Substance abuse and its effects on the family

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
When a family member abuses alcohol and drugs, the addiction affects the whole family. Family members may become co-dependent, causing the quality of the relationship between them to suffer. Another consequence of alcohol and drug addiction is a change in roles. An adult entering a marriage expecting an adult relationship may find him or herself in a parent role with their mate. Likewise, children may become the caretakers of the addicted parent, devoting much time and energy at looking after the parent. If the child is the addicted family member, the parents' relationship may become strained because of indecision on how to deal with the problem and blaming each other for the situation. Substance and alcohol abuse can throw the entire family into turmoil. Anger and rage may be expressed openly and violently or may be harbored internally. Co-dependents typically suppress their own feelings and opinions to minimize the possibility of conflict. Stress, tension, depression, and apprehension can create an uncomfortable home atmosphere. Family counseling, individual therapy, marriage counseling, group therapy, and special programs can aid in the treatment and recovery process. For more information on substance abuse's effect on the family, contact a counseling professional.

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