Couple affected by addiction

How Does Drug Use Impact Relationships?

Drug addiction is a complex disease that is very rarely something that just impacts a single person’s life. It infects many of the relationships of those who are battling addiction as well. If you have an addiction or love someone that does, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that addiction is a disease. The actions of that person may be somewhat out of their control, or they simply need help. While circumstances differ in each situation, it is important for individuals to understand what they are facing in a relationship with a person with addiction.

America’s Rehab Campuses offers the help you need to move beyond addiction and rebuild relationships if they should be rebuilt. Through our comprehensive treatment programs, you can gain insight into what is happening and the proper level of care each person needs.

How Does Addiction Impact Relationships?

Addiction changes a person in numerous ways. To understand that, you have to know how drugs and alcohol impact the brain. In short, they change the way the brain’s neurotransmitters work. Over time, a person who has an addiction is not able to stop using because their brain has changed so much. This creates dependence, which often leads to intense cravings and a need to use more over time. Thinking about this, consider how it may change a relationship.


Every relationship needs to be based on trust, yet that is very hard to do when a person has an addiction. Imagine, for example, that you want to trust a person who says they will stop using. They promise to do so – and often, they mean it. Yet, that trust is broken when they give in to one of the intense cravings they have to use. It is not something that can avoid because of the way dependence has formed.

Missing responsibilities

Another area of complication comes when a person with addiction makes promises that they cannot keep. They may also be unable to keep up with family responsibilities or struggle at work. This creates frustration for a family member who may be relying on them. To that family member, the problem is as simple as no longer using. Yet, to a person with addiction, that’s hard to do.

Lying, theft, and aggressive behavior

Some people with addiction also have significant behavioral changes. Many of them happen because of the importance that drug use plays in their lives. For example, they may lie and do anything they can in order to get more of the drugs they feel they need. That may include theft. If they try to stop using, they may have to deal with mental health disorders that can lead to aggressive behavior, paranoia, and other complications. These are not things that a person can just change.

Knowing Your Limits Is Essential

Having an addiction is not an excuse for any type of poor relationship behavior. That is why, as a person who is in a relationship with a drug user, it is critical to make some clear decisions. Sometimes, that means making a statement that if they do not get help, you will not be there for them. If you take this route, be sure that you mean what you say. It may encourage them to finally take action to get the help they need.

Getting the Support You Need

For people who are using drugs or alcohol, one of the most important things you can do is know that help is available. At America’s Rehab Campuses, we will work closely with you to understand what is occurring and help you to start on the process of recovery. This may be done through medical detox when needed or inpatient treatment programs.

It may be possible to incorporate family therapy into a person’s care as well. This may create an opportunity for you to work on your relationship as a component of addiction therapy. For some, that may help improve communications and experiences, while for others, it may mean taking a break.

The most important decision you can make today is to enroll in drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Without the guidance and support of a team of professionals, you may struggle to move ahead, but our team can provide you with the addiction treatment you need.