The effects of addiction on the family unit have been likened to a tornado that rips through the countryside, devastating everything in its way. Only destruction, mistrust and severe relationship damage are left in its wake. The demise begins when trust starts eroding, with family members finding they can no longer expect the addict to act in good faith.

The mistrust can start with sneaky behavior, lies, even petty theft or more serious stealing. As addiction progresses and drugs take an even stronger hold on the addict, rifts deepen. Arguments become a daily occurrence, with violent outbursts followed by silent treatments.

Teens become angry, rebellious, defiant. Addiction takes center stage in the life of the addict, the only thing that matters to the person.

When things have deteriorated to this level, there remains only one option for the family: getting the help of family intervention and treatment services professional.

Effects on Family Members

Family members aware of the addiction may remain in denial and refuse to face the truth. They may also go out of their way to cover for the addict, picking up their chores, backing up their lies, or otherwise enabling them to continue their destructive behavior.

On the flip side, they may confront the person daily, with yelling, screaming and threats. Other household members may become neglected as time and energy goes into dealing with the addiction in whatever way the family has chosen to cope.

The end-result is most often a dysfunctional family unit riddled with mistrust, sadness, and anger. The family may become so accustomed to the dysfunctional behavior that its members forget what a normal family life looks like and acts like.

Addiction tears apart the family dynamics.

Treatment Helps and Heals

Treatment for addiction does not necessarily focus only on the addict. It can also focus on helping the family heal, and begin to repair its broken unity.

The first step in the healing process is often establishing an open and honest form of communication. Lies and denial have to stop, the truth must be confronted. While suddenly becoming honest about the existence of an addiction and the need for help is a great start, it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to repairing the damage done.

The addict and any family member who has lived in the destructive environment will benefit from therapy or counseling. Families will benefit from reviewing the dysfunctional behaviors they have often established as coping mechanisms, and learn to undo them.

Education About Addiction

Education also plays a part in the healing process. The more the family understands about addiction, the better its members can understand how and why their family was torn apart.

They can come to realize that addiction will entirely consume the loving, creative, compassionate son or daughter with a power so great he or she ceased to be that loving, creative individual.

A drug recovery program has the power to restore the addict entirely. It can also restore relationships and a family unit torn asunder.

Alcohol and the Destruction of Family

Alcoholism is a disease that grows progressively worse when left untreated.

For the family, the harmful effects will last a lifetime if the alcoholic is unwilling to undergo rehab. Oftentimes, family members find themselves having to adjust their own lives to help minimize the impact or influence the disease can have upon them. Most of the time, family members are victimized, abused physically, mentally, and verbally by the alcoholic.

The disease is devastating, not just on the alcoholic, but also on the spouse, the parents, and the children. It will destroy a family.

Co-Dependency Issues

When spouses find themselves the long-term relationship of a marriage with an alcoholic, it is almost inevitable they become a co-dependent in the relationship. That means the spouse also suffers.

As a co-dependent, your own needs won’t be met. Rather, you will work to meet the needs of the alcoholic. The relationship will usually be one-sided. You will most likely assume the full responsibility of caring for the children. They will witness and suffer from the destructive behavior of the alcoholic.

In general, alcoholism has such a destructive effect on a couple and their children that separation and divorce are the only viable options for the non-addicted spouse.

This is where alcohol intervention services must play a role of last resort.

Alcohol Intervention Services

A well-planned intervention will result in providing the alcoholic with the proper rehab treatment, as well as healing and hope for the rest of the family.

There is no quick fix or solution to alcohol addiction: seeking help from substance abuse counselors and professional interventionists is the first step out of the mess.

Support Groups

When a former addict comes out of rehab, support groups become a vital part of their life, sustaining their newly found balance, and keeping them on the right track. Family members have to support this participation, encouraging the rehabbed addict to attend all meetings and help others.

After 50 odd years of operation, Alcoholics Anonymous remains a successful network of support for both alcoholics and family members.

Families can also seek the help of a qualified outpatient treatment center. These facilities are manned with certified counselors and professionals who work to help the former addict or alcoholic stay focused on their recovery.

Rehab can be affordable

Most people think rehabilitation programs are unaffordable, when in fact it is not necessarily the case. Many treatment centers offer financial assistance under government aid programs, making treatment available to most.

Some large employers also offer financial aid programs for alcoholics, even for their families. Lastly, some health insurance policies include coverage for rehab.

RX Treatment for Alcoholism?

Several prescription medications available can help alcoholics to cope successfully with the disease. Antabuse, also known as Disulfiram, works as a deterrent to drinking by causing nausea when alcohol is consumed. Naltrexone, also known as Revia, works to block the effects of the alcohol in the brain, reducing the craving for alcohol. Acamprosate, also known as Campral, relieves the urge and distress that alcoholics experience when they stop drinking.

Taking Action

Whatever treatment method is chosen, the most important help factor for the family is to take action. You can’t simply ignore the disease. It will not improve by itself. Whether the addiction is to street drugs, pain meds, or alcohol, it is too powerful for most individuals to escape its grip on their own.

What’s more, addicts to illicit street drugs must break off their circle of relationships, change their habits, and get away from their former life. Left to their own device, addicts will never break the relationship with their own dealers. This step is usually done in sync with the help of substance abuse counselors, both during and post rehab. This change of life and habits is absolutely necessary to prevent relapse.

Experience has shown that when a family rallies around the goal of getting an addict into rehab, under the guidance of a professional, family interventions are a truly successful method to achieve this goal. But the most important first step is to take action and call an addiction intervention and treatment service professional. The reward can be to have saved several lives: that of the addict, and those of the family members.