People with substance abuse problems put their health at risk. That much we know and would be alarming enough if that were the end of the story. But it’s not. Substance abuse cascades its pain over family and friends. To calculate the true cost, you must understand how substance abuse harms relationships.
The answers are both direct and indirect. Substance abuse interferes with good judgment, causing pointless arguments that all-too-often escalate into violence. It creates trauma for children, causes financial problems, and ends jobs and friendships.
Seeing how substance abuse harms relationships should help escalate the urgency to seek treatment. The sooner your loved one gets the help he or she needs, the sooner you can begin the healing process. This is how Northern Illinois Recovery Center can help by getting you or your loved one the treatment necessary to heal.
What is Substance Abuse?
Before considering how substance abuse harms relationships, it’s important to understand what substance abuse is. It is considered a disorder of the brain and applies to both legal (alcohol) and illegal substances (cocaine, heroin.) Substance abuse can turn to addiction and physical dependence, which are more serious. Behavioral addictions are also possible, such as gambling or sex.
Detecting substance abuse isn’t like recognizing when you have a head cold. The symptoms are qualitative and depend on how addiction affects behavior. They can include:
- Obsessive urges to use frequently throughout the day
- Failing to keep up with life’s obligations
- Increased tolerance
- Taking uncharacteristic risks
- Becoming anti-social
Substance abuse exacts a tremendous toll on our nation both in terms of direct costs ($740 billion a year, by some estimates) and in disrupted lives. The personal cost goes higher when you consider how substance abuse harms relationships.
How Substance Abuse Harms Relationships
Whether it’s within a marriage, a family, or a friendship, substance abuse changes relationships, and not for the better. Research indicates, for instance, that marital satisfaction declines when one or both partners reach the level of heavy or problem drinking. Substance abuse substantially raises the risk of violence within a relationship, where arguments escalate into physical altercations. Relationships also suffer in terms of increased distance between partners and children – a cost to society that is hard to calculate. Substance abuse can also lead to professional and financial ruin, as substance abuse makes a person less productive and reliable, and less collaborative.
Knowing how substance abuse harms relationships can play an important role in breaking the downward spiral. The more you know, the more likely you are to seek treatment. Rehab and centers provide services designed to move lives back toward sobriety.
Treatment plans vary by individual, usually starting with a comprehensive assessment to understand your personal, family, and substance abuse history. Based on that assessment, clinicians will develop a comprehensive treatment plan that may involve in-patient or out-patient services.
After detox, treatment turns to counseling, both on an individual and group basis. Family therapy may be required, as well.
The last phase involves after-care, which revolves around peer-to-peer support, such as those provided by 12 step groups. The idea of after-care is to reduce the risk of relapse.
Time for Healing
The question of how substance abuse harms relationships is an important one to understand. If excessive drinking or drug use has disrupted your family or your friendships, it may be time to seek professional help. Our clinical professionals provide evidence-based treatment through programs such as
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Heroin addiction rehab center program
- Intensive outpatient center (IOP)
Our professionals provide individual and group therapy and other support, including medication treatment and aftercare support. Treating underlying substance abuse can help repair your relationships for a better day. So to find out more, contact us today at 855.786.1978.
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.