When someone suffers from addiction, their ability to make decisions is impaired. They become disproportionately focused on obtaining drugs and getting high. This tends to have a domino effect on their behavior towards others, how well they look after themselves and their financial stability. These changes have an inevitable and distinct impact on their romantic partner, parents and children.
If a member of a family becomes incapacitated, the rest of the unit finds ways to compensate. Often, this leads to the development of unhealthy boundaries and behavior that ultimately makes the situation worse. Professional counseling guides families by teaching them about the mechanisms at work during addiction, establishing healthy boundaries and communicating effectively. Families also learn about the various defense mechanisms of the addictive personality.