How Does Addiction and Relationship Connect?

To speak that in the drug addicts’ life, a drug, alcohol, or compulsive behavior problem destroys everything that in their drug addicts’ lives has become a cliché. Still, it merely explains that the reality cannot be overstated: an alcohol, substance, or obsessive behavior problem corrodes everything valued by drug addicts, without excluding – and especially – sexual and romantic relationships.

Like other aspects in drug addicts life, relationships have a reason-and-outcome relationship, and recognizing these mechanisms is critical to managing the addiction plus relationship is then preserved with drug addicts.

Addiction’s Effect in One’s Relationship Psychologically and Economically

The Issue of How Families Are Affected by Drug Addicts Is Not Recent.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) analyzed pre-existing research in 2004 on addiction and relationship concerning drug addicts, and discovered that addiction affects different relationship systems differently. To cover or compensate a parents who are drug addicts, children can be pushed into awkward or unfamiliar positions. If their relationship with the addicts including their behavior is discovered, members of the extended family can be subjected to traumatic feelings of guilt and embarrassment. [1]

When coping with a spouse that is a drug addicts, the effects of a drug abuse issue are usually divided into economical and psychological (and subsequent behavior). When addiction and relationship is involved, money may be diverted from investments and mutual interests to fund a habit. Mood swings, lack of commitment from the person they love, decreased sexual desire and functioning, and other emotional neglect types could be experienced by the partners of drug addicts psychologically (and behaviorally).

They may even be forced into being accomplices in their partner’s drug addicts actions, tricked into covering up their actions on their behalf, or going as far as even supplying them with narcotics, all in the name of love (maybe a promise by the drug addicts to seek treatment or help after that last one act) and trying to maintain both addiction and relationship.

>>> READ THIS NEXT: Ways to Impel a Loved One to Seek Treatment

How Addiction is Strengthened by Behavior

Considering addiction and relationship in drug addicts, substance or alcohol addiction alters how a person processes thoughts and makes a perception of the world he is surrounded by, causing him to devote all of his attention, resources, and concentration to satiating his need for a lot more drugs or alcohol. This affects the nature of the drug addicts relationship with their partner: the drug addict becomes less of a sexual or romantic friend and more of a tool for furthering their addiction, a tool for obtaining their next high.

Substance abuse is a sneaky concern. A cocktail to take the pressure off a bad day becomes a drink just to get through the day; a drag of a marijuana joint while hanging out with friends becomes any reason to light up and get high. When addiction and relationship comes to play in the drug addicts lives, the same is true also.

“Behavior confirms the addiction,” according to a PsychCentral article.” [2] Whether the drug addicts realize it or not, anything he does serves to keep his vice flames burning. The drug addicts interactions with their partner or girlfriend become a cog in the machine. The reaction of the drug addicts’ partner will influence a variety of the other factors: for example, If she issues an ultimatum, it may spell the ending of the budding relationship, but may also serve as a catalyst for the drug addicts to clean up their act; Perhaps she eventually becomes an accomplice in this addiction, the disease may spread to more people in her social circle causing the advent of addiction and relationship to rise.

Looking at addiction and relationship, according to the PsychCentral site, for drug addicts that mix narcotics and sex, sexual activity influences drug use, drug use in turn influences sexual behavior.

The drug addicts having an addiction and relationship may lead to male abusers consuming prescribed drugs for male enhancement in the hopes of compensating for their impaired sexual function as a result of their abuse of recreational drugs. Excessive use of some recreational drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine, can result in erectile dysfunction in drug addicts.[3] 

In a study of 1,994 men published in the journal of Sexual Behavior Archives in 2011, four percent said they used ED (erectile dysfunction) medicine recreationally. The rest of drug addicts said they combined recreational drugs with male enhancement drugs. The use of erectile dysfunction medications without a prescription has also been linked to other types of drug abuse in drug addicts.[4]

A doctor, on addiction and relationship in drug addicts, discusses how combining alcohol and probably the most popularly known drug for male enhancement worldwide, Viagra, can induce unconsciousness in an NBC News story titled “How Viagra Can Mess Up Your Marriage.”[5] Men, especially drug addicts, can totally depend on Viagra in order to function sexually, according to the PsychCentral site, because they are desperate to show their masculinity at the expense of deteriorating sexual health due to their diverse addiction(s).

Substance Abuse and Its Influence on Human Sexuality

The sexuality of humans is a complicated topic in and of itself, and adding an addiction and relationship issue altogether to the equation can have devastating long-term implications on drug addicts.

One of the findings which focuses on addiction and relationship in drug addicts and were inputted in the Sexual Medicine’s Journal, revealed that long-term use of alcohol, heroin, and cocaine affected sexual climax, with the first being the substance having the most significant impact on a man’s ability to get an erection.[6] Male drug addicts remained sexually impotent even after completing recovery, according to a 2013 report conducted by the University of Grenada. A group of 605 males, 550 of whom had been diagnosed with as drug addicts with substance abuse problem, were studied to see how they performed sexually.

