Addiction impacts loved ones and family members just as much as the addict. Effects can be short term or long lasting. Whether you are the addict causing the distress, or the loved one who is struggling, you will want to read on to find just how addiction affects loved ones.


Families naturally feel guilt over a loved one’s addiction. They may feel like they have caused or contributed to the addiction, that if they had acted differently, there would be no addiction. It is true that negative interactions between family members, stressful family life, abuse, and conflict can all contribute to addiction, but there are so many other factors and behaviors that lead to addiction.

It is important for loved ones that feel guilt over someone’s addiction to get help for themselves as well as family therapy to learn how to interact in a positive manner without enabling or making the situation worse.


Nothing is more frustrating than feeling helpless and unable to help make a situation better. Loved ones want to help the addict recover and overcome their disease, but this often takes months and years to happen. Families that are forced to sit by and watch a loved one self-destruct feel much frustration.

The best thing for families to do is seek professional help, in the form of intervention services or counseling that can help the person see their need for treatment and enroll.


Fear grips each and every family member who deals with the addict. Daily fears arise that the person will make huge mistakes in their life. They worry that the person will mess up their livelihood, their relationships, and their health. Loved ones are afraid that the addict will walk out the door and never come back, because they will overdose or do something dangerous because of their addiction.

This fear day in and day out can be very taxing on loved ones. Finding help immediately and getting the person into treatment can ease those fears, as the addict will be under constant care while in treatment.

Relationship Dysfunction 

People who live with addicts develop unhealthy coping mechanisms in their relationships. They put up barriers and refuse to let others in. They learn how to hide their feelings so as not to get hurt. They often feel alone, unable to relate to others, and experience serious anxiety with relationships, because of the distress their relationship with the addict has caused.

Loved ones of addicts need treatment too. Family therapy, individual therapy, and support groups like Al-Anon are able to help loved ones rebuild their relationship skills.

Long Term Scars

The issues caused by addiction stay with family and close friends for a long time. Without proper help, these issues can fester and continue to get worse. Treatment is important.

Children of addicts are the silent sufferers of the disease of addiction. They often cannot properly express their feelings of fear, guilt, or frustration. They are often seen as resilient, able to overcome the troubles that having an addict for a parent bring.

Effects of addiction on children are often the longest-lasting, however. As these children grow up, they develop relationship problems, trust issues, drop in grades, trouble keeping a job, mental health issues (depression, anxiety), and increased risk for substance abuse themselves.

It is important that we not overlook the family members of addicts, especially the children. If your family is struggling with an addiction, get help immediately. Seek family counseling and therapy too, so that together you can move forward and heal and grow.

Contact My Recovery Helper at (844) 867-6835 for help today.

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