Living with other people entails setting boundaries and keeping lines of communication open. However, living with an addict may be extremely difficult since setting boundaries is nearly impossible.
The Challenges of Living with an Addict
Living with an addict is challenging and requires balance and understanding to establish a safe and harmonious household. You should learn how to deal with the difficulties that come with living with a loved one who has an addiction and how to care for them – and yourself.
What Makes Living with an Addict so Difficult?
Addiction is a complex condition that hurts everyone. Living with an addict is exhausting. Addiction destroys relationships and families as well as the mental and physical health of everyone involved. Therefore, addiction therapy should include family members.
Below are some of the main challenges of living with an addict.
Living with an Addict Leads to Unhealthy Behaviour Patterns
One family member’s addiction dictates the dynamics and behavior in a family. Often, families with addiction problems struggle with ongoing conflicts, triangulation, enabling behaviors, and violence.
Living with a Loved one with Addiction can Cause Various Health Issues
Continuous or excessive stress from living with an addict prevents your body from recovering from the natural stress reaction (also known as the “fight or flight” response), causing stress hormone levels to remain elevated.
This can have a variety of negative health consequences. For example, chronic stress puts you at risk of various physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or heart attacks. At the same time, it may trigger or exacerbate your anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.
Living with an addict can also cause you to experience burnout, defined as constant emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that does not improve with rest.
Having a relationship with an addict can also cause problems with money, legal issues (because of drunk driving, drug use, or custody), problems at school or work, a loss of social ties, and many other issues in everyday family life.
How to Cope with Living with an Addict
Learning how to set boundaries, stop enabling addictive behaviors and take care of yourself is essential if you want to learn how to survive living with an addict. So, here are some essential boundaries to set when living with an addict.
Families of addicts sometimes excuse, minimize, or deny the addiction, allowing the addict to continue misusing drugs or alcohol. Enabling behavior protects addicts from their mistakes.
It’s natural to want to help someone you care about. Still, there’s a fine line between being helpful and supporting their harmful behavior.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Living with an addict requires boundaries. Set the following healthy boundaries to help them overcome addiction and protect their mental health:
- Keep drugs and alcohol out of the house.
- Hold an addict family member accountable.
- Don’t give addicts money.
- Don’t cover for an addicted person.
- Don’t let the addict drag you into a dysfunctional dynamic
- Prioritize your needs
Take Care of Yourself
Living with an addict requires self-care:
- Sleep and eat well
- Stay active
- Practice mindfulness or relaxation to manage stress
- Use a local support group
- Seek counseling
Family counseling can help address harmful family habits, and rehabilitation can be addressed in family counseling.
Stop Trying to Fix or Control the Person
Trying to fix or control an addicted loved one can only worsen matters. Instead, provide support and empathy, as well as healthy boundaries.
Stop Blaming the Other Person
The shame and guilt that your blaming might provoke may only cause your spouse to become aggressive or withdraw from you. So, avoid judging, blaming, or criticizing your spouse, and try to be supportive as much as possible.
Don’t Give In To Manipulation
An addict will manipulate you and everyone else to maintain their addictive behavior. They could blackmail you, threaten you, act out, or bargain with you to get what they want. Set boundaries and resist their attempts to get you to feel sorry for them and enable their behavior.
Have Realistic Expectations
Addiction is a complex condition, and getting better can take a long time. So, don’t think addiction therapy and counseling will fix everything immediately. Having realistic expectations can help you set clear goals for treatment and boost your confidence.
Have a Response Plan if Matters Escalate
Suppose your relationship with an abusive, addicted spouse, child, or sibling becomes toxic and threatens to hurt you in any way. In that case, you should get professional help and, if necessary, walk away from that relationship.
Encourage your loved one to get psychotherapy and addiction counseling since most people need a professional’s help to overcome addiction.
Don’t Wait Until the Situation is Really Bad – Reach Out for Help Now
Keep in mind that every minute counts with addiction. Seek addiction treatment and psychotherapy now to help a loved one manage their issues, improve communication, and learn how to cope with living with an addict.
Living with an addict impacts one’s mental and physical health, relationships with others, and family life. Addiction is a severe disorder that needs to be treated with medical help.
Can living with an addict cause PTSD?
Even if you are not suffering from addiction, you are nevertheless exposed to the consequences of living with an addicted husband or another family member, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and other disorders. It is even possible to get PTSD from living with an addict.
Addiction can Result in Abuse and Insecure Attachment
Addiction in the family can have a variety of adverse effects. Living with an addict may leave you isolated, unguided, and unsafe. Furthermore, many children who grow up with an abusive, addictive parent or caregiver develop insecure attachments, which can significantly negatively impact their adult relationships.
PTSD and addiction can also result from childhood trauma caused by living with an addict. Research links early trauma to addiction. Chronic or severe trauma might impede coping and increase the likelihood of PTSD or addiction.
How to Avoid PTSD From Living with an Addict?
Addiction is a severe condition, yet it is also curable.
The best chance for a successful recovery is with combined mental health and addiction therapy. Also, setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care can help you cope with living with an addict and avoid PTSD.