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How Addiction Impacts Relationships

couple arguing while struggling with how addiction impacts relationships

When someone has a substance use disorder, their relationships with family, friends, and partners will suffer. Often, the most important relationship in their lives is with their substance of choice. Detox programs in Louisiana help patients successfully get all aspects of their life back on track, including repairing fractured relationships.

It’s important for both the person with addiction and their loved ones to understand how addiction and relationships are connected.

Addiction Affects Family Dynamics

Family members may have a range of responses when someone in their family is abusing substances. Some family members may feel angry or think their loved one isn’t trying hard enough to stay sober, especially after a relapse. Others may struggle with guilt and feel responsible for their loved one’s addiction. They may also be afraid for their family member’s health and safety.

Addiction can also cause family members to grow emotionally distant from one another. The person with addiction may avoid their family, for instance. And in partnerships where one person has an addiction, trust and communication can easily break down.

Another common effect of addiction on relationships is that a family member may fall into a caretaking role. Sometimes, they end up enabling their loved one’s addiction without even realizing it. For example, they may deny their loved one has a problem, blame themselves for their family member’s substance use, or try to minimize any consequences of their loved one’s behavior.

All of these reactions can create unhealthy family dynamics that harm everyone, not just the person with addiction.

Addiction Breaks Down Trust Between Partners

When one partner has a substance use disorder, communication in the relationship often suffers.

The person with addiction may feel guilty, ashamed, or defensive about their substance abuse. As a result, they may then lie to their partner about their actions. Or they may simply become distant from their partner and unwilling to share what they’re going through. In some cases, a person with addiction breaches their partner’s trust by stealing household resources to pay for alcohol or drugs.

If their partner senses the lack of honesty, they may lose their feelings of trust—an essential ingredient in a safe, loving relationship. Even after the person with addiction has gotten sober and begun recovery, trust usually takes time and work to rebuild. Their partner may be concerned about the risk of relapse, or worried their loved one won’t be able to change.

Increased Risk of Violence and Abuse

Not everyone who abuses drugs and alcohol will act violently toward the people they love. However, since many addictive substances also lower inhibitions and compromise judgment, it’s easier for discussions to get tense and emotional when one person is under the influence. Some studies estimate that substance abuse is a factor in between 40–60% of domestic violence incidents in the United States.

Withdrawal from substances, which can be painful, can also increase someone’s frustration to the level of violence. The risk of violence and abuse becomes even greater if both partners have substance addictions.

Substances that may cause aggression and anger, if used excessively, include:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines, including crystal meth
  • Steroids
  • Stimulants

Violence can take many forms. Verbal abuse might include insults, threats, and humiliation. Furthermore, economic violence can happen if the partner with addiction uses all the household’s resources to support their substance abuse. Physical violence is a major risk as well, and it can be deadly.

Springfield Wellness Center: A Fresh Start for Relationships

Healing won’t happen overnight, but the first step toward recovery can be a crucial turning point in relationships. Springfield Wellness Center provides a safe, supportive environment to detox from substance use. Medical treatment, including the NAD+ treatment options provided at Springfield Wellness Center, can ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms and help people with addictions transition into a long-term recovery plan.

Individual and family counseling is also available. With a trustworthy third-party professional, you and your loved ones can work on repairing your relationships after the damage of addiction. Call us at 844.334.4727 or contact us online if you’re ready to get started.