11954857_sWith all the negative side effects, one might wonder why someone abusing drugs would have such trouble walking away from his or her habit. But many people don’t understand the nature of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), dependency is a compulsive habit that drives affected individuals regardless of undesirable consequences. This is why someone using drugs may continue to do so even when faced with the loss of employment, divorce, or declining physical health.

According to a recent article presented by Live Strong, drug use not only impacts the user, it also can disrupt family relationships and can result in a cycle of abuse and neglect towards loved ones.

Family Relationships

Family members who have a relative living with addiction often slip into a role that is dysfunctional to compensate for their loved one’s shortcomings. Over time, substance abuse can alter a person’s behavior and lead to severe family problems. It’s not uncommon for family members to deprive themselves of things so that they can provide resources to the dependent individual. This can lead to resentment and family members lashing out at the person with the addiction. And instead of trying to focus time and energy on getting the said person help, many in the family will rally to keep themselves from falling apart.

Pattern of Abuse and Neglect

Those living with addiction are not in a normal state of mind and may have trouble making rational decisions. It’s not uncommon for drug using parents to make their children a second priority. Drug abuse also heightens the risk of family violence, say the authors of a study made public in the Clinical Psychology Review. Additionally, many pregnant women continue to use drugs even though it increases the chances that their babies will be born with birth defects or lasting brain impairment.

User Impact

Dependency can lead to feelings of depression, agitation, anger, and anxiety. These impact the user and everyone else around him or her. Drug use also heightens the risk of communicable disease and can worsen existing mental health conditions.

Breaking the cycle of dependency often requires time and the help of a professional. The Family Guidance Center can walk families through this journey. Our therapy programs target the entire family, including spouses and children so that patterns of addiction can be broken and loved ones can rebuild a healthy way of life.