Because our culture is very individualistic, it is more common for us to view addiction as a an individual’s problem rather than an entire family’s problem. This is problematic because the root of most people’s addiction problems is within their family. More often than not, if one member of the family is affected by addiction, it is likely that other members of the family are affected by addiction or mental disorders as well. Families develop mentally unhealthy patterns together and the ideal addiction treatment would include treatment for the whole family. You may have an addiction problem within your family if you notice any of the following:
- One or more family members over uses a substance or an activity to the point that it causes problems within the family. If any members of the immediate family are addicted to something that is obstructing the health of the family unit, then addiction is a family problem. This picture of addiction problems is typical of a family.
- Your family has a history with addiction that lasted for a long period of time. Even if it was just one family member who struggled with addiction, if it is over an extended period of time, it is enough to leave a lasting impression on the family, particularly if the addiction was associated with traumatic events.
- The choices and behaviors of the original addict within the family affected the family dynamic in a way that influenced other family members toward unhealthy behavior. Typically, the lasting impression that an addicted family member leaves on the other family members is a transferred addiction problem or a mental health problem.
- The family can fall into episodes of conflict and altercation together, having a negative impact on all family members. If the addiction problem within the family is associated with family disputes, emotions and altercations, then the addictive behavior within the family has indeed become problem for the whole family unit.