How Addiction Hurts Relationships

The discussion concerning substance abuse usually involves the physical and mental toll that addiction often has on the individual. However, there are many other consequences of addition that deserve more in-depth discussions.

For example, the person’s social life, especially in terms of their relationships, is often greatly affected by addiction, as well as the rehab process. All the person’s relationships, from those with family, friends, and even professional ones are likely to be affected by substance abuse.

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The Strain on Social Relationships

A person who is struggling with an addiction has a very difficult time maintaining any sort of relationship. The way a person interacts with their loved ones ultimately requires attention and effort, but substance abuse intervenes in these dynamics and places a very high strain.

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Ultimately, the relationship, no matter its nature, cannot compete with the substance a person is addicted to. This can lead to several types of relationship damages and strains:

  • Increased secrecy – the person struggling will not be open with their loved ones about their addiction, and their entire behavior may be influenced by their need to hide it. As a result, they may start to lie more and more about where they are going, who they are with, or what they’re doing;
  • Lack of trust – addiction cannot be hidden forever, and sooner or later the loved ones of the person struggling will notice the changes in behavior. This often leads to trust issues, even if the addiction itself is not apparent;
  • Outbursts of anger – as a relationship deteriorates as a result of the addiction, it becomes more likely for the person struggling to become more violent, especially if they are addicted to substances known to increase anger and irritability, such as alcohol or steroids;
  • Withdrawal – the person struggling with an addiction may withdraw from their social relationship, either because they do not feel the need to socialize anymore, or because they face backlash when their addiction becomes known. This often leads the person to spiral, and turn even more to the substance they are addicted to;
  • Enabling – in some cases, those close to the person struggling may enable their behavior as a way to reach out and help. They can blame themselves, try to minimize the consequences, or even help the person addicted to hide their struggles from other people, such as those in their professional life

How Do You Help Someone Who Is Struggling?

When addiction hits, it’s not just the person abusing the substance who is struggling. Those around them can also have a difficult time knowing how to cope with the situation, or how to help.

If you or a loved one are dealing with an addiction, it’s important to reach out to a rehab facility that can help the individual successfully go through detox, and access mental health services that will allow them to heal.

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