Family members are always affected when a loved one becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. In fact, by the time most family members have realized the issue, the person’s substance abuse problem has progressed to the point where they need help. Having access to family addiction counseling is crucial to addressing the complications of this disease in a loved one. Whether your loved one is currently undergoing inpatient addiction treatment or is struggling with drug or alcohol use, our Delaware drug rehab offers support for families of addicts via our family program. We can help you cope with the impact addiction has had on you while preparing you to help the individual recover.

Addiction Is a Family Disease

Addiction is known as a family disease not only because those with family members who have addictions are more likely to develop one themselves but also because one person’s drug addiction affects everyone they’re close to. When someone develops a substance use disorder, their character and demeanor change.

If you have a spouse, parent, sibling, or close friend who’s slowly become more dependent on drugs or drinking, this person can seem like a completely different person. In your desire to help them recover, you may put everything in your life on hold to dedicate your time to their needs.

As a result, what often happens is that people who are close to the addict begin to unknowingly enable their drug use by making excuses for them or always helping them with things they should take responsibility for. Eventually, “caretakers” of addicts may become reliant on the role they’ve taken in the person’s life, creating a harmful codependent relationship.

It can also be exhausting to care for someone with an addiction. While you may be careful not to enable them, it is often heartbreaking to watch someone you love struggle with the repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse.

Fortunately, in addition to the addiction treatment options we offer to those with substance use disorders, our Delaware rehab also provides help for family members of drug addicts via our Family Program.

Family Roles in Addiction

In reaction to their loved one's issues with substance misuse, family members may take on certain duties as a result of the devastating effects that addiction frequently has on families. The roles family members play may change over time and be used by both the addicted person and the family members as coping methods. Understanding these roles might be essential for eradicating dysfunctional habits and promoting a better family dynamic.

Addiction family roles include:

  • Enabler: The enabler protects the addicted person from suffering repercussions by offering assistance, providing justifications, or taking on tasks that the addicted person should complete independently, unintentionally feeding the addiction.
  • Hero: To combat the turmoil of addiction, the hero tries for stability and routine at work or at school. They frequently take on additional duties and are seen as the family's rock, yet this position can become taxing and alienating.
  • Scapegoat: By acting out or engaging in harmful conduct, the scapegoat deflects attention away from the addict and offers a momentary reprieve from dealing with addiction head-on.
  • Lost child: The lost child isolates themselves to keep the family peaceful and avoids confrontation and attention. This function can result in loneliness and a lack of self-expression while also providing emotional protection.
  • Mascot:  Comedy and lightheartedness are used by the mascot to ease the tension brought on by addiction and to establish a feeling of normalcy. This role may act as a means of avoiding dealing with more serious emotional difficulties while also providing brief moments of humor.

Some family members may see their loved one struggle and worry that they will end up in the same position. While this is in no way imminent, there is something to be said about possible genetic contributing factors of addiction.

What Is Parental Addiction?

Parental addiction refers to the condition in which one or both parents struggle with substance abuse or dependency issues. This can have profound effects on the children in the family, often resulting in a range of emotional, psychological, and social challenges. Children of addicted parents may experience a disrupted family environment characterized by inconsistency, unpredictability, and neglect. The impact of parental addiction can manifest in various ways, such as increased stress, anxiety, and a sense of insecurity for the child. Witnessing a parent's struggle with addiction can also lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and a distorted sense of responsibility, as the child may internalize the belief that they are somehow to blame for their parent's behavior.

Additionally, a parent's addiction may jeopardize the general growth and well-being of the child. Uncertainty in the home and the possibility of neglect could lead to poor monitoring, broken routines, and a general lack of emotional support. This may negatively impact the child's social and academic development as well as increase their chance of abusing drugs in the future. To break the cycle of addiction within a family, it is frequently necessary to take a holistic strategy that addresses the parent's substance misuse as well as the effects it has had on the child's life. This often refers to a family rehab program that offers options like intervention, counseling, and support services.

Are Addictions Genetic?

