Lasting Effects of Addiction on Family Members

In the United States, there are an estimated 30-million people affected by addiction, including family members.

Research suggests that Substance Use Disorder can permanently impact the nature and quality of family communications. The communication dynamics identified in families where an addiction is present are described as aggressive, protective, adaptive, and inconsistent.

The aggressive communication style found in families with SUD tends to include a heightened sense of conflict, tense feelings, and secretive slandering.  Aggressive communication inappropriately puts one’s needs above others and may, in fact, violate the rights of others. Some people establish their superiority through aggressive communication by putting others down. Verbal characteristics of aggressive communication include sarcasm, harsh tones and condescending statements like, “How could you think that was a good idea?” or “Don’t be stupid”.  Nonverbal aggressive communication may include intruding on the personal space of others, aggressive gestures of pointing or clenched fists, and sneering or smirking.

protective communication style occurs when family members reveal less about themselves and their families when interacting with people outside of the family. The protective communication style is often used as a safety strategy when the risk of sharing the truth about their family, may bring on negative evaluations or judgment from others.

Growing up in a family with addiction, some members become accomplished in adaptive communication.  Adaptive communication is a functional communication style, where one becomes good at reading the person with an addiction and adapting to the present situation as a form of self-preservation.

The inconsistent communication style is one of mixed messages.  In a family where addiction is present, there are often many inconsistent messages of affection and aggression.  This communication dynamic can forever affect family members, teaching them distrust in communication, as they become unable to discern what communication is real and what is not.

Does addiction interfere with your family life or peer group interactions? Are you hiding an addiction from loved ones who’ve been worried about your actions? Getting treatment for these conditions is possible at Healing Springs Ranch.

Healing Springs Ranch offers a complete lifestyle transformation for the most successful recovery. Call Healing Springs Ranch at 866-647-4606 to overcome these issues in a safe way.

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