A Guide for Spouses of Individuals Suffering from Substance Abuse

by | Nov 11, 2020 | Family Addiction | 0 comments


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Living with substance abuse is never easy. Those who suffer are fighting one of the most difficult diseases to overcome: addiction. For some of them, the people who love them most are caught in the crossfires. Being the spouse of an addicted person is difficult. In marriage, loving someone through the worst that life has to offer is honorable, but it doesn’t mean anybody should do it alone. There are treatment facilities that believe in caring for those who are addicted and their loved ones. 

How Does Addiction Impact Loved Ones?

There are many concerns for couples who suffer from substance abuse, some of which include the following:

  • Verbal Abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Financial Conflicts
  • Legal Conflicts 

When someone uses a particular drug, the pleasure center in the brain is triggered. An unusually strong amount of dopamine sends chemical signals to the brain that give it a false perception of pleasure. There is no high that will ever be as strong as the first, and because of this, the user will always want to take more. 

Taking drugs in excess will only further compromise the pleasure receptors in the brain. At this point, feelings of love for a spouse and the enjoyment of food or any other activity will grow numb. To a loved one, this can start to seem as though an addicted person loves their drug more than their life partner. 

In addition to all of this, drugs also are responsible for a lack of judgment with those who use them. They also have a way of arousing certain feelings. These feelings could range from love to anger, and this is very dangerous in a marriage relationship. Those who experience a lack of judgment or heightened emotions could be more likely to verbally, physically, or sexually abuse their partner.

The potential for physical, sexual, and verbal abuse aren’t the only factors of addiction. For some, the most visible consequence of substance abuse is the financial strain it puts on a marriage. The longer that someone uses, the more tolerant they will become; the more tolerant someone becomes towards a particular substance, the more they will need to achieve the desired effect; the more of a drug they need to reach a high, the more money they will need to spend. 

The highest percentage of problems in marriages and the leading cause for divorce has all to do with finances. Decisions on where to invest one’s resources is often a sticky topic; what is important to one person is not always the same for the other. 

In the case of substance abuse, spending a chunk of one’s resources on illicit substances that impair their judgment rather than putting it towards something useful has the potential to cause strife in one’s marriage. This leads to angry, unhealthy conflict in which there is no hope for reconciliation. Most marriages that experience intense conflict in the area of finances end in divorce, but there are other ways to resolve this sort of issue. 

Ways to Resolve the Conflict of Addiction

Encouraging a spouse to pursue sobriety when they’re addicted is a loaded task. Most of the time they will feel as though a problem does not exist. It is imperative to remain grounded in your convictions and not enable them. Denial is a normal part of substance abuse. It is not out of the ordinary for those who suffer from substance abuse to believe that nothing is wrong. This is why some options such as interventions may be necessary to bring the impact of their addiction to their attention. 

Substance Abuse Intervention

An intervention can go a long way in helping those who are addicted to comprehend the weight of their actions. Interventions are rehab strategies in which loved ones plan a conversation in which those who are suffering listen to the concerns of the loved ones who organized the session. At times it may seem like a strategy like this is pointless, that there’s nothing that could be said to convince someone that they have an addiction problem. In these cases, it is imperative to remember that the end goal is to bring the effects of their actions to their attention.

Addiction should be handled with the utmost care and understanding. This disease is very sensitive and has the power to ruin the lives of those suffering and the ones who care most for an addicted person. Struggling with addiction is rarely a choice. A series of bad decisions leads people to these places of destruction; these choices do not define them as an individual. There is someone inside of them worth pursuing help for.

As far as the process of an intervention is concerned, these are organized by families, friends, and experienced professionals. These meetings are not an easy task. There are so many emotions wrapped up within this complex web of heartache. Due to this emotional baggage, interventions are a very difficult task. However, interventions could be the correct course of action to take when it comes to your spouse’s substance abuse; sometimes the best decisions are not the easiest.

The goal of an intervention is to help those who are addicted to understanding how much their loved ones care for them. This must be represented well in every aspect of the meeting. The setting goes a long way in this regard. Comfortability must be primary. This helps those who are addicted to understanding that they are heard and understood; it also brings tension down when people are comfortable in a particular environment. 

All things considered, interventions are great ways to bring a substance use disorder to someone’s attention. Those closest to an addicted person can communicate freely in a comfortable environment as to how their substance abuse has impacted them. Bringing the problem to their attention in the most loving and understanding way is the most important part of this process.

Treatment Options at Amethyst

When it comes to other methods of recovery for substance abuse, there is a vast array of options. Some of these include the following:

Inpatient Treatment

Used to treat more severe cases of addiction, inpatient residential treatment is a method in which patients reside in the care of a treatment facility. This recovery option provides patients with 24/7 medical support (should the need arise) and access to professional therapists and psychiatrists throughout the week. This treatment option could last anywhere from 28 days to six months. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is meant to cater to those who suffer from milder cases of substance abuse. Patients who participate in this method of recovery reside in their own homes while attending treatment weekly. This recovery option provides them with 10-12 hours of weekly access to professional therapists and psychiatrists and lasts anywhere from six months to over a year. This is perfect for those who don’t suffer from severe cases of addiction, but still, need treatment that provides minimal disruption to their daily lives.

Detox Treatment

Drug rehab is very difficult for some due in large part to the symptoms of withdrawal. The effects of withdrawal are very difficult to live through and overcome, and if patients don’t have what they need in terms of treatment, it could be likely that they will relapse. This is why medically-assisted detox is imperative to those who are experiencing withdrawal in recovery. 

Detox or medically assisted treatment (MAT) is a method of treatment that provides patients with medicine that helps subside their cravings without having to experience the symptoms of withdrawal or potential relapse. Alcohol and drug cravings sometimes seem impossible to ignore. Inevitably, for people who feel that way, they’ll give in to using more. This is because all this time, they’ve been trying to achieve the same high they had when they first started, and because of that they become more dependent on the substance to function properly. 

Regardless of how difficult this may be, there are options to treat the symptoms of withdrawal. At Amethyst, we offer rehab options that help patients come off of drugs comfortably and in their own time. We hope that those who participate would be able to quit comfortably so that their recovery journey is that much simpler. 


Therapy options in addiction treatment include the following:

  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

In addiction treatment, therapy has been known to be quite successful. Some of this success comes as a result of the different options when it comes to therapy. There are many different therapeutic techniques for certain people. Some work better on an individual basis while others do better in group settings. Couples are in their league where they may need specific therapy that helps them work through their issues as two people who share lives. All of these options are great for those who require therapy to succeed in their treatment. 

Amethyst Cares for You

Substance abuse and addiction are difficult waters to navigate, especially for those who are married. If you, a loved one or spouse are suffering from substance abuse, you can contact us here






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