While the relationship between addiction and genetics is undeniable, the complicated phenomenon of this disease is influenced by several psychological, environmental, and hereditary variables.1 According to research, addiction has a genetic component, which implies that a person's predisposition to developing addictive behaviors may be influenced by genetics. Studies involving twins and adopted people have shed important light on this issue. In contrast to fraternal twins, who only share roughly 50% of their genetic composition, identical twins, who share 100% of their genetic material, are more likely to both experience addiction if one of them has issues with substance abuse.1 This suggests that someone's tendency for addiction may be predisposed by their genes. It is important to remember that having a genetic predisposition does not guarantee addiction because environmental circumstances also play a vital role in its emergence.

Additionally, particular genes that may raise the chance of addiction have been found. Higher susceptibility to addiction has been linked to genetic variations in dopamine receptors, neurotransmitter transporters, and other elements of the brain's reward pathway. These genetic variations may affect how the brain processes narcotics, possibly making some people more likely to feel great pleasure or relief and raising their chance of becoming addicted.

However, it's crucial to stress that genetics constitute only one aspect of the puzzle. Environmental elements like parenting, substance exposure, social networks, and stress levels also have a big impact on whether someone becomes addicted or not. So, is addiction genetic completely? Consequently, while the genetics of addiction do play a significant role, they do not entirely account for it.

What Is the Power of Family in Addiction Recovery?

The role of family in addiction recovery cannot be overstated, as it plays a pivotal role in the journey toward sobriety. Family provides a crucial support system that can significantly influence an individual's commitment to recovery. The unconditional love, understanding, and encouragement that family members offer create a foundation of strength for the individual struggling with addiction. In times of relapse or hardship, the family's unwavering support can be a powerful motivator, inspiring the individual to persevere and stay on the path of recovery. This presence, or lack thereof, can be even more clear when the family is unsupportive of their loved one in treatment.

Furthermore, family involvement fosters open communication and helps in addressing the underlying issues that may contribute to addiction. Family therapy and counseling sessions can create a safe space for both the individual in recovery and their family members to explore the dynamics that may have contributed to the addiction. By understanding and addressing these issues collectively, families can heal together, reinforcing the recovering individual's commitment to a substance-free life. In essence, the power of family lies not only in their ability to support but also in their capacity to contribute to the overall healing process, creating a stronger, more resilient foundation for sustained recovery.

What Our Family Center for Recovery Offers

The spouses, siblings, and parents of addicted loved ones are often left with picking up the pieces of the person’s behavior. As someone close to a person with an addiction, you may have experienced frustration and heartache when attempting to convince them to get help.

You may have gone through arguments with this person, in which they may have said hurtful things. In those moments, it can be difficult to remember how tight a grip drugs and alcohol can have on a human being, often to the point where they’ll lie, steal, cheat, and even hurt the people they’re closest to get their fix.

The mental, emotional, and sometimes physical toll that another person’s addiction can have is something no one should have to bear on their own. Fortunately, our Milford treatment center offers individual therapy and support groups for families of addicts to help them heal from the impact of addiction and prepare them to properly assist the addict in their recovery journey.

Those in our family addiction counseling program will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with our licensed therapists to discuss how they’ve been impacted by their loved one’s addiction and how it’s changed their lives. In doing so, family members are given an unbiased perspective on how they’ve been affected by the addict’s behavior and ways they can heal.

Our support for families of drug addicts also includes educating family members on substance use disorders and why their loved ones behave a certain way. By offering a better understanding of what the addict is going through, we can open up their family members to the idea of making amends and playing an active role in the recovery process.

In addition to individual phone sessions with our professionals, we also offer support groups for families of drug addicts that are held in group settings to remind members that they aren’t alone in their struggles. We believe that group sessions promote peer support and help members when it comes to understanding the effects of addiction on the individual.

Our one-on-one and group meetings for families of addicts are not only designed to help them heal from their loved one’s drug and alcohol use but also to teach them how to play an active role in the person’s recovery. At Banyan Treatment Centers, we believe family involvement in addiction treatment is crucial in helping someone achieve long-term sobriety, which is why it’s one of our Family Program’s main goals.

Help for Families of Addicts in Delaware

If you’re struggling to help a loved one with an addiction or don’t know how to make amends with this person, our rehab center can help. In addition to substance abuse treatment and medical detox in Delaware, Banyan also offers various therapy programs to aid in patients’ recovery goals.

For more information about our support groups for families of addicts or levels of care for substance abuse treatment, contact Banyan Delaware today.


  1. NIDA - Genetics and Epigenetics of Addiction DrugFacts