Addiction is a devastating mental health disease that impacts the whole family. Not only do family members have to watch someone they love kill themselves slowly, through drink, drugs, or a behaviour, but the effects are far-reaching as it influences relationships, health, and family dynamics.
Other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression can have a similar impact. Illnesses such as these can at times render the sufferer unable to deal with day-to-day life, they withdraw into themselves and limit interaction with family members. This can be distressing for all those affected and incredibly difficult for them to understand and deal with.
Addiction is characterised as not having control over the use of a substance or the participation in an activity, to the point where it could be harmful or dangerous to you.
Most people associate addiction with drugs, alcohol, or gambling but it is possible to be addicted to anything. Sex, shopping, video games or social media (to name a few) are all behaviours that can turn into compulsions. Being addicted to something means to do it continually and obsessively because it makes you feel rewarded or happy, despite there being adverse emotional, physical, or financial consequences by doing so.
Addiction can happen to anyone, there is no stereotypical addict, they come from all walks of life, with differing experiences, diverse histories, and distinct backstories. The similarity is the destruction and damages their illness has wrecked upon themselves and all those around them as they are compelled to put their compulsion before everything else, work, money, health, and even loved ones.
In families where the parent, or parents, are addicts the children often need to grow up before their time taking on extra responsibilities around the house and within the family unit. An older child may have to look after younger siblings, getting them dressed and off to school, or ensuring that family members are fed and that bills are paid on time.
Children can feel uncomfortable about bringing friends home after school, sometimes becoming withdrawn and isolated for fear of what people may think of their parents or embarrassment at the situation. Some will become undisciplined and wild, staying out late, getting into trouble at school or with the authorities. Becoming involved in taking drugs and underage drinking, which often sadly then leads them into addiction.
Watching your child suffer with any type of addiction is a soul-destroying experience. Seeing them self-destruct despite pleading for them to change, the continued strain of not knowing what might come next and the feeling of total powerlessness over making it stop. This leads to issues with stress and anxiety, and many sleepless nights awake with worry- which can all turn into physical health problems.
The strain of dealing with a child in active addiction, and the time it consumes, means other siblings can feel overlooked or forgotten. The emphasis of the whole family unit becomes all about the addict and the constant pressure and drama they create. This is not healthy, and it can create friction, leading to resentments, arguments, and general discord.
Signs that someone you love may have a problem with addiction
Every addict is unique, and every addiction will have differences, however, there are some universal signs that are worth looking out for –
It can be extremely difficult to accept that someone you love may have a problem with addiction. It is sometimes easiest to try and ignore the problem and hope it goes away, or to enable the addict’s using in some way to try and restore a level of peace and calmness in the home. Unfortunately, addiction is a disease that requires treatment, without which things never get any better they only get worse.
There is help available. There are drugs, alcohol, behavioural and compulsive addiction rehabilitation services offered privately and through charitable or government-funded schemes. Also accessible are peer-group fellowship organisations such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and many others aimed at specific compulsions and addictions.
There are day-care drop-in centres, inpatient rehab treatment centres, luxury residential rehabs, individual and group counselling amongst the varied choice of treatment options available to addicts.
Here at our luxury residential rehab centre in Ibiza, we treat clients with a variety of mental health conditions, including addiction, alcoholism, depression, and anxiety.
For information on our admissions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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