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How Does Alcohol Addiction Impact Loved Ones?

Alcoholism is a difficult addiction to pinpoint. In our society, going out to drink alcohol is a normal, often casual activity. Even having a glass of wine on your own is considered healthy by some experts. That said, the onset of alcohol abuse and alcoholism is a slippery road, and a person may become dependent on the substance before fully realizing it. 

In this blog, we’ll look at the side effects of alcohol addiction on loved ones by looking at the following:

What Are The Effects of Alcoholism on the Addict?

Long-term alcohol misuse has significant effects on the individual’s mental and physical well-being, putting them at risk for serious health problems. Likewise, alcoholism interferes with every area of a person’s life, including their work, school, and personal relationships. When alcoholism goes untreated, relationships suffer. It’s not just the alcoholic who faces the consequences of their addiction; their loved ones feel the weight of it as well.

How Does Alcoholism Impact Relationships?

Alcoholism is a heartbreaking disease. As the user slowly poison themselves, their loved ones are impacted by addiction as well. The effects of alcoholism on families go beyond their concern for the addict; they are directly harmed by the issues of alcoholism, including domestic abuse, financial instability, and marital problems.

Emotional and Physical Abuse

Neglect

Alcoholics may become so preoccupied with their drinking that they don’t meet obligations and responsibilities. They may miss important events like birthday parties or forget essential tasks like grocery shopping or picking up a child from school. The effects of childhood neglect can lead to long-term mental health conditions in the children of alcoholic parents and issues between spouses.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse occurs within a family and may be emotional or physical. Alcoholism has been linked to violence in the home through several incidents and studies. One study found that two-thirds of victims of domestic violence on a spouse report that the abuser had been drinking at the time of the abuse.

Drinking alcohol lowers inhibition and impairs a person’s judgment, which can lead to poor decision-making and risky behavior. People with an alcohol use disorder may be more likely to engage in illicit or dangerous scenarios such as theft or starting a fight either as a way of obtaining more alcohol or as a result of the alcohol’s effects on the brain.

Financial Instability

A person with alcoholism is focused on maintaining their addiction. This commonly turns to financial problems as they may spend large sums of money on alcohol or engage in other risky activities like gambling that drain funds. Similarly, alcohol abuse can impact a person’s ability to hold down a job. One 2022 study found that In the U.S., alcohol use disorder is linked to 232 million missed workdays annually.

Marital Conflict

Infidelity rates are much higher in couples where one partner is drinking compared to couples where neither drinks. Cheating and infidelity are linked to alcohol in several ways. One survey found that 55% of people who admitted to cheating reported more frequent drinking since the affair. Alcohol can foster poor decision-making, and it can also drive a wedge between relationships. Data from 2024 reports that more than half of divorced couples said that alcohol abuse was a factor leading to their divorce.

Is Alcoholism Genetic?

A combination of environmental and genetic factors typically causes alcoholism. Research points to genes being at least 50% responsible for the risk of developing AUD. Your upbringing, as well as life circumstances, are also key factors in whether you choose to abuse alcohol. 

People who end up with an addiction to alcohol typically weren’t in an environment that taught healthy coping mechanisms. Many of these individuals had alcoholic parents of their own. Research shows that children of alcoholics are about four times more likely than the general population to develop alcohol problems.

Help for Families of Alcoholism

Alcohol affects family in devastating ways, but there’s always hope. Addiction treatment and support are available for those whom a loved one’s addiction has impacted. Through healing in therapies, counseling, and support groups, it is possible to overcome the emotional effects of alcoholism.

Treatment for the Addict

For the whole family to heal, the addict must first address their problem. At Harmony Junction Recovery, we believe that recovery is most effective with a combination of behavioral therapies, counseling, and medication if needed. It’s also important to address underlying contributors to the addiction, such as a mental health disorder. Once the root of the addiction is understood, we can begin to work with patients to change behaviors and develop new coping skills.

Support for the Family Members

Many professionals will say that “Alcohol is called a family disease.” When one person is “sick,” it ultimately impacts everyone else. As much as the addict needs to be treated in recovery, the family has their own feelings and behaviors that have developed as a result of the addiction. 

By taking part in family therapy or going to support groups like Alanon (A support group for loved ones of alcoholics), the entire family can begin to understand their roles as a result of the alcoholism and rebuild their foundation with clear boundaries and compassion.

Harmony Junction Recovery is For The Whole Family

Recovery is a huge but necessary step. Thankfully, you never need to do it alone. At Harmony Junction Recovery, we believe family support is an essential part of healing. We offer a variety of programs for alcohol and substance abuse, including inpatient, outpatient, medical detox, and more. All of our programs are rooted in evidence-based and holistic practices so that our patients receive a comprehensive approach to healing that addresses the mind, body, and spirit. 

Contact us today to learn more about how you or your loved one can get started on the road to recovery.