Drug addiction has long been misunderstood, with many considering it a moral issue rather than what it is: drug addiction is a brain disease that drives an individual to use. Drug addiction requires treatment and support; individuals can’t just ‘get over it’ with willpower alone. We class an addiction to substances as a brain disease due to the drugs causing changes to the function and structure of the brain. 

When you have a family member suffering from substance abuse, although they are aware of the harmful effects, their brain makes them think that they need the drug still; it’s a constant battle that can get scary and intimidating. When a person uses drugs, it doesn’t just cause damage to them; it also causes damage to their family and friends. Relationships can become severely compromised, and without help, they may never get sorted. 

At the Master Center for Addiction Medicine, we understand how difficult it can be for families with substance abuse problems.

What Is an Addiction Treatment Program?

When a family is dealing with a member addicted to drugs, they may be unsure how to stop a loved one from using drugs themselves. They may have tried talking to them to understand why they’re taking drugs and discuss with them why it’s bad as well as the associated consequences. However, they agree with everything to get out of the conversation in many cases, and their addiction doesn’t cease. No family should be left on their own to deal with this type of problem, and having professional help is the best option.

How Drug Addiction Affects the Whole Family

Having a drug addiction doesn’t just affect one person – it hurts multiple people. Substance use is a serious problem, and it can cause families to fall apart. There are several different ways drugs can bring problems into family life. When a loved one is hurting themselves by abusing drugs, it can cause a great deal of stress on the entire family and their friends. There are many consequences caused by drug addiction, including:

  • The family member may steal money from others or valuable items to sell to get their drug fix.
  • Their jobs can become compromised; they may quit or get fired.
  • They might go missing for a few days or not come home at night due to being intoxicated.
  • Drugs can change their personality. They can do and say things that would usually be out of character.
  • You may find that they often lie; you won’t count on them for things that you usually could.
  • They can become too fixated on wanting drugs; you may find it hard to get them to focus, and they’ll often forget things.
  • Drugs can cause many problems in a family, such as fighting, depression, resentments, and much more.

When an individual, especially one who is considered a role model to those younger than them, is using prescription or illegal drugs to the point where they are addicted, it can also influence others into using the drug. If a child is brought up with a family member addicted to drugs, they are more likely to use and abuse drugs when they’re older.

How Can Our Family Program Help?

When someone is addicted to drugs, they can feel confused and anxious. Many people get ashamed to go to their families and feel like no one to turn to for help. If you or a family member suffers from addiction, you should never feel embarrassed to seek help. 

Drugs can make people say and do things that they usually never would, and important family bonds can get jeopardized. The transition from addiction to recovery can be difficult, but it’s also very rewarding. When someone addicted to drugs can get to the point of recovery, with professional help, family support, love, and encouragement, they can become the best version of themselves.

Below are some programs designed to educate and support family members whose loved ones suffer from addiction.

Family Education Webinar

Our ongoing Family Education Seminar series features addiction medicine leaders from around the country and is offered free by the Master Center to individuals, families, and care professionals. The series is currently offered in webinar format. We welcome you to join us and to make recommendations for topics you’d like to see us feature in the future as our seminar series grows. Go to our Events section to view and register for upcoming events.

Weekly Family Support Group

Family Support Group by Master Center for Addiction Medicine is hosted every Monday online for free. All are welcome! Each week we offer guest speakers, peer recovery coaches, family members, and others from the addiction medicine community as we discuss the complex — yet treatable — disease of addiction and its impact on families. Learn more about the Master Center’s approach to transformation and the rewards of recovery each week at 6 PM online. Just log on at 6 pm EST every Monday here.