Parental Expert Nikki Bush says addiction is a very destructive influence on family life unless it is dealt with very quickly, honestly and holistically, because it doesn't only affect the addict but every member of the family.
Bush says there is a strong genetic link to addiction, and children of addicts are far more likely to develop addictive tendencies.
It has the potential to have a ripple effect for generations to come— Nikki Bush - Parenting expert
Bush advises that even in an environment that has no addictive patterns, parents need to look at the way they raise their children. She says children with underdeveloped coping skills and underdeveloped self-esteem are at risk of developing addictive behaviours in future
When children don't feel they are accepted here, they look for acceptance somewhere else. And if they are so desperate it doesn't matter where it comes from— Nikki Bush - Parenting expert
And if they have to take drugs, drink or smoke to fit into a group in order to be accepted, this could form a start of an addictive behaviour.— Nikki Bush - Parenting expert
According Judith Gordon-Drake, registered social worker in private practice, the defining feature of addiction is when the use of one's drug of choice or one's addictive behaviour, has negative consequences.
She says if the activity does not affect your life negatively then you can carry on doing it, but the minute it starts affecting your relationships, social life, financial status and your work, it is time to get help. The problem is addicts often do not realise their behaviour is destructive to themselves and those around them.
The experts recommend that addicts and families seek help in support groups like the 12 step programme's Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.
There are also similar groups for teenagers.
The related support groups like Al-Anon are for the families of addicts and provide enormous support fir this difficult disease that is affects the entire family.
Listen to the full conversation below: