Contrary to popular belief addiction does not just affect the person suffering from substance abuse disorder. It is a family disease.

When one member of a family struggles with substance abuse the whole family suffers in a variety of ways. To understand how this affects a family you must first understand how being an addict works.

Understanding Addiction

There are two types of addiction. A chemical addiction which stems from drugs, alcohol, and other substances. Then there is also the non-chemical addiction that centers around co-dependency such as sex, gambling or food. When someone is an addict their judgment becomes unclear.

How Addiction affects a family

When families become engrossed in “fixing” the drug or alcohol abuse problems of their loved one they inadvertently become an enabler. As an enabler, you may find yourself giving into the addict in your life’s demands for fear of them facing harm indirectly like running away from home or simply just being in pain. Conversely, other family members may find themselves being unsupportive and cold leading the addict to lash out or fall deeper into their substance abuse.

Then there is the other extreme. When some family members may be unsupportive and cold leading the person with the substance abuse disorder to lash out or worse yet fall deeper into their addiction.

family disease addicton


More and more families are losing all their savings in an effort to treat their loved one who is suffering from drug and alcohol abuse. From stealing, court fees and treatment programs these can financially create burden and strife among family members. Money alone is a stressful factor within a family, however, in combination with addiction, it can destroy a family.


Addiction also can negatively impact a family psychologically. The behavior brought on by substance abuse is enough to cause other family members to act out. Some examples can include mistrust, paranoia, and anxiety. Family members are also constantly having to deal with an addicts mood swings, betrayal, or erratic behavior.

Remember when it comes to getting a loved one drug and alcohol abuse treatment is vital. However, do not let it be at the cost of the rest of your family.

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