An addicted person loses attention on other things in life in favor of the substance that he is addicted to. The drug or alcohol consumes them to a point wherein they intensely focus on it disrupting their other activities. Their distorted thinking results in unclear decisions, irrational behavior, and unusual body functions.
One of the things that addiction affects is their family life. A study conducted by Scott, et. al (2014) reveals that the most common major contributor in the divorce raised by the respondents of the study is infidelity, lack of commitment, and conflicts or arguments. The final straw leading to the actual divorce is infidelity, any form of domestic violence, and the use of addictive substances. All of these points are greatly disturbing since they are avoidable and can lead to damage in family and civic life.
A Family Disease
Drug and alcohol addiction has become a big concern not only to individuals but to families at large. The global risk factor of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use is causing disability and premature deaths totaling to 63,632 deaths from drug overdose in the United States alone. This translates to each family losing one of the parents or parents losing their child to drug and alcohol abuse.
The kinds of substances that cause addiction have become more varied. Consequently, the effect of the addiction varies. According to the Global Burden of Diseases study, the most prevalent of all substance use disorders is alcohol use with estimated cases of 100.4 million in 2016. As per the common drug use disorders, opioid dependence ranks highest of the most common with 26.8 million cases followed by cannabis dependence with 22.1 million cases. With the said numbers, one can surmise that around that same number of families is affected by addiction considering that it is a family disease One of the struggles of spouses living with an addicted spouse is the feeling of betrayal and abandonment. It springs from the changes in the person suffering from addiction. The changes range in physical appearance and health, the mood and other emotional behavior, psychological changes, and occupational status. The following are changes that commonly reveal that a person is suffering from substance abuse: Physical Appearance and Health These changes, in turn, affect the emotional, social, psychological, and financial situation of the family.
How Does Addiction Cause Divorce?
Mood and Other Emotional Behavior
One of the struggles of spouses living with an addicted spouse is the feeling of betrayal and abandonment. It springs from the changes in the person suffering from addiction. The changes range in physical appearance and health, the mood and other emotional behavior, psychological changes, and occupational status. The following are changes that commonly reveal that a person is suffering from substance abuse:
Physical Appearance and Health
These changes, in turn, affect the emotional, social, psychological, and financial situation of the family.
How Drug Abuse Affects Relationships
A couple where one of the partners is suffering from substance abuse experience difficulty in keeping a trusting and loving relationship. The person suffering from substance abuse tries to hide their circumstance since they are aware that their situation is alarming. Addicted individuals isolate themselves and avoid their partners. A partner unaware of the other’s addiction may end up battling with doubts of infidelity and trustworthiness. The addicted person will continue to lie and behave differently.
Other issues crop up like the inability of the partner to be dependable. An addicted person has difficulty coping with life and may eventually end up losing their job and their ability to provide financially. Furthermore, the individual also has to spare money for his addiction and will often lie about the way that money is being spent. Some addicts even end up pick-pocketing money from other people. The financial burden will continue especially when the case ends in jail or in a rehab center. Financial difficulty, poverty, and even bankruptcy are possible in a marriage or partnership with one member experiencing substance abuse.
Shame and embarrassment is another result of the difficulties that pile up in the relationship. The intoxicated behavior of a person can be shameful for the partner. The embarrassment that the situation will cause can lead to social isolation.
Divorce May Not Be Rock Bottom
Sometimes, the situation can get out of hand and can become very difficult. The party who is not addicted may end up seeking for divorce for freedom from the difficulties that are associated with the addiction of the partner. It may seem like a favorable solution especially to the non-addicted partner. Nevertheless, like any other divorces, it still causes some negative impact on both parties.
The partner suffering from substance abuse could end up more addicted over time. The lack of a support groups for a person suffering from substance abuse can be detrimental. Substance abusers need emotional strength from their partners. Their longing for a nurturing environment must be addressed as they try to overcome addiction. Losing loved ones in the process may not benefit the addict.
A study shows that divorced men tend to drink alcohol heavily compared to married men. The rate tones down as men age but statistics remain higher for divorced men. The study also revealed that remarriage of the divorced person suffering from alcohol abuse experiences reprieves from the addiction. Another study which focused on the Swedish population, further shows that divorce can be an effect that leads to alcohol use disorder (AUD). Those who suffered AUD and were divorced experienced relief from substance abuse upon remarriage.
Tips to Maintain a Healthy Marriage
The importance of having a healthy marriage cannot be undermined, especially when the union is already suffering from the negative effects of substance abuse. Maintaining a healthy relationship can help keep the addicted person away from the recurrence of the addiction.
The following are some tips that can be used in maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner:
Trust has been affected in the battle against substance abuse because of the lies that have been said and the denials that have been made. It would help a lot to keep the communication line open. Making your partner aware of your struggles can help in reducing resentment. It also alerts the partner of any possible risks that the addicted person is experiencing. Discuss deep and personal concerns to keep each other abreast of your status in life.
Keep the marriage interesting
Boredom can strike a relationship and cause disengagement. Maintaining date nights and ensuring spontaneity will help prevent you stay away from boring activities.
Ensure that date nights are maintained by including them in your calendar. Also, include a schedule of sex to maintain intimacy. Your scheduled intimate encounters ensure that both your emotional and physical needs are regularly met. Setting these appointments in your calendar can help you keep busy and forget your addiction.
Seek help together
Substance abuse is not the only possible reason for couples to argue. Some problems can cause conflict. Fighting over the same issue for a period of time is unhealthy for your marriage especially since it can cause the addicted person to seek reprieve through the substances he is addicted to. Seek help from psychologists or counselors to help you deal with the matter.
Substance abuse is rarely a one-time issue. Recurrence is possible and may happen in the most unexpected moments. Help each other by ensuring to seek help together. Being aware of when to suggest reaching out to a therapist can greatly help your partner suffering from substance addiction.
Drug Rehab for Couples
Undergoing rehab is necessary to free oneself from addiction. Helping a loved one seek treatment is the best gift one can offer to an addicted person. Rehabilitation centers offer several treatment options that you and your partner can choose from. Therapies and counseling sessions help a couple understand the situation better. It arms them with the right mindset and behavior towards addiction. Some rehabilitation centers offer rehab for couples wherein even the non-addicted person can stay with the addicted loved one. This option is beneficial in keeping both partners aware of the process and ensuring that they know what to do once they go out of the rehabilitation center.
A loved one and the rest of the family can greatly help a person recover from alcohol and drug addiction. Help them free themselves from substance abuse and free yourself from the bondage as well.
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.