Many mental health and addiction treatment programs include family therapy as part of their program. It is usually introduced after the individual in recovery progresses and learns how to cope with their mental illness or addiction.
It can reveal any underlying issues within the family that must be addressed and equip families with the tools to support their recovering loved ones.
Addiction is a Family Disease
Addiction can impact everyone, regardless of whether or not they use drugs or alcohol. It can rip families apart and affect relationships, finances, safety, etc. It can even cause behavioral and cognitive problems for children who grow up with a parent or sibling struggling with addiction.
Family therapy focuses on relationships rather than individuals. It works to teach new communication and coping skills, as well as to address the unconscious patterns of behavior that lead to codependent and enabling behaviors. These are often the root of a loved one’s ongoing substance abuse problem and may be difficult to identify and change.
Many addicts are reluctant to participate in family therapy; some may even resist it completely. However, family therapy can help stabilize the system and open clear communication among members so everyone can work together to encourage recovery. It can also help family members recognize irrational excuses for their harmful behaviors and replace them with a more grounded understanding of how they contribute to the problem.
Addiction is a Multi-Level Problem
People addicted to drugs have a greater risk of getting an infectious disease such as HIV through unsafe sex or sharing needles, and they may also have more trouble with relationships, work and their family. They also have a higher risk of death due to drug use, accidents and suicide.
Drug addiction often leads to relationship problems and lack of communication, which can be hard to deal with for families. It can cause health issues such as chronic pain and gastrointestinal disorders. It can also increase the risk of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, or behavioral problems in children and adolescents.
Mental health professionals can help with drug addiction through family therapy, a form of psychotherapy that improves family relationships and communication. Therapists use different types of family therapy, so it’s important to ask about their approach and qualifications when setting up an appointment. Some facilities, like Pinnacle Recovery Center, offer home visits or online sessions.
Addiction is a Complex Issue
When an individual struggles with addiction, it affects everyone involved. This is why it’s essential to include family therapy as part of drug and alcohol treatment for those who struggle with addiction.
Family therapy can help family members understand how drugs and alcohol hurt their loved ones. This will enable them to make better decisions and support their family member. Family therapy can also help them find approaches for living in recovery that will work best for their family.
Different types of family therapy are available, including narrative, psychoeducational, functional, structural and supportive family therapy. Narrative family therapy encourages family members to tell their stories and gain perspective on how their actions may affect others. Psychoeducational family therapy helps family members understand mental health conditions and how medications, treatment options and self-help strategies can help. Functional family therapy (FFT) addresses communication and coping skills among families of adolescents with substance use disorders. It is based on the belief that unhealthy family dynamics contribute to problem behaviors.
Addiction is a Complex Problem for Children
Addiction causes many different effects on family members, including emotional distress, legal problems, economic struggles and even physical violence. Children growing up with a parent struggling with addiction often have trouble coping. Their feelings are confused, and they may become depressed, anxious or aggressive as a way to express themselves. They are at risk for developing a substance use disorder themselves.
Family therapy addresses these issues and helps family members learn healthy coping mechanisms. It also encourages the development of a more cohesive support system that can help their loved one during recovery. As they discuss their past experiences and work together to find approaches for life in recovery, they can also repair damaged relationships. This enhances the effectiveness of treatment and creates a more positive home environment. This is especially important for kids. Getting them on the right path early is essential. The earlier they understand their role in helping their addict parent, the better their chance for a successful recovery.