How a Family Addiction Can Affect Your Teen

No matter how old we are, we can be affected by the struggles of those around us. If someone in your family is living with an addiction, this becomes a reality that everyone in the family needs to cope with. Without proper assistance and support for all family members, the addiction can be harmful even for those who aren’t living with it.

Trust Issues

Sadly, the nature of addiction can sometimes be one that develops trust issues between the person living with it and those around them. This applies to their family members as well. A person living with an addiction might become unpredictable, might lie or even steal to get access to their substance and may become thought of as an unreliable family member. This can cause a teen to struggle with trust, both with the individual living in addiction and others.


When one person you’re close to is living with addiction, a compulsion known as codependency can develop. This is when someone has an unhealthy desire or compulsion to take care of and solve the problems of another person. This can lead to a struggle for that individual to express their own needs, their own emotions and to build positive, healthy relationships.



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Role Model & Genetics

While factors such as environment, mental health and stressors all play an important role in developing an addiction, family genes can have an effect as well. Your teen might also look up to the person who has an addiction, causing them to be confused about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Therefore, if someone in your family is living with an addiction, it’s important to pay attention to your teen to see if signs of an addiction are developing as well and to get them the help and support they need.


Particularly if they are living with a parent suffering from addiction, a teen might experience unintentional neglect. This could be due to the fact that the parent is more focused on their addiction or recovery and struggles to support the teen as well. Furthermore, if someone else in the family is living with an addiction, they might appear to require more attention as they recover, leading to the teen feeling isolated and neglected.

No matter the nature of the addiction, it’s important to keep the entire family’s health and well-being in mind when someone is struggling with it, as it does affect everyone in some way.

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