Many people who marry have children, and many people who marry are disfunctional in some way. Sadly, parents who engage in addiction and substance abuse are highly likely to produce disfunctional children, either in a mental way or a physical way. Many addicted and substance abusing parents assume that their “habit” only affects them, but statistics show that nothing could be farther from the truth. Children of addicted and substance abusing parents are far more likely to grow up with addictive tendencies of their own, mental disorders, and/or physical diseases.
The most obvious and most likely side effect of growing up in a home with addiction and substance abuse is developing addictive and substance abusing tendencies. The model our parents set for us becomes our inherent definition of normal. This is observed at a psychological, environmental and emotional level. If a child sees their parent condoning and favoring addiction or substance abuse, they will develop the potential to repeat this behavior. A large percentage of children of addicts and substance abusers adopt their parent’s unhealthy behaviors to the detriment of their own lives.
Another tragic affect of growing up around addiction and/or substance abuse is the development of mental disorders. Children of addicted and substance abusing parents are far more likely to struggle with one or several of a long list of mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar, antisocial personality, mania, panic, obsessive compulsive, post traumatic stress, phobia and schizophrenia. This is not to say that the parental example of addiction and substance abuse is entirely to blame for this trend. There can be many other factors contributing to a mental disorder. One of these factors brings the family dynamic full circle: substance abuse statistically aggravates mental disorders.
And lastly, if parents are abusing substances during the time their baby is conceived, or if the mother is abusing during gestation, the possibility for physical disease and deformity is present. The abuse of substances creates an imbalance of chemicals in a mature human body an introduces toxins into the system. A developing fetus cannot tolerate this introduction of unnatural chemicals and substances, and will frequenty develop incorrectly in the form of organ and system.
There are many married people who express that they were unaware of their spouse’s addiction before they married them, either because their partner hid the signs of their addiction or because they simply did not know what signs to look for. The ability to identifying addiction in people you have relationships with is a very important quality to possess. For someone you are considering marrying, it is even more important. We do not always think to watch for signs of addiction in a romantic partner when we are first getting to know them, but by the time we are considering marrying them, we should certainly be savvy on whether or not they show signs of addiction.
Depending on the type of addiction, signs and symptoms can vary, but here are some universal things to look for in order to deduce if your partner displays addictive behavior:
Secretive behavior or requiring a lot of alone time. Addicts typically do not like to make their addiction known, so they will try to indulge in private, and they will want time to indulge in excess.
Excessive time, money and energy spent on one thing. If an addict is not being secretive about their addiction, the amount of time, money and energy they spend on it will become obvious to the people around them.
Money missing without an explanation. Addictions are almost always a financial commitment, but the addict will not want to discuss the expenditures with anyone.
A decline in work, school or hobby performance, and in personal relationships. Things and people that used to be important to the addict will now be devalued as they are replaced by devotion to the addiction.
Inappropriate emotional reactions. When an addict is called out on their addiction and told they are exerting too much effort toward it, they will usually react angrily or emotionally.
Decline in health. An addict’s health will begin to deteriorate, particularly if they are addicted to a substance. Even in the case of an internet, sex or gambling addiction, the individual will probably lose sleep and physical exercise to the addiction.
Dishonesty discovered. An addict will frequently lie about their addiction, and will eventually be caught in a lie.
Introducing an addiction into marriage can only end badly. New marriages almost inevitably require a lot of work and a lot of critical thought, and this is without the element of addiction. With the addition of addiction, a new marriage can become very stressful and can even fail. Even when two people who marry are models of mental health, their natural differences can still lead to problems. Being addicted is an undeniable unhealthy mental choice, which makes an already challenging new marriage dysfunctional. So how does one take control of their addiction and see it come to an end before matrimony? This depends on the situation.
First of all, anyone who is addicted, whether severely or mildly, needs to consult an unbiased, expert source to determine how severe their addiction is. Because denial so commonly accompanies addiction, you may not be able to accurately determine this for yourself. Discuss your addiction problem with a trusted physician, counselor or addiction specialist to get an objective perspective on how advanced your addiction is. They are not there to judge you so be sure to withhold no details.
What kind of treatment you seek at that point depends heavily on your professional diagnosis. Those with a severe addiction that puts them at immediate risk need to check into an inpatient addiction treatment facility, or rehab. There, you can detoxify under medical supervision if needed, you will be kept safe from whatever it is you are addicted to and you will receive counseling and support to keep you from relapsing. Whether you live in the United States or Canada, there are treatment facilities available to you throughout the various states and provinces, ranging from substance abuse rehabs, drug addiction treatment United States and alcohol addiction treatment Canada.
If you are diagnosed as having a moderate addiction, one where you are not at immediate risk, the options of outpatient rehab and support groups may work better for you. In these scenarios, you remain active in your life, staying at the same address and going about the same life obligations, but you attend regular meetings for counselling and peer support. If you struggle with a minor addiction, one that is not advanced or puts you in any kind of immediate threat, self-help material such as literature or online tutorials could be all you need.
Some people who are engaged to be married or recently married begin to notice concerning things about their partner. They are showing signs of addiction, or they are secretive about where time and money goes. It could be that the concerned partner is aware that the person they are in a relationship with has an addiction, but does not know what to do about it. The choice to act is a critical one. Consider the typical story of someone who tries to sweep their partner’s addiction under the rug.
Because addiction is a confirmed disease, mental disorder and generally unhealthy behavior, it can never help a marriage – only hurt it. Spouses of addicts have described the experience of being married to an addict as exhausting, painful, maddening and frightening. Addicts do not have an appropriate amount of time, money or energy to put toward their spouse because they are focusing it on their addiction. Therefore, they begin to experience feelings of neglect. Some spouses never address the issue, and their feelings of neglect grows into a distant, unhappy marriage. Others address the matter, and are almost never met with a healthy response. Addicts are protective of their addiction, and will fight someone who challenges it. This can lead to intense fighting, even scenes of violence, without the proper intervention. If the addiction becomes severe. the addict will lose touch with reality and jeopardize their well-being and safety, inflicting fear and stress on their partner. All of this culminates to either a very unhappy, broken marriage or a painful divorce.
The necessity of addressing your partner’s addiction with professional help is one that cannot be overlooked. Your mental and physical health and safety depend on it. If your spouse or romantic partner is exhibiting signs of addiction, reach out for help a soon as possible. Contact a local addiction service network or rehabilitation center to be put in touch with a professional interventionist and draw your support system close to you. There is hope for change and recovery!