Recently, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a riveting report entitled Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report On Alcohol, Drugs and Health. In this report, the Surgeon General outlined just how taxing drug addiction has been on our society as a whole. There is no doubt that the so-called “war on drugs” has been a complete failure.
These days, the rate of drug use is higher than ever before. For the most part, the focus of this report was on the addict and their drug abuse. While the addict does have to bear the burden of their chemical dependence, their families are usually affected the most by their behaviors.
Families Waste a Lot of Time and Energy on an Addict
Staying up all night worrying about whether or not an addict is going to come home safely can take a toll on a family over time. Rather than being able to focus on the positive aspects of their life, most addict’s families will put a large amount of attention on their loved one who is struggling with a chemical dependency.
Michael Karl, COO with New Jersey drug treatment centers Summit Behavioral Health suggests “it is not uncommon for the addict to terrorize his family or loved ones by a begging for or stealing money from them to support their addictions. Many family members acting out of guilt or fear will give them money to ‘keep them from dying.’ Obviously this is a very flawed thought process, yet it’s typical or common among families of addicts.”
With all of this focus put on the addict, family members will start to feel as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders. The only way a family will be able to get relief from this type of stress is by confronting the drug addict and getting them into a long-term treatment.
Dealing With Financial Stress
When having a drug addict in your family, you will probably end up spending a lot of money to keep them out of trouble. Some people would rather give their drug addicted loved one money to buy the substances they are dependent on rather than letting them steal and cheat to get cash. This can lead to families having to do without in order to support the habits of their loved ones.
In some instances, the money a family spends on a drug addict will be to keep them out of legal trouble. Most of the time, a person who is addicted to drugs will not work due to their never-ending search for more substances to put into their body. This means that whenever legal issues surface, they will reach out to their family to pay for their bail and a lawyer to help them get out of the mess they are in.
The Damage Done to the Children of Drug Addicts
If a drug addict has children, they can do a lot of emotional damage to them as time goes by. Generally, the children of a drug addict will feel unsafe and in danger. In some cases, a drug addict may have their children removed from their home by the child protective agencies in their area. Even if the parent gets sober, it will take a lot of time and effort to get their children back after they have been declared wards of the state.
Being addicted to drugs will usually end in the chemical dependence a parent has overtaking the needs of their children. This will result in the child being neglected. If a parent is too high to look after their children properly, it may result in the child being injured. It is the job of an addict’s family to try and talk some sense into them. Interventions are a great way to hold a mirror up in front of an addict and let them see the damage they are doing to the ones they love.
Health Risks For the Family
Most addicts fail to realize just how much stress they put on their family. Having too much stress can lead to a variety of medical conditions like high blood pressure and even heart issues. If the addict uses drugs that have to be injected intravenously, they are at risk of contracting a variety of different diseases. These diseases may be contagious and could lead to family members becoming sick as well.
There are many cases of AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, and HIV being transmitted through the sharing of needles. When a person is addicted to drugs, they will not think very rationally. Sharing needles is like playing Russian roulette with your health. One bad decision can lead to a lifetime of sickness and eventually to death.
Approaching the Drug Addict
When trying to find a solution to their problems, the family of a drug addict will usually figure out that a bit of tough love is the answer. Taking away the money and resources given to a drug addict can help them see the error of their ways. Once an addict realizes just how much damage they are doing to those around them, they will usually want to get into a treatment program. While finding the right rehabilitation center may take some time, it will be worth the effort invested.
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