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Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

Relationship Damage Caused By Alcohol

When someone is battling an alcohol use disorder (AUD), they are not the only ones impacted. Research has found for decades that everyone surrounding the alcoholic, from their spouse, to family, to friends, and even coworkers can be affected by the individual’s AUD.

Alcohol And The Relationship Damage It Causes

Chronic heavy alcohol use can seriously damage relationships. Not only does the addiction affect the user but also their loved ones. The disorder’s adverse effects can ripple throughout the addicts circle, impacting their partner, family, and friends. Anyone involved, unfortunately, suffers alongside their loved one. The illness warps the dynamics within a relationship and can lead to diseases or maladaptive behavioral patterns like enabling and codependency. In the long term, a person’s addiction can change the brain function of everyone associated and drive a wedge between those involved.

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Domestic Abuse

Most people mistake battling a substance use disorder (SUD) as a personal experience. Many do not know that alcohol abuse has devastating effects on not only the user but the people closest to them. Family members may be dealing with a volatile partner or abusive parent. In the U.S., there are nearly 18 million alcoholics. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost 55% of domestic abuse cases involve alcohol before the assault. Women with an abusive and alcoholic partner are 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

Children with an alcoholic parent or caretaker are also heavily impacted. The family dynamics influence the child’s development and can lead to both mental and physical issues. Studies show that kids of alcoholics are more susceptible to developing an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the future.

Children of alcoholics may be exposed to:

  • Chaos
  • Uncertainty
  • Instability
  • Inconsistent discipline
  • Emotional abuse or neglect
  • Physical abuse or neglect
  • Arguments
  • Disorganization
  • Violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Depression
  • Terror
  • Fear of abandonment

Kids of alcoholic parents are also more likely to be exposed to violence, emotional abuse, and other traumas outside their household. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence estimates 28.6 million people are children of alcoholics in the United States. Of those millions of children, over 11 million are under the age of 18.

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Relationships Damage, Alcohol, And Debt

Alcohol abuse not only negatively impacts a relationship’s emotional well-being but their finances as well. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol use cost the U.S. nearly a quarter trillion dollars in 2010- a number that has exponentially increased. The dangerous behavior impacts the drinker and their loved ones’ workplace productivity and can even result in job loss. During these periods of unemployment, individuals can experience debt accumulation, evictions, or legal trouble like DUI’s. According to the CDC, the annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion. First-time DUI offenses cost individuals an average of $6,500 as well as $4,400 in lost wages.

Excessive drinking has a way of piling stress and debt onto its users and loved ones. It is a vicious cycle that worsens over time. The disorder creates financial problems that can snowball into a mountain of debt influencing users to drink more to cope. Besides legal and work-related troubles, alcohol abuse also has a direct influence on health care expenses. Family members of people with alcohol dependence have similar, or higher, health care costs than those battling chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma.

Mental Health

Mental health is heavily affected by alcohol use. When chronic alcohol use is normalized in relationships, it is difficult to distinguish between toxic and healthy behavior. Unfortunately, the intimate partners of alcoholics tend to battle various forms of physical, psychological, and emotional problems. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, anxiety, depression, and poor adjustment are commonly reported concerns among the loved ones of alcoholics. Over the years, emptiness, loneliness, or witnessing abuse may become a typical occurrence in the household. Through the toxic exposure, the mental well-being of everyone involved decimates.

Find Help For Your Loved One

Nearly 15 million people in the US have an alcohol use disorder. Of those millions, only 7.2% received any treatment in 2019. If you or someone you love is battling an alcohol use disorder, there is help available. Contact a treatment provider today to receive rehab-related support.

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