Welcome to Empowered Recovery Center

How Does Alcoholism Affect Families?

Alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, is a disease that affects both the individual and those surrounding them. Addiction creates both physical and emotional health problems, and family members will often share the emotional side effects.

Alcohol addiction is an all-consuming disease that alters a person’s ability to think rationally. Those struggling often engage in many problematic behaviors despite the negative consequences. As a result, their behaviors and attitudes change, placing stress on the family unit.

Unbeknown to many, alcohol abuse happens in various families and has numerous effects on children, spouses, and parents. Whether you abuse alcohol or are worried that a loved one might be, find out more about how alcoholism affects families here.

Effects on Family Members

When a person develops an alcohol addiction, drinking becomes the driving force in their life, alcohol becomes their priority, and other aspects are neglected. This can have extremely damaging implications on the entire family. For example, when a family member, such as a parent, abuses alcohol, it is common for those around them, such as their partner or children, to feel anxious and depressed. They may even experience feelings of guilt and shame.

Spouses and Partners

It is extremely common for partners to drink together socially. As spouses are generally dependent on one another, when one partner abuses alcohol, it disrupts the relationship in several ways. In fact, the Research Institute on Addictions states that substance use disorder is a key reason couples seek counseling.

Some common problems that arise when one partner abuses alcohol include:

  • Infidelity
  • Jealousy
  • Stress
  • Defensiveness
  • Financial instability

In addition, alcohol negatively impacts a person’s cognitive ability, resulting in many issues, such as putting themselves and their spouses or partners in unsafe situations. Neglect of shared responsibilities is also common.

When a person has a drinking problem, their partner or spouse may feel shame towards them and attempt to hide the existence of alcohol abuse by lying on their behalf. However, ignoring the problem while caring for them can enable alcohol abusers to continue feeding their addiction.

As those who abuse alcohol often have limited physical capabilities and cannot do things for themselves, partners typically become caregivers and take on a provider role. These enabling habits create a level of codependency and blur the line between helping and enabling a loved one’s drinking.

Furthermore, lower marital satisfaction is commonly associated with couples encountering alcohol problems. In the United States, alcohol abuse is a leading factor in divorce. This rate is higher when one person in the relationship abuses alcohol more than the other.

Impact on Children

When an individual participates in negative drinking habits and develops an addiction, it can negatively impact their children.

Children of those who abuse alcohol often feel an abundance of emotions, such as:

  • Guilt – Children usually take on the burden of alcohol abuse and blame themselves.
  • Confusion – Young children and teenagers may experience a lack of stability in the family home and an unawareness of what is happening.
  • Anger – Children may feel irritated by their parent and other family members for enabling the addiction.
  • Anxiety – A child will constantly worry about the health of their parent.

Although those struggling with addiction believe they can hide their problems from other people, children are likely to notice changes in a parent’s behavior. However, they may not understand why their parent-child relationship has drastically changed.

Having a parent who suffers from addiction can also result in a lack of care. A person drinking often neglects themselves and their children, and they are often unable to enforce healthy routines in schooling, eating, and hygiene. An accumulation of these things leads to a lack of stability which is key for healthy emotional development.

Unfortunately, disruption in a family unit can result in children encountering academic problems. Usually, this is because their behaviors are disrupted, and their minds are preoccupied with their family, making it hard to study and establish relationships among peers.

Children who grow up in a home with alcoholism are more likely to have issues with substance abuse. As relationships around a child suffer, they may turn to alcohol or other drugs through means of distraction. Children who have a family member, especially a parent, who has an alcohol abuse problem are also more susceptible to mental health problems, and they may find it difficult to form intimate and healthy relationships in later life.

When Your Child Has an Alcohol Addiction

Sometimes when family members are affected by alcohol abuse, it may be because a child has issues with alcohol. If a child or sibling has alcohol addiction, most attention will be directed towards them, resulting in a lack of care for other family members. This can affect parent and sibling relationships.

Alcohol Use Disorder and Violence

As alcoholism affects the brain and cognitive thinking, domestic disputes, including physical and emotional abuse, often arise. This is because alcoholism causes many additional pressures and stressors to impair relationships, which can lead to abusive communication such as:

  • Insults
  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Manipulation

Research has found verbal aggression twice as likely to occur when alcohol is consumed. It also indicates that domestic violence and physical abuse are four times more likely to take place.