According to University of California in Santa Barbara, it also impairs or prevents orgasm, leading to a great “massive decline” in having interest for sexual intercourse and being capable of performing sexually in both men and women. Cocaine, as a stimulant, boosts sex drive and the likelihood of engaging in promiscuous or risky sexual activity for a short period in drug addicts.

Some cocaine drug addicts can keep abusing cocaine to gain the short time improvement in libido, utterly oblivious to the fact that the cocaine is also to blame for the decline in sexual performance.[7]

Sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, depression, violence and neglecting all of one’s sexual partners, and a progressive decrease in interest and effort in pursuing serious and long-term relationships are just some of the problems that stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine can cause in drug addicts, both within and outside of a relationship when addiction and relationship occurs.)[8],[9]

When spouses of drug addicts suffer from ED (without or with prescribed medicine or recreational drug use), it may have no positive effect on their health. A study published in this journal of Urology showed that men with erectile dysfunction had higher levels of anxiety and depression, a decrease in confidence in their sexual abilities, and lower functional status as drug addicts due to being impotent.[10]

The Correlation Between Addiction, Abuse, and Relationship

Among the multiple aspects of relationships is sexuality, and how this sexuality is affected by drug abuse can have an effect on how all of the other elements of their relationship work out in the drug addicts’ life. Increased chances of emotional and physical abuse among partners as trust levels and intimacy are affected by decreasing sexual ability, escalated periods of being depressed, and wild mood swings (which occurs because of comedown and withdrawal effects). This is a very important aspect while considering addiction and relationship in drug addicts.

Researchers interviewed a total number of 106 fathers in 2011 who were undergoing methadone addiction care and discovered that these men who had become opioids drug addicts were mentally, emotionally, and psychologically abusive to their partners more than men in control groups. [11] These researchers publishing in American Journal of Orthopsychiatry came to this conclusion concerning addiction and relationship in drug addicts.

Dangerous conducts do not necessarily have to be solely physical to be deemed “abusive” medically and legally. Any action in which one partner tries to assert control and power over an unyielding partner meets the requirements, according to the US Department of Justice. In the case of substance abuse in drug addicts, this can take the form of the drug addicts pressuring their wives to supply them cash for drugs, promising to take violent actions against the said partner or the offspring they have if demands are not met, or they start engaging in other types of abuse and neglect to support their addiction:

  • Partners may be raped (this happens even inside a marriage), tricked into carrying out sexual favors, humiliated physically, or denied of sex.
  • Fear and intimidation may be used to intimidate and monitor partners of drug addicts who do not engage in substance addiction or even part of being high on drugs.[12]
  • Partners maybe be screamed at, mocked, called derogatory names, and dismissed (emotional abuse)

The Role of Addiction and Gender in Relationship

It is easy to imagine drug addicts in relationships as the male, and these people’s female partners as helpless victims.

Women that are substances drug addicts, on the other hand, have much more tendencies than the men to link their abuse of drugs with their marriages, according to Psychology Today. A lot of women who are trying to preserve their abstinence regularly are losing their hold because of their romantic or sexual relationships. They sometimes relapse due to the fact that they desire to share one beer, one sniff of cocaine, or a hit of methamphetamine with one another. As a result of one thing leading to another, they not only relapse, these women also poison the relationship they are in.

They often relapse because their partner persuades them (or they persuade themselves) that their sex will be better when they are high.

Perhaps more so for females than males, the link between addiction and relationship problems in drug addicts can be traced back to childhood trauma. According to TIME magazine’s post, “the great number” of individuals who have a drug abuse issue as drug addicts have also experienced significant trauma in the past.[13] Furthermore, according to researchers who reported their results in the famous Journal of Psychological Science, females who have endured one traumatic event at one point in their lifetime are more inclined to feel anxiety more than males, which can appear as the fears of abandonment and loneliness, which they try to self-medicate using alcohol and drugs (as opposed to their male counterpart, who generally bring in recreational drugs and prescription into the dynamics of their relationship for a better performance sexually).[14]

The Relationship Between Drugs and Love

Even if drug addicts loves their partner, their addiction allows them to crave the drug even more. This is one of the most significant effects of addiction and relationships. A article on PsychCentral lays out the sobering facts, stating that being in a relationship with a person who consumes drugs is unhealthy and dysfunctional by design.

According to the author, the drug addicts will not choose opioids over the partner on purpose; rather, her addiction drives her to go in search of chemical fulfillment, which no height of expression of love, sex, or companionship, can fill. As addiction and relationship coexist, the relationship becomes a means of control, and the user’s every rational and irrational decision about the relationship will inevitably be to achieve her next intoxication.

