Most people with addiction could not pass a pathological liar test. This is because lying is a hallmark of addiction. The disease of addiction hijacks the brain and steals empathy, clarity and awareness of one’s problems and the suffering of those around them. It fosters narcissistic behavior and loss of moral compass. And it leads to behaviors that the person often tries to hide or deny, as well as glossing over or withholding the truth.
If you have a loved one or colleague who has addictive behaviors or is abusing alcohol or other drugs, you are probably struggling with how to address their addiction. Like many others who have walked this road, you don’t know how to help the person seek treatment, or how to communicate your concerns without angering or alienating them.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., impacting at least 40 million adults aged 18 and older, or 18% of the population. Depression affects 16.1 million U.S. adults aged 18 or older, or about 6.7% of all U.S. adults. Out of every five people you meet, one of them is likely to be suffering from anxiety or depression, or both, since nearly 50% of people diagnosed with depression also have an anxiety disorder.
What do these statistics mean? Many of the people struggling with these disorders — which can affect their ability to work and function in their daily lives — are parents. So how do anxiety and depression affect parenting abilities, families and children?
The holiday season is a time to reunite with those we care about. But togetherness doesn’t necessarily translate into those heartwarming scenes we’re taught to expect by songs, movies and advertisers.
It’s heartbreaking when someone you love relapses into drug or alcohol use and all the hope and joy you felt upon believing they had conquered their addiction evaporates.
The mental torture then begins: “I should have seen this coming,” “I feel so stupid” and “How could they choose this over me?”
You may think that your drug abuse only affects you, and you wouldn’t be alone. Many drug abusers use this as an excuse not to stop or not to make positive changes. You claim that what you’re doing harms no one else, so it’s no big deal that you’re abusing flexeril that you were prescribed by your doctor. The truth is that any time you abuse drugs, even a prescription drug you think is harmless, your acts impact the people you care about, including the most important person in your life: your partner.
It’s no surprise that an addict’s behavior affects people around her, but did you realize just how much it impacts your family? Whether the addict is a parent, a child, a spouse, a sibling or an extended relative, the addiction causes serious and lasting changes to everyone involved. If someone in your family is struggling with addiction, learn what it’s doing to you and those you love. Once you understand what is going on, you should be motivated to intervene and get the addict in your life the help he or she needs so that everyone will benefit.
How does addiction affect the family? The answer to this question is important for any adult struggling with substance abuse. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and you have kids, you are affecting them in more ways than you can imagine. If you know adults who are addicted and have children, intervention is crucial to protect those kids from the damage that comes with substance abuse in the family. The more everyone understands just how serious addiction is and how much it affects children, the more we will be able to prevent problems and protect the most vulnerable.
Your addiction has gotten out of control and you know you need to go to rehab to get help, but it means leaving your children. The scenario isn’t ideal, but until you get help, you won’t be a good parent. Once in recovery, you can have a fresh start and learn to be the best parent for your children. In the meantime, you have the unenviable job of explaining why you’re leaving for what seems to them like an unbearably long period of time. Here are some tips to help you have that conversation:
While your spouse is in rehab for addiction, you may feel helpless and lost, unsure of what to do to help him or yourself. Instead of stewing in sorrow, self-pity or guilt, take action and take steps to heal and to be prepared for his return after rehab. Addiction doesn’t just affect the addict. It affects you too, and in a number of negative ways. You need care right now while he is getting the help he needs. You also need to prepare for life together after rehab. Here are five things you can do now:
There is no doubt that having a parent who has a problem with drug addiction or alcoholism has an impact on children. A parent who is severely addicted may expose his or her children to a wide range of negative experiences that can range from unpredictable mood swings to financial struggles to violence. Children may grow up feeling ashamed, afraid or insecure.
Does it necessarily follow that children of addicted parents eventually become addicts or alcoholics themselves? Although in some cases this is what happens, in other cases a child manages to avoid repeating the pattern of addiction. Children of addicts are at higher risk for becoming addicts, yet many of them manage to escape this fate.
When someone is trapped in addiction every facet of their life is affected. It’s hard to watch the life of someone you love come unraveled piece by piece. Family members often start out by trying to ignore the problem and simply love the person back into health. When that fails, they may confront the addict directly. Many times this doesn’t change the situation and, in fact, sometimes makes things worse.
Ideally, every child would be born into a family with two loving and healthy parents. In less than ideal cases children are born into homes where one or both parents are abusing substances, which means these kids are at greater risk for being abused, neglected or otherwise impaired.
For children to thrive and succeed a stable home with caring parent figures is all-important. Without those things children suffer physically, socially, emotionally and academically. When substance abuse is part of the home environment the home is often unstable, even chaotic. Neglect occurs because parents are preoccupied with obtaining and using their preferred substance.
Despite the fact that many high profile people and celebrities struggle with drug addiction, there remains a stigma attached to the problem. The addict usually tries to keep the problem hidden, and when a loved one does reach out they’re met with anger. Often this is because of shame. Someone near you could be struggling with drugs, and unless you know what to look for their charade of normalcy could be fooling you as well.