What Are Some of the Emotions Families Go Through When a Loved One is Addicted?

What Are Some of the Emotions Families Go Through When a Loved One is Addicted?

By: Cumberland Heights

addicted loved oneFamilies go through so much when a loved one is battling addiction. The family system is unique in that it’s made up of individual members who have their own thoughts and feelings surrounding addiction. All of these individuals must work together to carry out day-to-day functions, but addiction oftentimes shakes up that foundation. For example, a person who typically watches the kids or pays the bills may no longer be able to do so if addiction is involved. Likewise, a family member who typically cleans the house and cooks meals may abruptly stop these tasks in favor of seeking out substances to use. There is a lot that goes on here – so how are family members’ emotions affected?

In 2018, researchers from Alcohol Research UK built up a study titled, “Understanding Recovery from a Family Perspective: A Survey of Life in Recovery for Families”. An online survey was distributed, and 1,565 family members of someone with addiction completed it. Forty-eight percent of the respondents were parents; 24% were spouses or ex-spouses and the remaining participants were children, siblings or friends of someone with addiction. These were some of their findings:

  • Some individuals reported they could not pay the bills while their loved one was in active recovery
  • Family violence was a factor for 31.7% of participants
  • Almost half of participants had emotional wounds that had not been treated appropriately
  • Many family members found that their loved one’s addiction took a toll on their own work performance

Elevated levels of stress, low self-esteem, depression, lower social and academic functioning, physical strain and more all contributed to a lower quality of life for family members. What many family members do not realize is that there are resources to help them heal and recover – and that’s necessary for them. Family addiction is certainly going to impact other family members, as the entire system has changed. If you are a family member struggling to cope with a loved one’s addiction, seek help for yourself – today.


Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

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