A supportive and well-structured home environment helps improve a loved one’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to the National Institutes on Health (1), social support from friends and family enhances an individual’s ability to resist stressful situations and remain healthy during difficult times. When you do not have a structured and supportive environment in your home, a loved one faces a greater risk of health concerns associated with stress.

Causes of Stress

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2) estimates that almost 7 to 8 percent of Americans develop PTSD at least once during their lifetime. Since almost 50 percent of women and 60 percent of men face traumatic situations in their lifetime, the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, it relatively low. The causes of stress in an individual’s life depend on multiple factors, including their home environment.

Common sources of stress and trauma include:

  1. Healthy and normal stress from work or relationship management
  2. Traumatic situations, like a car accident, natural disaster or an attack
  3. Abuse during childhood
  4. Lack of support and structure in the home
  5. Sexual assaults of any kind
  6. Injuries from accidents
  7. Life-changing events

Every individual faces stressful situations throughout his or her lifetime. In many cases, stress stems from minor problems like disagreements in the workplace, managing homework from school or even happy events like getting married. Severe stress and PTSD stems from out-of-control situations that leave a lasting impression on your mind and body.

The Role of Family Support in Healthy Resilience to Stress

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (3) reports that substance abuse hurts the entire family and it causes stress in your home environment. After a loved one enters a treatment program, your family must work together to create a supportive environment in the home.

According to the National Institutes on Health (1), a supportive social network helps prevent a loved one from developing PTSD after a traumatic experience and it assists with healthy recovery when a loved one does show signs of PTSD. Psych Central (4) explains that family involvement in addiction recovery helps a loved one start working toward realistic goals and improves relationships within the family unit.

When a home lacks structure and support, you allow a loved one to flounder and struggle against the symptoms of a mental health disorder without any help or assistance. Post-traumatic stress disorder contributes to a loved one’s substance abuse, particularly if it occurred before the addiction developed. A loved one attempts to handle the symptoms of PTSD by abusing a substance.

Setting up a Healthy Home Environment

An unhealthy support system causes stress and harms a loved one’s ability to rebuild his or her health during a recovery program. It allows a traumatic experience to a negative situation to grow out of control and reduces a loved one’s resilience to stressful and dangerous situations.

Set up a supportive environment by working with a loved one and the entire family throughout an addiction treatment program. Attend family therapy and work on building healthier habits that encourage a loved one to maintain his or her recovery goals.

Substance abuse harms your family and it raises concerns about your ability to trust a particular individual; however, it does not mean that a loved one will not regain his or her health. A healthy support network and clear rules provide the structure that a loved one needs to focus on goals and improve the current situation.

(1) Fatih Ozbay, M.D., Douglas C. Johnson, Ph.D., Eleni Dimoulas, Ph.D., C.A. Morgan III, M.D., Dennis Charney, M.D., and Steven Southwick, M.D., Social Support and Resilience to Stress, The National Institutes on Health, May 2007, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921311/,

(2) How Common is PTSD?, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, November 10, 2014, http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/basics/how-common-is-ptsd.asp,

(3) Drug Abuse Hurts Families, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, http://easyread.drugabuse.gov/effects-family.php,

(4) Steven Gifford, Family Involvement is Important in Substance Abuse Treatment, Psych Central, January 30, 2013, http://psychcentral.com/lib/family-involvement-is-important-in-substance-abuse-treatment/6631/