Attending family therapy has many benefits. With the help of a licensed family counselor, recovering users are placed in an environment where they can make amends, begin to rebuild trust, and realize hope for positive, meaningful relationships in future.
In sessions, family members can gain a better understanding about their loved one’s addiction, find new ways to be supportive, and help in the achievement of goals.
Most inpatient and outpatient treatment programs encourage family treatment in some capacity.
When a loved one has struggled with substance use, there will be tell-tale signs that their use has become an issue. Individuals using and abusing alcohol and drugs are affected physically, emotionally, and behaviorally.
Common physical symptoms of addiction include changes in weight, odd sleeping habits, smaller or larger pupils, bloodshot eyes, poor coordination, and ignoring responsibilities.
Some of the general behavioral and emotional symptoms of addiction are increased irritability, aggression, depression, anxiety, withdrawal, changes in personality, lethargy, changes in interests or habits, and criminal activity.
Being knowledgeable of substance abuse signs can be a huge help for family members who want to intervene and support their loved ones facing substance use issues.
There are unfortunate consequences that a family can experience due to addiction. These range from mild to severe, depending on the circumstances.
Ways addiction can affect the family system include:
Many family members and friends of users enable behaviors over a period of years. In the long run, this can increase the negative consequences. There are ways in which families can support loved ones without enabling them.
Family programs for drug addiction are an important part of the recovery process. They help to mend past hurts and bring people together. There is never a guarantee that families will reconnect, but family therapists attempt to start the process of repair between recovering users and those they have wronged in the past.
There is quite a difference between supporting and enabling, yet there is a fine line between them when it comes to addiction.
Enabling occurs when a family member doesn’t want to lose a loved one. It’s usually not apathy; it’s because they don’t foresee other options. They want their loved one to be provided for regardless of addictions. Moreover, most enablers are not aware they are doing harm. They believe their actions are purely out of love.
Examples of enabling include: giving money to an addict, repairing common property the user damaged, lying to the user’s employer to conceal absenteeism, fulfilling the user’s commitments to others, screening phone calls and making excuses for the user, or bailing him or her out of jail.
Instead of enabling the user to continue damaging behaviors, family members must learn how to best supportthem through difficult times.
Ways in which to support a user:
There are a plethora of ways family and friends can show support to loved ones suffering from alcohol and drug use without enabling behaviors.
Tackling the problem of substance abuse is a confounding one. Alcohol and drug use are multifaceted diseases that are never a “one-size-fits-all” problem. Addiction cannot always be prevented; however, there are proactive steps families can take to support loved ones who are struggling. Programs for families of drug addicts are convenient, affordable, and realistic ways to solve problems.
There is good news in the field of research for users who have a genetic predisposition to substance abuse.
According to addiction experts: Studying and using these data types to identify biological factors involved in substance misuse is increasingly important because technological advances have improved the ability of researchers to single out individual genes or brain processes that may inform new prevention and treatment interventions.
New research is constantly being done on addiction.
If an addict or a family member is in need of help to deal with the effects a substance use disorder is having on the family system, participating in a family treatment program is one of the most beneficial solutions.
Most inpatient and outpatient programs offer family therapy. There are also general outpatient therapists who specialize in addiction and family systems.
Those who are interested in getting involved in family treatment programs for addiction should speak to treatment teams, therapists, or sponsors who will understand the benefits.
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