Mental health and recovery professionals often tell their clients that addictions are a form of a family disease. What they mean by this is that the person who is struggling with alcohol or drugs isn’t the only one who is affected by their actions. Each time that they choose to get high or drink excessively, it also has a major financial, emotional, and physical impact on their friends and family members, which can end up causing them to develop anxiety, depression, and unhealthy codependent behaviors. Because of this, it is important to treat all of those who are involved together as a whole unit in family therapy in addiction recovery since it offers the following benefits:
Motivation for the Person Struggling With an Addiction
It is much easier to conquer an addiction when you have a support system of people who hold you accountable for your actions. They can cheer you on each day and remind you of why you are working so hard to get better. More often than not, those who suffer from addiction also have other mental health issues that are exacerbating the situation, such as depression and anxiety. So whenever they start to feel down and alone, they may turn to substance abuse as a method of boosting their mood level. Regular family therapy sessions ensure that they get the positive feedback that they need to help avoid this trap, so they stay motivated to stay sober.
Higher Recovery Rate
Research has proven that those who are suffering from an addiction have a higher rate of recovery whenever they go through family therapy in addiction recovery. This alone is one of the main reasons why recovery professionals encourage the family members and friends of a person who has an addiction to take part in the therapy process. Usually, they are not asked to join in right away though. After detoxing, the person who is struggling with an addiction first goes through some individual counseling sessions to help ensure that they are ready to talk about their struggles with their loved ones.
Education Regarding Addictions
Family therapy is a great place to learn about what factors can potentially cause addictions, how they can be prevented, and what to do when they occur. This is very important information for all of the family members to learn about because it will help them to better understand how their loved one ended up with an addiction problem, so they can become more compassionate and understanding of their situation and struggles, which ends up aiding in their own healing process.
A Chance for Open Communication
Regular family therapy sessions are also helpful for giving everyone close to the person who is suffering from an addiction the chance to talk about how they feel regarding the situation and the way that it is affecting them on an individual basis. This is very important because holding all of the pain, sadness, anger, and other intense emotions inside will only lead to further resentment and isolation.
The Opportunity to Learn Healthy Coping Skills
Addictions cause chaos, instability, and confusion in a household because no one ever knows how a person who is suffering from an alcohol or drug problem is going to act each day. So, in order to cope, it is common for codependency among all of the family members to occur. What codependency refers to is a set of negative behaviors that end up further enabling the person who is struggling with the addiction and hurting the family members emotionally, financially, and sometimes even physically. Some examples of codependent behaviors in adults include bailing the person out of jail or bad financial problems, lying to cover up their drug and alcohol problems to others, and sacrificing their personal dreams, goals, and needs in order to put the person who is suffering from an addiction first all of the time.
Children are affected a little differently in this type of situation. They tend to focus on achieving perfection in their environment, grades, and appearance. It is also common for them to begin acting in an adult manner far beyond their years because they are unfairly being put into a role of responsibility as they fill in to cover for the duties that are being neglected by the person who is suffering from an addiction. Family therapy can help teach adults and children healthier coping skills that are specially tailored to their roles within the family though.
These are just a few of the benefits that family therapy can offer those who have a loved one who is suffering from an addiction. There are many others that haven’t been mentioned. To find out more about what this type of counseling can do to help your individual situation, call Ocean Hills Recovery today. One of our highly trained treatment specialists will be happy to further explain the therapy process and set up an appointment to get your loved one into treatment as soon as possible.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.