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How Does Addiction Affect Family and Friends?

woman comforts loved one while learning about how addiction affects family and friends

Addiction doesn’t just affect the individual struggling with it—it has a profound impact on their loved ones as well. From enabling behavior to emotional turmoil, addiction takes a toll on family and friends in ways that are often overlooked. Learning how addiction affects your family and friends can help you understand the importance of seeking treatment and support for recovery.

At Texas Recovery Center, we understand the complexities of addiction and its effects on relationships. Our evidence-based, holistic approach seeks to not only help individuals overcome their addiction but also address the impact it has had on those around them. Through our family therapy program, we support patients and their loved ones in rebuilding trust, communication, and understanding.

Call 888.298.5468 today if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to help you start the journey towards healing and recovery.

How Addiction Affects Family and Friends

Addiction can deeply impact the dynamics of a family or friend group. Whether it’s through changes in behavior, financial strain, or emotional turmoil, addiction can cause a ripple effect that affects everyone involved.

Losing the Relationship

How does addiction impact relationships with family and friends? Often, it leads to a loss of the relationship. When someone struggles with substance use and addiction, they often become isolated from their family and friends. They might:

  • Lose interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Withdraw from their loved ones
  • Lie and manipulate to hide their addiction

This sudden separation can be extremely painful, as they feel like they’re losing their best friend, spouse, or partner.

Enabling Behaviors

In an attempt to help their loved one struggling with addiction, family and friends may engage in enabling behaviors. These are actions or behaviors that unintentionally support the addictive behavior, whether it’s giving them money, making excuses for their behavior, or covering up for them. While these behaviors come from a place of love and concern, they can prevent the individual from seeking help and perpetuate the cycle of addiction.

Financial Instability

Addiction is expensive and often leads to financial instability. People with addiction may lose their jobs, use money meant for other purposes to support their habit, or resort to stealing. This financial strain places significant stress on their partner and children. Family members may also become victims of theft, as the person with addiction may use shared credit cards or their partner’s money to purchase drugs online.

Exposing Your Child to Damaging Influences

Children learn by example and are greatly influenced by their environment during their formative years. If a child consistently witnesses drug or alcohol use, they may be more inclined to experiment with these substances, especially if their parent has not sought treatment or support. Research shows that many children get drugs or alcohol from their parents, increasing their risk of trying them.

Risk of Disease

Certain drugs, like heroin and meth, carry the risk of serious and potentially deadly diseases like HIV and hepatitis. People who use injection drugs are at higher risk due to sharing needles, but people who use non-injecting drugs can also be affected. Addiction can lead to risky behaviors, which can, in turn, increase the risk of disease transmission.


Addiction causes significant stress and tension, often leading to the breakdown of relationships. While not all couples with addiction end in divorce, the risk is higher. Studies show that an increase in alcohol consumption is associated with a higher divorce rate. Couples facing addiction have a higher chance of divorce in these circumstances.

Call Today to Start Family Therapy at Texas Recovery Center

Fortunately, these effects of addiction on family and friends can be addressed through treatment and support. At Texas Recovery Center, our experienced team offers evidence-based, holistic therapies that address the individual’s needs while also recognizing the impact addiction has had on their relationships. Our family therapy program helps patients and their loved ones heal and rebuild trust, communication, and understanding.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we can help you understand how addiction affects family and friends while providing support for recovery. Call 888.298.5468 or contact Texas Recovery Center online today to get started.

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