How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships

How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships

With the rise of opioid-related deaths, more and more families and loved ones are becoming affected, and substance use disorder treatment, family intervention, and relational repair are needed. Many times, people concentrate on the psychological and physical effects of drug addiction, and many times they are not talking about the social aspect and how drug addiction affects relationships. However, social health, which is vital for a person’s well being, happiness, and success is also affected.

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Regardless of class, race, gender, and religion, more and more people are from all walks of life are seeking substance use disorder treatment. So many people in the US and beyond have encountered the devastating effects of drug addiction, including the damage to the substance user’s mind, emotions, body, and relationships. The person struggling generally goes on a downward spiral while the people who love him or her the most will also suffer as they watch their loved one harm him or herself. Also, there will be some strain in some of those important relationships.

The Damage That Comes From Drug Addiction

When drug addiction comes on the scene, many aspects that are required to maintain a healthy relationship starts to dissipate. Drug addiction destroys relationships. The drug abuser starts to focus on getting and maintaining the drug habit than anything else which causes neglect in nurturing the relationship. The person will use money that’s needed for bills or other needs to support the drug habit, causing financial strain. The drug abuser will also resort to secrecy and deception towards his/her significant other, family, or friends which can create the relationship to become distant and cause distrust. Additionally, the person abusing drugs can start developing anger problems which can lead to aggression and violence, thus victimizing the loved one. Drugs, such as alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine (crystal meth), and steroids, will amplify an already present anger management issues. The person can also get frustrated at him or herself because of the precipitating factors associated with trying to quit the substance use, which, in turn, will cause even more anger, grief, and low self-esteem. Furthermore, the loved one can become aggressive and violent, if not careful. The situation can become an endless, downward spiral until the relationship can become irreparable even to the point of domestic violence. These are all the ways how drug addiction affects relationships.

There Is Hope

Nevertheless, with all of these negative effects, there is hope in repairing your relationship with your brother, sister, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, and more. The following includes some helpful tips on repairing relationships and helps understand how drug addiction affects relationships:  

Stop Dysfunctional Habits:

This is a process so quitting these bad habits won’t happen overnight. To undergo this process, the loved one and the person on drugs should get treatment and counseling. There are various options for substance use disorder treatment, including individual treatment and counseling, group counseling, family therapy, and marriage counseling. Also, depending on the level of the substance use disorder, patients can choose from an inpatient rehab program or an intensive outpatient program to battle the addiction and to receive holistic care.  

Admit and Strategize:

As with the twelve steps, the first step is an admittance of this toxic relationship. This must be done in order to move forward in recovery and relationship repair. In order to move forward, you must create strategies to deal with these issues better in the future  

Reinvest Energy and Time:

You two must spend quality time with the person affected in order to nurture and rebuild the relationship. Having honest and clear communication, while respecting one another is also required.  

Individual and Group Therapy:

When the both of you get the professional help needed to learn, understand, and how to deal with one another, you will gain the tools needed to build a strong and healthy relationship by learning to set healthy boundaries.  

Couples and Family Counseling:

It’s the same as individual and group counseling. However, it’s even more beneficial because you two can express and see each other’s thoughts and feelings and have a professional there to assist you through this situation so you two can be whole again. Couples can get sober together. To maintain a successful relationship, it takes work even if drug use isn’t an issue. Substance use disorder just makes it much harder to sustain a healthy relationship. However, if both parties involved work hard by adhering to the steps listed above, you will gradually overcome these struggles over time and move forward to a much brighter future together. And remember, couples can get sober together and marriage can survive a drug addiction  

Irreparable Relationships

  On the other hand, there are cases where drug addiction destroys relationships to the point of no return. The relationship has broken down so badly that the distrust, anger, and resentment has reached an all-time high. This could be due to enduring great financial loss when the substance abuser stole from the loved one or misused funds, or it could be from going through significant domestic violence issues with the substance user. Whatever the case may be, some relationships may be irreparable, thus vital steps should be taken accordingly to move forward in this case.   If domestic violence is the case, you must make a safety plan to ensure you will not be a victim again. You can get family or friends support by sharing with them your plans to move on or perhaps move in with them. You can get in contact with the domestic hotline or contact your local police station, for instance. You can also retrieve an order of protection through the legal system. Other plans should include seeking continual support while going through and after the breakup.  

The Bottom Line

  Regardless if you can salvage the relationship or not, you must understand how drug addiction affects relationships and that this is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with appropriately. Furthermore, you must ensure you look out for your own needs.   If you are in recovery, getting the appropriate support and going through the right channels with individual therapy or group therapy, such as Al-Anon, are some of the many ways you can get the help you need.   If you are suffering from addiction now, Lakeview Health is ready to assist you. Call our intake team or fill out the form below if you or someone you love is in the grips of an active addiction.