How Drug Abuse Hurts Families

01 April 2017 Written by 

Both drug abuse and behavioral addictions like gambling and sex hurt families in a variety of ways. 

Emotional Problems For Families

  • Fear for the loved one’s safety
  • Anxiety about what is going on now
  • Stress about what will happen next
  • Concern about finances and loss of security
  • Conflict and fighting hurt children
  • Chaos and crises are a constant in family life
  • Family attention is centered on the users more than everyone else

Behavior Issues Associated With Abusers That Affect Families

  • You can't count on them to do what they say they will do.
  • They may forget or get distracted because their focus is on getting and taking drugs.
  • They might lie or steal money to buy drugs.
  • They might get fired from their jobs.
  • They might not come home at night.
  • They may do things they would never do if they weren't abusing drugs.

Fighting Becomes The Norm

Family members might fight a lot both with users and each other because of the problems the drug or alcohol abuse is causing. The drug user might do and say things that upset neighbors and friends; traffic accidents, arrests and other disturbances are common and cause family shame. This creates conflict in the family.


Drugs and other behavioral addictions cost money. Ofter abusers will use family funds, bank accounts, credit cards, and may steal and sell valuables to feed their habits. Financial problems arise in all families where there are abusers.


People abusing drugs, alcohol, or have behavioral addictions often believe that they are not sick or out of control. Some abusers have lost their ability to reason, can’t tell they are causing problems for others, and resist treatment. Others who are addicted are aware of the problem may be so upset and confused that they do not know how to ask for or get help. Frightened family members make excuses for them or are too confused themselves to know what to do. Denial is one reason abuse is allowed to continue.

Help to identify the problems is necessary for everyone involved. Drug, alcohol, and behavior addictions don’t go away by themselves.

Need Help? Check out the resources and professionals in your area for experts to get you on the path of recovery.

  • The Partnership at ( is an organization that provides information and resources on teen drug use and addiction for parents, to help them prevent and intervene in their children’s drug use or find treatment for a child who needs it. They offer a toll-free helpline for parents (1-855-378-4373).
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) offers more than just suicide prevention—it can also help with a host of issues, including drug and alcohol abuse, and can connect individuals with a nearby professional.
  • If you are afraid call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.




Read 7117 times Last modified on Sunday, 04 June 2017 10:36
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