How Heroin Addiction Affects Families

Substance abuse and addiction impact many people. They impact the individual who is abusing drugs or alcohol by diminishing their quality of life, physical and mental health, job and relationships.

Of course, what’s often the case is that the group most affected by drug use is the family of the person who is using drugs, including heroin. As the use of this drug becomes more prevalent, we’re gaining first-hand knowledge as to how heroin addiction affects families.

How Heroin Addiction Affects Families
The family and loved ones of people who are using heroin may start to see certain red flags even before they know for sure what’s happening. Some of the signs of heroin abuse include:

  • Absence from family, work or school commitments
  • Reduced level of performance at work or school
  • Withdrawing from important relationships
  • Financial problems

Of course, these are just a few of the signs family and loved ones may notice if someone is doing heroin.

Heroin use is on the rise among most demographic groups in the United States, including adolescents and teens. Heroin is becoming more commonly used in suburban areas as well, meaning heroin addiction now impacts many parents.

Being the parent of a child who is addicted to heroin can be emotionally draining. In some cases, it can even cause depression. Parents may find that their teen or adult child is stealing money or items from them to sell to buy heroin. Their teen may also become elusive and dishonest. When young people abuse drugs, they’re also more likely to be involved in risky criminal or sexual activity, so parents may have to bail their child out of trouble or extract them from dangerous situations.

Also relevant to the discussion of how heroin affects families is how it impacts spouses. The use of drugs, including heroin, is responsible for a large number of divorces annually. It’s difficult to maintain romantic relationships with someone who is using heroin because the drug often becomes the person’s top priority. There is also an increased chance of domestic violence and abuse when someone is married to a heroin addict.

Married couples where one or more spouse has an addiction to heroin may also grapple with job loss, bankruptcy, and homelessness. Spouses of people who are addicted to heroin often feel like they live in a toxic environment, and have to shoulder most or all of the duties of the household.

Codependency is also a way how heroin addiction affects families. With codependency, a person will often put the needs of their spouse ahead of their own, even when it’s harmful to them. Codependent spouses will often lie or cover up their spouse’s addiction, which enables their spouse to continue using heroin.

As much as parents and spouses can be affected by drug use, perhaps no group has more long-lasting damage done to their lives than the children of individuals living with heroin addiction. Children of people with substance use disorders are more likely to experience physical and sexual abuse in the home. Having a parent who is addicted to heroin can also lead to problems with self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, and fear of abandonment, and increase the chance that a child will develop mental health and substance use disorders.

The ways that heroin addiction affects families are far-reaching and can be incredibly damaging. It’s important to try and seek help before heroin addiction becomes so problematic that the consequences can’t be remedied.

How Heroin Addiction Affects Families
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