How Heroin Addiction Affects Families

Substance abuse and addiction impact so many people in so many ways. They impact the individual who is abusing drugs or alcohol by diminishing their quality of life, destroying their physical and mental health, and leaving them often in a situation where they have no job or significant relationships remaining in their life.

Drugs and alcohol also heavily impact society in that they contribute to violence and cost money to deal with.

Of course, what’s often the case is that the group most affected by drug use is the family of the person who’s using. Substance abuse wreaks havoc on families in so many ways and destroys the lives of everyone who has a close relationship with the addict.

Heroin is no exception, and as the use of this drug is becoming 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:

  • People who are abusing heroin or other substances may start to be absent from commitments including family commitments and work or school. Adults who are in the midst of heroin addiction may start to have a reduced level of performance when they’re at work, while for younger people this can happen at school.
  • When someone is on heroin, they may start withdrawing from relationships that were previously important to them. For example, a married person who is on heroin may start to seem distant from their spouse, or younger people may either avoid friends or find a new group of friends.
  • Financial problems can start to become more apparent. People who are addicted to substances like heroin not only spend a lot of money buying drugs but may also be poor at making other decisions related to finances.

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 U.S., and that includes adolescents and teens. It’s becoming more commonly used in suburban areas as well, meaning heroin addiction is impacting many parents.

The ways how heroin addiction can affect parents of addicts include leaving them feeling emotionally drained and depressed. Parents may find that their teen or adult child is stealing money or items from them to sell in order to buy heroin. Their teen may also become elusive and dishonest.

When young people abuse drugs, they’re more likely also to be involved in risky criminal or sexual activity, so parents of addicts may find that they’re often bailing their child out of trouble, or trying to extract them from dangerous situations.

Also relevant to the discussion of how heroin affects families is to look at how it affects 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 on heroin because the drug is often the addict’s first priority.

There is also an increased chance of domestic violence and abuse when someone is married to a heroin addict, and it can be difficult financially as well.

Married couples where one or more spouse is grappling with an addiction to heroin may find that there are issues including job loss and bankruptcy and in many cases even homelessness. Spouses of addicts 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 spouse will often put the needs of the addict ahead of their own, even when it’s harmful to them. Codependent spouses of addicts will often lie or cover for the addict, which enables the addict to continue using more easily.

As much as parents and spouses of heroin addicts can be affected by drug use, perhaps no group has more long-lasting damage done to their lives than the children of heroin addicts. Children of people with substance abuse problems are more likely to experience physical and sexual abuse in the home, and having a parent who is addicted to heroin can lead to problems with self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, and fear of abandonment.

Heroin addict affects families by increasing the likelihood of children having various behavioral issues, the home life may be unstable, and children can be neglected as a result of the addiction. Children who have parents addicted to heroin are also more likely to themselves develop mental disorders and substance abuse problems.

The ways how heroin addict affects families is 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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