Drinking problems are often associated with intimate partner violence. Research conducted by the World Health Organization suggests that the presence of alcohol makes the severity of domestic violence worse. In a published report, it was found that 92% of domestic violence victims reported that their partner had used alcohol or other drugs. This does not mean that drinking equates to violence; however, it must be considered as a key factor.

Furthermore, it is evident that drinking affects a person’s ability to think rationally and reduces self-control, which can cause negative interactions within intimate relationships.

Alcohol Abuse and Financial Problems

A family’s financial situation can be heavily affected by alcoholism for the simple fact that alcohol isn’t free. When people excessively drink, they will exceed the amount they typically spend and use the family budget to fund their habits. This can significantly impact a family’s ability to pay for household expenses. However, it is not just the price of alcohol that creates financial troubles for the entire family.

A person with an alcohol addiction has lowered inhibitions, meaning purchases will be made without considering financial problems. People may spend more money or make unnecessary purchases, resulting in serious financial difficulties.

Alcohol abuse can also result in disorderly conduct and poor performance at work. This can lead to job loss, which can create further financial problems. In this instance, a family member may forget to pay essential bills such as rent or utilities, accumulating late fees, resulting in debt.

Support for Families

Alcoholism is often referred to as a family disease as it affects the individual and all family members. Issues created by alcohol use can only be solved when support is sought for everyone involved. When an individual is ready to seek treatment, it is important to find a treatment program that encompasses all aspects.

Families affected by alcohol abuse have found family counseling to be highly effective in helping recognize the causes of problems and solutions to resolve them. Counseling also allows family members affected by alcoholism to address key issues with the person abusing alcohol.

In addition to counseling, treatment facilities offer many beneficial services, such as:

  • Support groups
  • Family therapy
  • Educational programs

To Conclude

Having a family member with an alcohol use disorder can create significant emotional, financial, and health implications. However, many resources and options are available for those seeking help for their own well-being and a family member’s addiction.

Although it is important to find the right addiction treatment for a loved one, it is key to find support for the entire family. Support groups, therapy, and counseling can aid families affected by alcoholism.

Who Is Outpatient Treatment Best Suited For?

Are you or a loved one battling addiction? You’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide suffer from a drug addiction, but that doesn’t mean recovery isn’t possible. 

Even if you think you don’t have the time to commit or are juggling a job and/or childcare, there’s a treatment program for everyone.

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

There are many different types of treatment options available, but two of the most common are inpatient and outpatient rehab. While both set an individual up with a treatment plan, there’s a big difference between the two. 

Inpatient treatment, for example, involves attending a clinic and remaining there throughout the duration of your treatment. Essentially, those who secure inpatient treatment live in the clinic and receive around-the-clock care and support.

On the other hand, outpatient rehab sees an individual attend a clinic for treatment sessions before returning home afterward.

From alcohol use disorder to substance abuse, both treatment plans can be used to treat a wide range of addictions. However, it should be noted that some outpatient programs focus on an individual’s mental health in addition to their addiction.

So, who is outpatient treatment best suited for?

1. Those Who Want To Save Money

Inpatient treatment can get a little costly, so outpatient rehab might be better suited to you if you’re looking to save money.

2. Those Who Are Juggling Childcare And/or Work Responsibilities

If you’ve got your plate full with family and/or childcare responsibilities, you might not be able to commit to an inpatient program. Try to run it by a few family members first and see if anyone can help. If you’re in it alone, however, outpatient rehab offers a lot more flexibility. 

For example, you still get to go home and surround yourself with your friends and family. Appointments can also be made on weekends, making it easier for you to juggle different responsibilities. 

3. Those Who Are in Aftercare 

If you or a loved one have recently recovered but need a little extra support, outpatient is perfect for delivering aftercare. Since you’re already equipped with a base foundation of tools and healthy habits, you’ll be better able to manage cravings and your addiction recovery at home. This means you only ever have to come back in for appointments if you’re feeling overwhelmed. 

4. Those in the Early Stages of Addiction

If you’re still in the early stages of addiction, outpatient treatment might be enough to nip it in the bud altogether. Just because it’s not delivered in a twenty-four-hour supervised setting doesn’t mean you won’t get adequate support. 

As well as detox and treatment plans, there will be many therapy and counseling sessions available, so you can learn from others on a similar journey to your own and build a support network.

