Breaking Bad: 5 realistic family dynamics when drug addiction is involved

Breaking Bad: 5 realistic family dynamics when drug addiction is involved

Drug addiction is oftentimes described as a disease that impacts the entire family. In other words, not only does the person with the addiction problem suffer — and usually seriously so — as a result of a drug addiction, but so too does the entire family. In fact, there are five family dynamics that you can expect to exist more often than not when drug addiction is involved.


When it comes to drug addiction and family dynamics, dishonesty is one of the most common problems or issues. Of course, the addict himself or herself is by definition going to be dishonest, and usually significantly so. The addict will lie about everything from his or her drug use, to how he or she is spending time, to who he or she is spending time with. Indeed, there is a saying among people working in recovery that addicts will lie even when they do not need to do so.

Interestingly, family members also tend to dive into dishonesty when there is a drug addiction issue and an addict in the family. They will lie about a variety of negative things associated with the addict. Not only do they tend to lie to protect the addict, family members also tend to be motivated to lie in order to protect their own perceived interests.


When it comes to the dynamics of a family in which there exists an addict, enabling is another major issue. In simple, basic terms, enabling is the process by which family members actually do things that enable an addict to carry out the drug addiction practice. For example, family members will provide an addict with money even when they really do know (or should know) that the money will be used to purchase mind altering substances.

In more serious situations, enabling family members will bail an addict out of jail if arrested for something arising out of his or her drug addiction. They are capable of taking pretty significant steps that they may feel are well intentioned, but really work to enable an addict’s ability to keep using drugs.

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On a note that is somewhat related to dishonesty and enabling, the family of an addict oftentimes engage in justifying the behavior and conduct of the addict. For example, if the addict misses work, the family members justify his or her absence contending that the addict is not feeling well. They simply do not take the process a step further and really come to terms with why the addict doesn’t feel well enough to go to work.

Degraded Communication

Degraded Communication is also a family dynamic of persons afflicted with drug addiction. One of the reasons communication degrades is precisely due to the dishonesty associated with an addict in the family. However, another primary reason communication degrades is found in the fact that an addict oftentimes can become hostile very easily. Moreover, an addict is by his or her very nature secretive and not typically interested in communicating with family members or anyone else that is not involved in the use of mind altering substances.


Sadly, in a surprising number of cases in which a family includes an addict, abuse of different types, including physical violence, becomes a part of the dynamic. More often than not, the addict is the performer of the abuse. However, abuse can also flow from family members towards the addict as well.

Professional Assistance

Families with an addict as a member can seek assistance from trained, experienced professionals. Indeed, many treatment and recovery programs for drug addiction include specialized services not only for the addict but for family members and other loved ones as well.

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