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While struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), you may not realize how this can affect your family. It’s difficult to sit back and watch your loved ones struggle with something you feel you have no control over. The effects of SUD, whether for drugs or alcohol, can have both long-term and short-term effects on everyone involved. The person struggling with SUD must receive help. However, their family and friends may need help too. 

This article will explore the impacts of SUD on the family and show you how to heal to improve your overall well-being. West Coast Recovery Centers prioritizes holistic healing for the whole family.

Hardships From Substance Use Disorder the Whole Family Can Face

Each family dynamic is unique in how their relationships work. This also means that each family struggling with SUD will experience different effects. It’s important to understand the different impacts that SUD can have on the family as a whole and each different member. 

Financial Impact of Substance Use Disorder

Struggling with SUD can become very expensive for a few reasons, and it can be a tough burden for the family. For example, when you’re struggling with SUD, you may put all or most of your money into the substance. Struggling with SUD can lead to hardships within your employment, shelter, and support. This can impact your family and cause them to step in and help when they can. However, struggling with finances can put a strain on the relationships within the family dynamic.  

The Potential for Abuse

When struggling with SUD, the potential for abuse, either emotional, physical, or sexual, can increase over time. This can happen because the behavior of the person struggling with SUD can be unpredictable and erratic. It’s important to understand the signs of abuse to help someone earlier rather than later. 

Strained Relationships

Overall, struggling with SUD affects everyone in the family, which can lead to strained relationships over time. You may have noticed in the past you pushed certain family members away, or you could still be doing it. This is why it is vital during treatment for the whole family to also go to therapy. This can help mend family relationships and provide a better support system once you leave treatment. 

The 6 Roles of Family Members When Someone Is Struggling With Substance Use Disorder

Each family unit looks unique in the sense of how many family members there are and who takes on certain roles. However, in most cases, there are six distinct roles that family members will take over when someone is struggling with SUD. 

#1. The Person With Substance Use Disorder

This person is the focus of the family, the main person struggling with whom everyone wants to help. Over time the actions of this family member tend to take up the time and energy of family members. 

#2. The Caretaker

This family member can also be known as the enabler and usually supports the person struggling with the addiction. The caretaker may also shield the person struggling with addiction from facing any consequences. 

#3. The Hero

This role can be similar to the caretaker in the sense that the hero will try to make everything go back to normal within the family. The hero may believe that they can provide the illusion of “normal” within the family by maintaining personal goals. They might also try and fix the mistakes made by the person struggling with SUD. 

#4. The Scapegoat

This family member can be considered the opposite of the hero. They might specifically cause trouble to bring attention back to them. The scapegoat may also be the person who the family places blame for all of their issues. They may even feel that their purpose in the family is to have someone to blame. 

#5. The Mascot

The mascot can also be known as the comedian of the family. They might try to make the situation less serious by making everyone laugh. This is their way of coping with the negative outcomes of SUD. 

#6. The Lost Child

This family member is usually very quiet and keeps to themselves. They may fly under the radar while everyone else is focused on the person struggling with SUD. The lost child is typically the youngest or middle child. They may not share as much family attention as other members. 

How Can a Family Heal From Substance Use Disorder?

In the end, if you or a family member is struggling with SUD, it may feel as though there is no hope. It can be discouraging when you’ve tried different options, and none of them seem to work. However, there are many different options for treatment, such as individual therapy, group therapy, and holistic treatments, that may combine multiple forms. 

One of the harder parts may be convincing your loved one to attend treatment. West Coast Recovery Centers is here to help navigate the best way to do this to ensure results for you and your family. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), it’s vital to recognize that the entire family is impacted. The effects of addiction can be devastating for everyone involved, but there is hope. If you’re ready to take action, start by seeking professional support from West Coast Recovery Centers. Connect with resources for addiction treatment, counseling, and family therapy. Join a support group to connect with others who understand what you’re going through. Remember that there is hope for you and your family. It’s never too late to start. Take the first step towards healing today and reach out to West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509.