unhealthy Behaviors to Avoid:

Families will often fall into certain unhealthy and enabling behaviors. These only continue the vicious cycle of addiction and stress. Looking out for these before and after family addiction counseling can make a world of difference. 

Codependency happens when someone has to adapt to a dysfunctional family lifestyle. What tends to happen is, family members will put the addict’s needs and desires first. Family members may set aside their goals and lifestyle to fully focus on the individual struggling with addiction. 

Signs of possible codependency include:

  • Projecting anger onto pets and children

  • Mood based on how your loved one is doing

  • Lying to others and yourself about a loved one’s drug use

  • Constant worry about your loved one’s addiction and health

  • Overall denial of the situation and constantly making excuses

  • Violent or irrational behavior towards addiction-related events

  • Unhealthy habits like over-shopping, obsessive internet usage, and over-eating 

  • Lowered self -esteem and putting your own desires and emotions to the side for your loved one



Enabling behaviors can be extremely unproductive and dangerous for addicts. Enabling occurs when you remove the consequences of drug use for a loved one. Some people may be trying to help but are actually enabling further drug use. It’s important to be aware of the signs and make sure you are not enabling a loved one and their drug use. 

Behaviors that enable family members include:

  • Using substances with a loved one to keep the situation under control 

  • Hiding your feelings so you can keep the peace between you and your loved one

  • Making excuses on behalf of your loved one and minimizing the consequences of drug use

  • Taking extra steps to make sure everything appears okay in the household (when this is not the case)

  • Accepting and not questioning your loved one’s excuses for their addiction and substance abuse

  • A feeling of guilt for failing to stop the consequences of addiction from affecting a loved one (from their drug use) 


These behaviors, even though may seem helpful, actually encourage drug use. By getting rid of the consequences, a loved one has no reason to stop using drugs and alcohol. This is where family therapy for addiction can make a difference. 

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