According to the author, a partner who attempts to “provide solution to the issue” by providing the user terrible and bad comments – lecturing, blaming, frustration, or criticizing – would only push the user forward into the addictive behavior (which will eventually put the partner at risk). Learning about the psychology and etiology of a substance or alcohol epidemic, learning about recovery options, and eventually getting an intervention as soon as possible, so that the addiction does not affect too many relationships, could be a safer choice instead. Not only can transparent, frank, supportive, and loving communication save a relationship, but it can also keep the existence of those involved when attempting to manage being drug addicts and relationships.[15]

Adapting to Healthy Relationship Behavior to Fight Against an Addiction

Although It May Not Be to Completely Prevent an Addiction, an Attentive Lover Will Be Observant to Notice if His Partner Is Abusing Substances:

  • Refusing to participate in familial and social activities
  • Changes in sexual actions that are not expected
  • Mood swings that usually get out of ordinary
  • Bursts of maniac activity are interweaved with periods of extreme exhaustion.
  • Experiencing unexplained losses financially
  • Bringing up the topic about drug experimentation (either as a trial to make things better even in the bedroom or in an emotional bonding catalyst).

In case there seems to be a reason to believe his partner has a drug addicts’ issue, he should inquire from his partner directly and quickly, without using a confrontational or judgmental tone. This will allow the user to come out clean while still having some control over the situation. Various treatments are available that reduce or eliminate problems with alcohol or other drugs effectively. Person therapy, group counselling, self-help meetings, and community groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are also included in some treatments. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help for yourself or your partner, children, friends, or other drug addicts who may be suffering from drinking or drug addiction. Getting your partner into treatment if he or she has a substance or alcohol addiction might be one of the fantastic things you can do to help the addiction and relationship.

What if your partner has an alcohol or substance addiction but refuses to seek help or go to rehab because he or she does not believe there is a problem or does not want to participate in counseling? This is a recurring problem. Counselling and expert treatment and can then be looked in to fix the done damage and assist both partners in bridging the space that being drug addicts has attempted to bring into their loving relationship. Alcohol and substance addiction recovery services, it turns out, provide resources for concerned family members and deal with this very problem. They will provide you with suggestions and information about how to persuade your partner to seek help; these methods are also useful in persuading family members who cannot seek help to enter care eventually so as to control addiction and relationship.

Many therapies for people who have an alcohol or drug addiction or are drug addicts will include their partner somehow. According to research, having partners in the treatment at any stage can be extremely beneficial to the treatment’s success. It is also essential to address the relationship’s issues; these issues do not go away just because the drinking or drugging has stopped. Many couples are shocked and saddened that they continue to have numerous fights and disagreements after the drug abuse has ended which explains that it is not just about the addiction and relationship.

The key argument here is that a partner’s drug abuse damages the marriage or partnership, and these issues must be addressed as well. If the relationship problems are not addressed, they can lead to more tension and, as a result, a relapse into alcohol or substance use. As a result, improving the relationship is necessary for long-term recovery from drug abuse. Eliminating alcohol or substance use is just the first step; after sobriety has been achieved, a loving, caring relationship may be one of the most critical factors in maintaining that sobriety for drug addicts.


  1. [1] “Chapter 2 Impact of Substance Abuse on Families.” (2004). SAMHSA. Granted access April 14, 2015.
  2. [2] “When Substance Abuse and Intimacy Issues Are Linked.” (August 2013). Psych Central. Looked into in April 14, 2015.
  3. [3] “Beta Blockers and Other Drugs That May Cause Erectile Dysfunction in Men.” (March 2014). Healthline. Granted Access April 14, 2015.
  4. [4] “ Characteristics and Associated Risk Factors of The Recreational Use of Erectile Dysfunction Medications.” (2011). Archives of Sexual Behavior. Checked April 14, 2015.
  5. [5] “How Viagra Can Mess Up Your Marriage.” (April 2011). NBC News. Accessed April 14, 2014.
  6. [6] “Drug Abuse Impairs Sexual Performance in Men Even After Rehabilitation.” (January 2013). Science Daily. Accessed April 15, 2015.
  7. [7] “Sex and Cocaine.” (n.d.) University of California, Santa Barbara. Accessed April 15, 2015.
  8. [8] “Is There A Price to Pay For Promiscuity?” (July 2010). Everyday Health. Accessed April 15, 2015.
  9. [9] “Certain Aspects of Promiscuity.” (February 2013). Psychology Today. Accessed April 15, 2015.
  10. [10] “Psychological Impact of Erectile Dysfunction: New Health Quality of Life Measure for Patients.” (November 2002). Journal of Urology. Accessed April 15, 2015.
  11. [11] “Drug Abuse and IPV: A Comparative Study of Opioid Dependent Fathers.” (April 2011). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Accessed April 15, 2015.
  12. [12] “Domestic Violence.” (July 2014). Department of Justice. Accessed February 20, 2015.
  13. [13] “How PTSD and Addiction Can Safely Be Treated Together.” (August 2012). TIME. Accessed February 20, 2015.
  14. [14] “Sex Differences in Fear Conditioning in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” (January 2013). Journal of Psychiatric Research. Accessed February 20, 2015.
  15. [15] “Why Drug Addicts Will Always Choose Drugs Over Love.” (June 2014). Psych Central. Accessed April 15, 2015.