Topsail Addiction Treatment

How Does Substance Abuse Impact Your Relationships?

Substance abuse is never an isolated struggle. Those who abuse drugs or alcohol often have strained relationships with friends, family members and romantic partners as a result of their addiction. The more dependent a person becomes on a substance, the more they struggle to cut back on their drug or alcohol use despite the consequences. This can severely damage one’s personal relationships in the long run.

The social implications of substance abuse can be significant. Recognizing these warning signs is the first step toward seeking help and ultimately overcoming substance use disorder. Here are some of the most common social effects of addiction.

Emotional Effects

When you’re battling drug or alcohol abuse, your loved ones witness the toll that addiction takes on you. This can be emotionally taxing on them in a multitude of ways. Your friends and family members may begin to feel frustrated, angry, or shameful due to your substance abuse.

It’s also common for those around you to exhibit signs of anxiety or depression as they witness the way your addictive disorder is impacting your life. Some may even feel embarrassed or shameful in response to the damage that addiction has caused among your family or friend group.

Tension and Conflict

Relationships are seldom the same after a person falls victim to substance abuse. As your addiction becomes more serious, it will occupy a growing space in some of your most valued relationships. You and your friends or family members may begin to argue over your behavior regarding substances, and you may find yourself drifting apart from them due to frequent conflict.

Moreover, your loved ones may discover that you don’t act like your usual self while under the influence. This can cause them to spend less time with you as you prioritize drugs or alcohol. After finding out about your addiction, some of your friends might also choose not to hang out with you.

Differing Interests

Mutual interests are at the heart of nearly every relationship. Maybe you became good friends with someone due to your shared love of sports, or you met your romantic partner because you both practiced the same hobby. Once addiction begins to take over, though, you’ll likely spend less time engaging in these activities and fill that space with substances.

To your friends or significant other, this sudden change in interests can be disheartening. If you no longer want to do the same things together, you may begin to drift apart. Your friends might eventually choose to spend their time with others who share their interests, values and beliefs.


Even if a loved one hasn’t turned their back on you, you may become paranoid they have. This happens when a part of you is aware of the destructive effects of your addiction, but you fail to keep it under control. You might begin acting in a hostile or violent manner toward your friends and family members if you’re convinced that they have cut you off or are treating you unfairly.

Drugs themselves can also cause users to suffer from paranoia. This places a great deal of strain and tension on your relationships, especially as your substance use becomes an increasingly significant part of your life. It’s important to remember that your addiction becomes a bigger part of your loved ones’ lives just as it becomes a bigger part of your own.

Economic Distress

Many alcoholics and drug users dig into their savings to feed their addiction. If this behavior persists for long enough, you may also find yourself relying on your friends or family to provide the necessary means for substance use. This can lead to heightened tension among your loved ones as they learn that you’re putting their hard-earned money toward your addiction.

In addition, substance use disorder can prevent you from fulfilling your daily responsibilities, which may cause you to lose your job. As a result, you may become increasingly reliant on your friends or family members as you attempt to support yourself financially.

Family Instability

Addictive disorders can have a destructive effect on families as a whole. Some people who abuse drugs or alcohol engage in violent or abusive behavior that can tear a couple apart and have a traumatic impact on their children. In some cases, child services takes children away to put them in a safer environment.

There’s no denying that substance abuse can fracture a family unit in a number of ways. Each member of the family is affected differently by an addictive disorder.

Seek Support From Trained Addiction Specialists

At Topsail, we offer top-tier drug and alcohol addiction treatment services. Whether you need PHP*, IOP** or Weekly OP treatment, our skilled and caring professionals will work with you to determine which path is right for you. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and to embark on your personal road to recovery.

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