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When people talk about addiction and its effects, they mostly focus on the physical and psychological damages. But drug abuse affects other aspects of a person’s life—although these effects may be less apparent.
An addicted individual may lose their job. They may start losing friends. Their reputation may be damaged. Their finances may suffer.
“Social health” is an important aspect to look at when dealing with addiction. This may dictate the kind of support system the addicted person has available to them. A strong support system can be the key to a successful recovery. Social health can affect a person’s self-esteem and happiness.
Substance abuse can damage this so-called social health. But friends and colleagues aren’t the only ones you can lose during your struggle with addiction. Romantic relationships can suffer as well. The enormous strain placed by substance abuse on couples can end relationships entirely.
So what are the effects of addiction on romantic relationships? And how can couples deal with these issues?
Addiction and Its Effects on Relationships
A successful relationship is often based on honest communication and mutual respect. People stay in relationships that are both fun and rewarding. A strong bond is formed when both individuals can thrive on their own, while also complementing each other when they’re together.
Unfortunately, most relationships lose these vital elements once a person starts abusing a substance.
Communication becomes less open, as the addicted person begins taking the drugs in secrecy. Trust is lost and honesty is thrown out the window. And once a person becomes physically dependent on drugs, they become less motivated, functional, and independent. They begin to prioritize the drug: obtaining and using the substance becomes their primary concern.
On top of this, it’s rarely rewarding to be in a relationship with someone who’s abusing drugs.
Addicted people are likely to make poor decisions. They can even become angry and violent—even towards their partner. It’s easy to see how these relationships can collapse.
What Not To Do
Of course, that’s not to say that all hope is lost, and that you should break up with your partner or give up on your marriage. It’s certainly going to be difficult: about as difficult as having an addicted person in your family. But it’s possible.
We will start with what you should not be doing: enabling the addicted individual. Sometimes, in our attempt to help them, we only push them deeper into the pit of addiction. This is called enabling.
You must stop trying to minimize the consequences of their actions, and stop taking full responsibility for things that are going wrong. Stop making excuses for them. One example is providing money on a consistent basis—allowing them to obtain drugs just as often.
How Partners Should Deal With It?
Repairing the relationship involves ending dysfunctional habits. Reinvest your time and energy towards a healthy and successful relationship: start with an intervention. This could help them realize that there is a problem that needs to be resolved.
If they don’t agree to go to rehab, then they must face the consequences of their decisions alone. Sadly, there’s not much you can do for them at this point. They have to decide to get better.
Try couples counseling. Individual therapy will help the patient for sure, but in some cases, it is necessary to stick together during this important stage. This is a good way to address current relationship issues while also managing the addictive behavior.
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Treatment methods will vary from person to person. Couples counseling may not be good for you and your partner—it depends on their condition and the state of your relationship. An initial assessment can help medical professionals decide what kind of treatment is necessary for them.
The addicted individual will most likely go through medical detox, wherein their intake will be lowered gradually. Try to see what kind of role you can play during their recovery. Provide all the help you can give—even if it means that you should leave them alone for a while.
You just might be able to save your relationship in the long run.
Look for an addiction treatment center near you today.