Addiction is an illness that affects not only those that suffer with, but also their families and friends as well. It can even affect strangers and the wider community. Children of those with addiction may feel isolated and unloved, and sometimes may even be scared of the parent with the addiction.
When addiction takes over a person’s life, it can destroy relationships with those around them, and intimate relationships can be particularly affected. Addiction often becomes the most important thing in the affected person’s life and, when this happens, there is little room for anyone or anything else. Spouses of those with addictions often feel neglected and unloved. Intimate relationships are often severely damaged and even when the person gets help, it can be difficult to get that intimacy back.
How Addiction Affects Intimacy
It can be almost impossible to maintain an intimate relationship if addiction is a problem. Those suffering from addiction become obsessed with the substance they are addicted to and they simply do not have time for anything else. Many addicts lose interest in sex and they become completely selfish. All they care about is getting their next fix, with their partner and children taking a back seat.
The selfish behaviour of an addict often leads to mistrust; without trust, it is impossible to maintain an intimate relationship.
Certain substances can also affect sexual health. Some drugs can increase libido but this is usually only temporary. Long-term drug or alcohol use can lead to a decrease in sexual functioning particularly for men. Many men will suffer erectile dysfunction while some women will find that their libido decreases because of drug abuse.
Why Intimacy is Important in Recovery
Many addicts live in denial for a long time, meaning their intimate relationships will continue to suffer. However, once these individuals have accepted that they do need help they can begin a programme of rehabilitation and start to rebuild their lives.
An important part of recovery is the process of rebuilding intimate relationships. This is a difficult thing to mend but it is vital that those in recovery focus on improving this area of their life. It may be necessary for the recovering addict and his or her partner to undergo some counselling to help them mend their intimate relationship.
Loneliness is a major problem in recovery, and those who suffer from it may find they relapse. Without the right support, a recovering addict may feel alone, which could lead to depression. Those who feel alone may feel as though their life has no meaning and they may find themselves back taking drugs or drinking alcohol to cope with the fear of loneliness. Others may even contemplate suicide when suffering from immense feelings of loneliness.
Getting the Right Help
If you are struggling with addiction and a damaged intimate relationship, you need to get professional help. Rehab Helper is a free service with fully trained advisors, counsellors and therapists to help those suffering from addiction get access to the treatments that can help them.
Our team of dedicated professionals can provide you with a listening ear as well as advice and support on any type of addiction. For a free assessment and referral, contact Rehab Helper today.