Drugs and alcohol can have disastrous consequences on a family. Apart from the health risks, these lead to a host of economic and interpersonal problems.
Apart from taking a toll on your health, drugs and alcohol have the potential to erode your family. We often hear stories about men physically abusing their wives under the effect of intoxication, or how a families end up in debt because someone just can’t get off the addiction. Every family is built upon certain values, but alcohol and drugs cripple us mentally and we end up displaying erratic and irresponsible behavior. Not only does this create an unwholesome atmosphere, but it also leads to the breakdown of the family.
Erosion of family system
As mentioned earlier, a family is not merely a group of people who live and eat together. A family is essentially about love, support, respect and caring. All these factors contribute in making what we call an ‘ideal family’. It takes some amount of compromise and sacrifice to create a strong family structure, however, drugs and alcohol impact our judgment and reasoning, and prevent us from thinking rationally. Lack of communication with your partner and children can make them feel alone and depressed. Your children may have a traumatic childhood and this can have long-term effects on their lives. Under the influence of intoxicants, a person may get into unnecessary arguments and physical abuse with his partner, which can seriously dent the relationship.
The dependence on intoxicants eats up your finances. Instead of taking care of the more important issues in your life, like your child’s education, savings, etc. one ends up squandering all the money to feed his addiction. Also, alcohol and drugs interfere with one’s efficiency at work, and prevent one from advancing in his professional life, or in the worst-case scenario, these may render one unemployed. This puts pressure on the other members to earn to sustain the family. Besides, abusers often steal money in order to satisfy their craving, and this can cause a rift in the family. Abusers are likely to suffer from various health ailments, and the money spent on treatment and hospitalization can have a huge economic impact on your family.
The intake of alcohol and drugs can cause a host of diseases, such as cancer, cardiac arrest, strokes, high-blood pressure and depression. Lack of treatment can also result in death. Apart from the abuser, the family members also experience health problems, which are collectively known as ‘intoxication emotion’. This problem is a behavioral issue and makes the family members feel self-guilt, shame, and social anxiety. They may also suffer from depression and insomnia. The children of an abuser are the worst sufferers as they are denied care and love when they need it the most. They may develop negative perceptions, which can make them ambivalent and vulnerable to drug abuse.
Abusers are more vulnerable to indulge in criminal activities than other people. When an abuser does not get the money to buy drugs or alcohol, he can easily indulge in mugging, violence, kidnapping or even murder to satisfy his needs. Apart from this, these interfere with the reasoning power of the brain and an abuser is at a greater risk of sexually abusing someone. These activities can easily land an abuser in jail which can impact his family life.
These were some effects of drugs and alcohol on family life. Fortunately, there are various state-sponsored community centers where drug-abusers are rehabilitated. It is important that possible signs and symptoms are detected at an early stage, so that an abuser does not fall into a downward spiral. It is important that you remain patient during the rehabilitation program as there is no magic cure for treating drug abuse. It certainly will take time and you can always take the help of your family members for support and encouragement. Intoxicants can spoil your family life, but it is never too late to make a comeback.