When it comes to the addiction system, the consequences, impact and incidence of addiction problems are well known, however what is less appreciated and known is the invisible and important role that family members play within the addiction system, and the tremendous impact addictions have on families. Addictions can have significant consequences on the whole family.

Along with the practical demands the chronic stress that family member’s experience, can affect and have a serious impact on their careers, social relations, health and financial situation. Family members that take care of a family member addiction problem play several important roles which include:
• Monitor and support the addicts treatment plans which lessons the chances of relapse
• They encourage and support treatment programs and provide secure homes
• Family members assist and provide crisis intervention
• They assist with daily living activities as well as pay the bills for their loved one
• Assist professionals in the understanding of the addict as a whole person and keep records of the addicts medications, hospitalization and treatments

There are numerous benefits in the important role that family member play within the addiction system that includes An increased rate in recovery and decreased rates of relapse and A significant saving to the addiction system and a decrease involvement with the criminal justice system.

It is common among family member to present with feelings of self blame, shame, anger, guilt, depression and stress and anxiety. However, over time family member’s well being changes in accordance with their loved ones condition, as they become more supportive and start getting more involved with other families that are experiencing the same incidences. Unlike physical illnesses, families supporting a member with an addiction that is not financially independent suffer an impact on their financial security.

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The Addictive System

Majority of families pay out of their pockets to provide the best care that includes professional rehabilitation, medications and hospitalization. Such family needs often go unrecognized which places sever pressure on them whereby they become stressed and often require emotional support and in some instances require treatment. Such a valuable contribution significantly justifies a much needed investment in family services and programs.