Home FEATURED Family Check Up Series 2: POSITIVE PARENTING PREVENTS DRUG ABUSE…Effects of Substance...

Family Check Up Series 2: POSITIVE PARENTING PREVENTS DRUG ABUSE…Effects of Substance Abuse On Families

Wilson Ighodalo

The youth reflect the past and are bound to mirror the future of any nation. Substance abuse is the over indulgence or excessive use of a chemical or physical substance beyond what would be considered normal under conventional societal norms. When substance abuse becomes a problem within a family, the effects can be devastating and life altering for not only the nuclear unit of the family, but the extended family as well. Many addicts get to the point that they don’t care if they live or die. They know the heartbreak they have caused family and dear friends and it crushes their spirits.
Drug addiction affects the user physically and mentally. However, it can do the same to anyone involved in the addict’s life, especially the family. The effects of drug abuse on the members of the family can be overwhelming. In much the same way as the addict, family members coping with a drug-addicted relative can suffer from significant effects, including financial instability, impairment of work abilities and reputation; interruption of normal life activities and greater risk of health problems because of stress or over compensation for the addict.
Drug abuse within a family causes debilitating emotional strain for partners and relatives, creates irreparable damage to children, and carries the power to destroy the family altogether.
Family Relationships
It is impossible for a family to sustain a healthy existence when one member is addicted to drugs. Drug-induced illusions of the addict can alter the family’s own reality, rendering it tenuous and unreliable and destroying the foundation of the family. Nearly every family of an addicted person encounters this shocking fact: The addicted lie and manipulate those around them.
The effects of drug abuse on children, particularly when a parent is the addict, include painful feelings of responsibility, assuming the role of the missing parent (who is now the child figure), belief that their childhood experiences have been taken and the abandonment of faith in a strong parental figure.
For parents who discover their child’s drug abuse, the immediate effects include overwhelming feeling of anger, because the child placed himself in a dangerous situation and guilt from thinking they should have known or could have stopped the addiction.
Spouses or Partners
Significant others tend to feel responsible for a partner’s addiction, the pain the partner is suppressing with drugs. This leaves them with a sense of obligation to support their partner by covering for them, lying, enabling and altering work schedules to deal with the drug abuser.
The behavioural problems of a drug addict can control families, causing the family to hide the situation from visitors or the public, avoiding discussing the problem, covering for acute situations with the addict’s employer or peers, and creating misguided optimism that the family can cure the addict.
Educate your child on the danger of drug abuse, so that they can actualize their dream.
Don’t be afraid to say no. Sometimes, your fear of negative reaction from your friends, or others you don’t even know, keeps you from doing what you know is right. Real simple; it may seem like “everyone is doing it,” but they are not. Don’t let someone else make your decisions for you. If someone is pressuring you to do something that’s not right for you, you have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away.
For many people struggling with addiction, the biggest and toughest step towards recovery is the very first one which is “deciding to make a change”…
– TDSF is a non-profit drug abuse awareness; prevention and advocacy organisation dedicated to eliminating drug abuse and drug addiction through drug information and drug education in the society.

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