Attempting to sum up the cumulative effects of drug abuse on the family and friends of an addict is difficult because individuals feel both indirect and direct effects of their loved one's substance abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, categorizes the effects of substance on families and friends into emotional, psychological, economic and physical effects.
Family members and friends of substance abusers experience a wide range of emotions over a loved one's substance abuse. Feelings of abandonment, guilt, helplessness, anger and fear are common. SAMSHA reports that struggling with these feelings often produces psychological issues like high stress levels and lack of trust.
In some cases, family members, particularly children and spouses, and even friends may suffer physical abuse at the hands of their addicted loved one. Forbes states that more than 80 percent of child abuse and neglect cases involve substance abuse.
According to SAMSHA, the economic effects of drug abuse are also felt directly by friends and family members. Children and spouses suffer the stress of living in a financially unstable household that may struggle to make ends meet. Friends are susceptible to being asked to financially aid addicted loved ones. Even coworkers feel the effects by having to compensate for the unreliability of a substance abuser.