Abuse of alcohol and other drugs is a reaction to changes in the family system. It appears to be quite simple to distinguish between functional and dysfunctional families. Still, several traits distinguish a dysfunctional family from a functioning one.
The most common and obvious one is addiction, caused by a substance or drug abuse. A family member who abuses alcohol or a substance frequently requires as much treatment as the family member who abuses alcohol.
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Excessive use of drugs and other substances has an emotional, physical, and mental impact on the entire family. There may be additional pressure to keep the family's "secret" within your four walls, making it more difficult to seek holistic treatment.
As the addict's Substance Use Disorder (SUD) advances, unpredictable behaviors generate problematic family roles that other family members may unconsciously adopt. Even the most stable families can fall victim to addiction as it permeates their lives.
Individuals who use substances have a particular impact on each family and each family member, including but not limited to:
Managing drug abuse or substance abuse is a challenging task that often requires professional medical intervention to be effective. Besides the substance abuser, their family members must also participate in the healing process. Treatment becomes challenging when certain roles within a dysfunctional family cloud judgment.
The family member who continually assures that everything is alright is the hero. They refuse to acknowledge that the family is dysfunctional or that they cannot cope with the pressures of addiction.
When a caregiver takes care of a family member with SUD concerns and duties, they act as enablers. They do these things to ensure the happiness of the rest of the family. By shielding the individual from the consequences of their actions, the caretakers also encourage SUD individuals to engage in undesirable behavior.
The scapegoat expresses the entire family's rage. They often provide a sense of purpose for the family by blaming someone else for their problems, which shields the addicted family member from much of the animosity and blame.
SUDs can have a negative impact on family members and the addict themselves. Fortunately, there is always help available. Family members may have questions that treatment providers can answer.
Sober relatives can visit family members in rehab to get therapy and maintain relationships at various clinics. Patients can recover with the help of therapy, medication, and professional assistance.
Gary McKenzie is Radical Rehab’s CEO. He is committed to helping people with alcohol and drug addiction. Gary made it his mission to spread knowledge and resources to those in need.