5. Those Who Suffer From Co-Occurring Disorders

If you believe the root cause of your addiction stems from poor mental health, outpatient rehab might be perfect for you. Many outpatient rehabs emphasize treating co-occurring disorders, so they’ll arm you with a treatment plan that focuses on both your addiction and mental health. 

Outpatient rehabs will help you navigate stress management techniques and healthy habits so that you can put your best foot forward. Regular therapy and counseling sessions are also a part of outpatient rehab, giving you a chance to learn more about your mental health and how to take steps to improve it.

When Is Inpatient Treatment More Suitable?

In cases where an individual has a long history of addiction or has attended rehab before, inpatient treatment is usually more suitable. The longer you’ve been battling addiction, the more intensive your treatment needs to be. 

To Conclude

Choosing whether to secure inpatient or outpatient treatment will depend on your circumstances. If you or your loved one have been battling addiction for a sustained period, inpatient treatment is best. If you’ve got a lot of family and/or work responsibilities, the flexibility of outpatient treatment will suit you.

Don’t suffer in silence. You might think you don’t have time to commit or that you’re too busy, but there’s a wide range of treatment options out there – so, take the first steps to recovery today.

The Impact Addiction Can Have on Families

When an individual finds themself struggling with addiction, it often affects their family and life at home. Our homes are supposed to be our safe-havens. However, the impact addiction has can significantly alter the dynamics. Eventually, the addiction becomes an unwanted house guest that holds everyone hostage.

Though addiction has a significant impact on the whole family, it affects each member differently. Here are a few examples.

The Impact on Spouses

When your partner becomes addicted to substances, it can throw a loop in your relationship. Though addictions have a notable impact on the person suffering, the physical, psychological, and behavioral side effects such as mood swings, erratic behavior, poor hygiene, and lying will likely impact both of you. In addition, negative consequences to the user’s work and social life, financial difficulties, and even trouble with the law may be experienced.

Discovering that your partner has an alcohol or drug addiction will take an emotional toll. It could leave you feeling worried, upset, betrayed, or even angry. Your mental health might suffer, and you may find yourself wondering how you can both heal from the effects of addiction together.

Essentially, your partner will need professional medical help to recover from their addiction. This will include medical detox and therapy. However, it is vital to remember that you also need support on this journey. Across the country, there are support groups for partners of those with addiction. You may also find couples therapy beneficial.

The Impact on Parents

Finding out your child has an addiction is devastating, especially as all you want is the best for them. It may also come as a shock, particularly as you may not have noticed the signs of addiction. However, don’t blame yourself – people with substance abuse disorders can be very good at hiding their struggles.

As you come to terms with your child’s addiction, you might worry about what the right thing to say to your child is. You may even fear making things worse as your child’s addiction may have caused them to become irritable. It is also normal for you to feel angry and question why they can just snap out of it. 

Caring for someone suffering from addiction can be overwhelming. It can cause cracks in personal relationships to appear. Though you might want to point the finger, you must realize that neither you nor your partner is to blame.

Helping your child can seem challenging, and you may feel helpless. As addictions require medical treatment, you cannot cure your child of their addiction. However, you can aid their recovery. 

Remember that although help and support are available for those suffering from addiction, there are many support groups for parents of people with addiction. Attending a support group aimed at parents and family members will enable you to seek advice and guidance from others who know what you are going through.

The Impact on Children

Children of one or two parents with addiction can find life unpredictable and confusing. They might feel guilt, shame, or blame. In addition, the addiction will affect their home life, no matter how well it is hidden from them. Unfortunately, this may disrupt routines, roles, communication, and finances. 

Studies have found that children of parents who abuse often suffer adverse outcomes in their development. These include emotional and behavioral problems, social problems, and reduced academic functioning.  

It should also be noted that children of addicted parents are at risk of role reversal. This is where they take on the role of caregiver for their parents and any younger siblings. This can include paying bills, buying groceries, and offering emotional support.

The effects of having an addicted parent can be long-lasting. Children of substance abusing parents have an increased risk of developing a substance abuse disorder.

You Are Not Alone

It can be hard to accept that this is happening to your family. But know that addiction affects all types of families. Addiction is a disease and no one’s fault. What’s important is how you move forward.

With appropriate support, you can get through this together. The first step is securing appropriate treatment for your addicted family member. From here, families affected by drug abuse can turn to support groups, family therapy, and counseling.

Connect With Us

  • Empowered Recovery Center
    3651 Canton Road,
    Marietta, GA 30066

© 2022 Empowered Recovery Center