The Effects of Drug Addiction on Marriage

The Effects of Drug Addiction on A Marriage

The Effects of Drug Addiction on Marriage

Drug addiction not only takes its toll on the user but on their loved ones as well. 

Often a person’s addiction can change them for the worst. They may begin to lie, steal, and withdraw from those around them. Their addiction may also start to impact other areas of their life that can lead to friction between loved ones. Because of all these factors, addiction can break up relationships and create turmoil in the family unit. 

How Substance Abuse Affects Marriage

Substance abuse and marriage are not a good match. Addiction can be detrimental to romantic relationships and lead to irreparable damage. For married couples, this may mean the person who you swore to spend forever with becomes a stranger. This transformation doesn’t usually happen overnight and is often a result of several factors.  

Emotional Distance 

One of the most impactful ways that drug addiction affects marriage is by interfering with the couple’s emotional connection. It is not uncommon for people abusing drugs and alcohol to become withdrawn and pull away from those closest to them. They may also lie to their spouse to try and hide their substance abuse or cover up their addiction. All these factors can lead to emotional distance and lack of intimacy. If the addicted spouse never gets into a detox program and gets sober, this distance may become too great to overcome. 


Financial Struggles

Fueling an addiction can be costly. Because money is often cited as the number one subject that couples argue about and finances are a leading cause of divorce,1 having an addict spouse who is wasting money on drugs or alcohol can be problematic. Financial struggles are common in marriages involving a spouse who is an addict. Not only are they spending money on these substances that could otherwise be used for something else, but also people with substance use disorders are often at a higher risk of losing their jobs because they neglect their work. The stress of missing the electric bill, having no running water, or even being evicted, can put serious strain on a marriage.  


Legal Conflicts

If your spouse refuses to go to a standard or luxury residential rehab and get sober, this could lead to legal problems. These legal conflicts may include divorce, child custody battles, improvement, or a DWI. Not only can this cause problems on its own, but hefty legal fees can add to the financial problems. 



In some extreme cases, the effects of drug addiction on marriage might also include verbal, sexual, or physical abuse. While not everyone who has a substance use disorder is abusive, there is some evidence to suggest that violence in a relationship is significantly connected to substance abuse.2 This may be a result of impaired judgment from being under the influence or aggression brought on by substance use.  If your addicted spouse has become abusive, seek help immediately. 

Addiction on its own is a challenging disease, but all too often loved ones get dragged along for the ride. Unfortunately, the effects of drug addiction on a marriage may be irreversible, but the sooner the addicted partner gets help the more likely that marriage can be salvaged.


At Seaside Palm Beach, we not only want to help the person struggling with substance abuse but their loved ones as well. Because of this, we provide therapy for family members of addicts to help everyone heal and move forward together. 

If you or your spouse is suffering from substance abuse, call 561-677-9374 today to learn more about how we may be able to help.  



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