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Chemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family - What Is a Dysfunctional Family - What Is A Dysfunctional Family?

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaChemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional FamilyChemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family - What Is a Dysfunctional Family - Shaneen's Family, Ray's Family, What Families Need, What Is A Dysfunctional Family?

What Is a Dysfunctional Family?

Dysfunctional means something that does not work. A dysfunctional family is a family that does not meet the needs of its members. Many things can cause a family to be dysfunctional. A dysfunctional family might not support or show love for its members. It may not provide any emotional care—it might be full of threats, insults, physical violence, and tremendous conflict. Members may neglect each other. Parents may be unable or unwilling to be part of their children's lives physically or emotionally. They may abuse each other physically, emotionally, or sexually.

In dysfunctional families, young people often are solely responsible for themselves. They may find themselves making decisions about everything from schoolwork to friends and jobs. As you get older, you must make your own decisions. But teens in dysfunctional families have not been taught how to make smart choices. Instead, they must figure things out for themselves.

These teens often do not have role models or a sense of order in their lives. Teens in dysfunctional families have to face the world on their own.

Many teens living in dysfunctional families turn to alcohol or drugs for relief. These teens use drugs or alcohol to dull their pain and to cope with their chaotic lives. They do not see any other way to escape their families, and no one in their families is around to help them. In a dysfunctional family, the other family members often are so wrapped up in their own problems that they do not notice the teen's drug abuse. The abuse gets worse and worse until the teen becomes chemically dependent.

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