Blog Post

Effects of Addiction to Relationships

When the word “addiction” comes up in conversation, I believe that most people’s automatic thought directs them to think of substance use: drugs and alcohol. However, addiction covers a myriad of behaviors such as gambling, food, porn, sex, exercise, love, etc. “Addiction is now recognized by Public England Health and medical professionals around the world as a “chronic relapsing brain disease”.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, addiction is defined as a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence: the state of being addicted.

Addiction to any drug or substance tends to have a negative impact on individuals and their relationships with others. This is true for all types of relationships: friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships. These important connections are usually not healthy or functioning amid drug addiction or abuse. Some of these relationships may cause psychological issues, such as distrust, anxious and depressive symptoms, emotional dysregulation which may gradually lead to discontent and lack of emotional and physical intimacy. The important point here is that the individual suffering from addiction is not just causing self-harm, but consequently damaging interpersonal relationships.
Often in session, an individual directly affected by the addiction of another will ask me “what can I do to help my ___________?” The preliminary approach is to initially begin by y first understanding the complexity of the issue and to avoid confrontation. This is called “pausing before action” to remember that those who are suffering are normal people who have fallen into temptation and addiction. You also do not want to notify too many people in this person’s life as it can cause negative results such as people offering advice that harms the chances that they end up in rehab. Instead, one should think about the situation carefully and determine what plan of action is best for this specific individual whether it be an individual or group intervention, referrals to a mental health professional, or encouragement towards rehabilitation centers. It is important to act slowly and carefully around the situation due to its delicacy, by remaining non-judgmental while providing compassion and care for the addicted individual.
As clearly stated, addiction affects more than just the individual extending towards all types of relationships including friendships, family, and romantic partners. Although it is a daunting concept, addiction CAN be treated through support, determination, and additional support through a rehab facility and psychotherapy treatments. Those who suffer from addiction must gain awareness to understand the complexity of their addiction and how it is negatively impacting others in their lives. Most importantly, in this type of delicate situation, through safe therapeutic approaches, it is helpful to implore a strong support system towards a positive long-term outcome. For more information, please visit the following website:

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