No one is immune to drug addiction and this includes people who aren't users. Is your friend or family member battling this disease?
When dealing with addiction and addicts, it's easy to get angry at them. They act like they don't care about anything except drugs.
For the most part, this is the truth. Their brains have essentially been rewired by the drugs to only want one thing. And that's more drugs.
Today, we're dealing with addiction and the family members it hurts. So keep reading to find out what you can expect and what to do about it.
Friends and Family Dealing With Addiction
We're going to be brutally honest. This is going to be hard and will likely get harder as time goes on.
It will likely start with the addict being late to family functions, PTA meetings, and other get-togethers. As the problem progresses, they will skip them entirely.
They may lose their job. They'll steal from the family to get more drugs. They'll sell off family heirlooms.
Eventually, they will find themselves in legal trouble or worse, in debt to a dealer.
The Effects on Children
It's easy to focus on the fact that roughly ten percent of our population is struggling with alcohol or drug dependency. But who suffers the most?
The children of addicts.
We know you love your parents, even if one or both is an addict, and this can be hard to admit and talk about.
There are a variety of effects on kids, such as:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior
- Neglect - forcing children to raise themselves
- Adults developing a co-dependency on the child for survival
- Children becoming quiet to hide the abuse and save themselves embarrassment
- Higher risk of anxiety and depression
- Low self-esteem
- Poor performance at school and in athletics
When children are dealing with the addiction of a parent in the long-term, we will start to see kids mimicking the behavior of the parent. Children of addicts are more likely to become addicts themselves.
What Can You Do?
All children require a stable upbringing in order to become successful adults. If you have a loved one who is going through this kind of experience, you can help.
Be a stable, healthy part of their lives. Give them rides when they need them. Provide an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.
Encourage the child to focus on things outside of the home such as school work, making and hanging out with friends, athletics, and hobbies.
The written word can be a powerful tool. The child may benefit from keeping a journal or starting an anonymous blog.
Everyone deals with addiction in different ways. It seems to hit many people from different angles and what may work for one family may not work for another.
Catch your addicted loved one on a sober day. Explain how their actions and abuse are hurting your family. Let them see it with sober eyes.
Kids, especially, shouldn't have to clean up an adult's mess. If your parent or other family member has a problem and you need some advice or tips on how to handle the situation, contact us today.