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How Addiction Affects Family & Friends

addiction affects family and friends.

Addiction can have devastating effects on an individual, but it can also impact the family members and friends around them in many ways.

Here are some ways addiction can affect family and friends:

Emotional Distress

A loved one's addiction often leads to emotions such as guilt, anger, fear, frustration, and sadness among family members and friends. Often, they feel helpless, blame themselves, or worry constantly about the addict's well-being.

Strained Relationships

Relationships can be strained due to addiction as trust is eroded. A person's friends and family members may become distant, resentful, or feel betrayed due to their addiction, particularly if they have been lied to, stolen from, or otherwise hurt.


Family members and close friends may develop codependent behaviors, where they enable the individual by covering up for them, making excuses, taking on their responsibilities or providing financial support. Codependency often results from a desire to protect the person or provide support, love and encouragement, but it can hinder their recovery.

Financial Burden

Addiction can drain a person's finances. In order to support their addiction, addicts may borrow money or steal from friends and family. This can cause significant financial strain and conflict.

Health Impacts

A loved one's addiction can negatively affect the mental and physical health of family and friends. Sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression are common symptoms of chronic stress. Physical health issues may also arise from neglecting self-care or from emotional stress caused by the loved one’s addiction.

Social Isolation

The stigma associated with addiction can result in social isolation for both the individual struggling with addiction and their family members. Friends may distance themselves, and social activities may decline due to the fear of judgment or embarrassment.

Legal Concerns

In some cases, addiction can lead to legal problems such as DUIs, arrests or involvement in illegal activities. This can create significant stress, fear, and a sense of insecurity for the family members and friends, particularly if they are worried about their loved one's safety.

Can I Help A Family Member or Friend Overcome Addiction?

When individuals take the step towards recovery, things don’t automatically return to a harmonious household. Here are ways you can help with addiction recovery for someone you live with:

Stop Enabling

An example of enabling can be giving someone a place to live, paying for a cell phone, or paying for a car. Allowing yourself to believe someone to be incapable of paying for a cell phone, for example, simply because they spent all of their money on an addiction is not supporting them - it is allowing them to be codependent on you.

Get A Support System For You

Find a counselor or therapist who specializes in addiction counseling and get help. Loved ones of addicts need support too, and it can be crucial in navigating challenges and promoting healing and recovery.

What Is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that addresses the addiction in the context of the entire family and works to restore the health of both the individual, as well as family members and those closest to them.

Family members attend weekly small group centered lectures that allow an individual’s support system to understand ways they can help rather than enable their loved one. At Care Addiction, we believe addiction is a family disease and we need to treat it in a holistic therapeutic approach.

Getting Help For Addiction

If you or somebody in your life seems to have an issue with alcohol or drug addiction, professional help may be the best option to help continue on the road to recovery.

At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction, serving individuals in Geneva, Batavia, Sycamore, St. Charles, and Kane County, with online addiction treatment available anywhere in Illinois. 

To get started on the road to recovery, or if you have questions about helping yourself or a loved one, call us today or schedule a confidential assessment online and begin treatment.


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