Family Dynamics and Vicodin Addiction

Vicodin addiction (Hydrocodone) damages the closest of relationships, those between parents and children, wives and husbands, siblings, lovers etc. As the addiction progresses, it takes more and more of a toll on the friends and family members of the addict in the following ways:

Addicts

  • Forget scheduled dates and act flippantly when reminded
  • Take/steal medications that are legitimately prescribed for others
  • Experience mood changes that are unexplained and frightening to others
  • Become secretive where he or she was previously engaging
  • Manipulate physicians and health care organization as they try to get more and more of the drug they can no longer legitimately procure on their own
  • Spend money meant for living expenses on trying to obtain the drug
  • Act aggressively or helpless when confronted with family concerns
  • Face legal issues resulting from drug seeking behaviors
  • Lose jobs, education, family and friends
  • Isolate themselves
  • Make impaired decisions regarding safety of themselves and loved ones
  • Become inept at life 

Family and Friends 

  • Make allowances for the addicts changes in behavior such as lateness, unreasonable fears, acting agitated, talking nonsensically, etc.
  • Begin to suspiciously track the whereabouts of the addict, also becoming secretive
  • Experience feelings of dread, depression, anxiety as their loved one becomes more addicted
  • Lie for the addict often covering for them at work or school
  • Deal with financial and legal “wreckage” the addict leaves behind
  • Confront the addict in non-productive ways leading to more anger and hopelessness
  • Feel betrayed and lonely
  • Become isolated from the addict and each other
  • Can be physically threatened or even hurt by the addicts behavior

Since the  addictions often progresses slowly and over extended periods of time, many of the behavior changes in the addict and their families happen so gradually that the family as a whole can hardly recognize the changes that happen. Mich like aging, weight gain, financial difficulties and other life challenges, when you are very close to the problem and experience the difficulties day in and day out, the tendency of those experiencing the problems is to get used to the challenges, rationalize what has happened and move on to the next day. Before they realize what has occurred, the problem has gotten much worse than they ever dreamt possible.

 The end point may be a health care professional becomes involved by a family member’s because a family member asks for help, the addict is arrested, or when a social service agency such as Child Protective Services is alerted. Treatment and healing for all effected by the addiction hopefully ensues.

David L. Christopher, MS is one of San Diego County's premier counseling & marriage and family therapy providers. W/ over 30 yrs experience, his comprehensive approach to individual psychotherapy and couples counseling has helped thousands become effective communicators & develop stronger relationships. Specialties: self-esteem, relationships, ADD, depression, addiction, stepfamilies. His website is www.SanDiegoTherapist.com
David Christopher, M.S., LMFT

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