Addiction can affect a marriage in a variety of different ways. Having your spouse fall into the depths of addiction can be very confusing, and it often leaves a person not knowing what to do. It’s extremely difficult to see the person you fell in love with go through a seemingly illogical transformation. The person who may have once showed you love and affection may become very emotionally distant, and sometimes they can become verbally or physically abusive. For married couples who have children, there’s the added issue of explaining to the kids what’s going on. Sometimes, in a co-dependent relationship, a person isn’t able to get the help that they need as well.
Addiction Takes Priority
There are many different ways that a person can develop a substance dependence. Sometimes it can happen later in life. You may have married your spouse when they had no substance abuse issues at all. At a certain point, symptoms of mental illness may arise in which the person tries to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Sometimes a person has a surgery and is prescribed pain medications that can become addictive. There are also times when the person is simply drinking to unwind from a stressful day at work, and it eventually becomes a dependency based on some genetic factors.
When a person becomes develops an addiction to alcohol or drugs, they lose the power of choice. The prefrontal cortex of the brain helps a person be self-aware and make logical decisions. Unfortunately, due to the person’s mental and physical need for drugs or alcohol, they believe they need the substance to survive. Therefore it’s often difficult to approach a spouse about their problem. Even if the person has become abusive in some way, they may not be able to logically see how what they’re doing is wrong, which is why they often need a formal intervention to have some clarity.
Children of an Addicted Parent
When one parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it puts added stress on the other parent. Child development has a lot to do with a child’s connection with their parents. Being connected to one’s parents gives a child a sense of security in the world. One of the parents being drunk or high can hurt a child’s development, and the child may have issues building relationships with other people throughout their life. There are many other issues that arise from children of those suffering from addiction like trust issues, intimate relationship issues, as well as a need to seek approval from others. Not only that, but children of parents with substance abuse issues are also at a higher risk of developing a problem themselves.
Don’t Wait for it to be Too Late
The biggest mistake spouses make is that they think that the problem is going to fix itself or go away. They believe that the spouse who is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol will somehow, someday see the error of their ways and decide to stop. Most times, this day never comes. To get proper help, the addicted spouse should go to a treatment center to learn what’s fueling their addiction and how to overcome it.