THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY INVOLVEMENT IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT

The Importance of Family Involvement in Substance Abuse Treatment

Family involvement in substance abuse treatment is often very underrated. Despite becoming a strong and pervasive theme in many types of health treatment, it’s not often utilized to its full potential in substance abuse treatment. One of the biggest challenges is combining substance abuse treatment and family therapy. However, it’s a necessary step to take as family therapy and support in addiction treatment is extremely important and can raise the patient’s odds of recovery.

New Method Wellness understands that family support and involvement can drastically affect a patient in addiction treatment. It can help them stay in treatment and avoid relapses. It can also help them seek treatment in the first place. For this reason, we seek to integrate family therapy into our substance abuse treatment programs.

Combining Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy

Addiction is often considered a family disease. This is because it almost never just affects the person who is addicted. The damage spreads across multiple relationships. Family members of an addicted person often develop various coping mechanisms as well. Some of them are benign, but others can be dangerous.

• Ignoring the addicted person or pretending they aren’t addicted
• Staying away from the person or cutting them off
• Enabling the addicted person
• Trying to control the addicted person’s actions
• Falling into substance abuse themselves

As a result, family members often need therapy and education for addiction too. Sometimes they also end up needing substance abuse treatment if they follow their loved one into addiction. Family therapy can be, and often should be, incorporated into substance abuse treatment. This allows family members to heal and recover at the same time.

Family Therapy For Substance Abuse Is Key For Recovery

One of the key elements of family counseling is education about addiction and substance abuse. Education helps family members learn how to support their loved ones through substance abuse treatment and eventually through recovery as well. Industry research shows that substance abuse treatment that includes family education and therapy has better outcomes than treatment programs that don’t. Some components of family education and counseling include:

• Information about addiction
• How addiction affects families
• The process of recovering from addiction
• How to support yourself during this process
• Supporting your loved one
• How to rebuild trust in your relationships
• How to set healthy boundaries and not enable
• Communication skills

Not all addiction treatment centers offer family treatment programs for substance abuse. If you’re looking for substance abuse treatment and are concerned about your loved ones, the following are some questions to consider:

• Is there family education?
• Is therapy available to family members?
• Can staff refer family members to relevant resources?
• Does the program encourage families to be involved?

Mending your family relationships is a crucial part of progressing through a substance abuse treatment program.

Family Involvement In Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery

Family involvement in addiction can be complicated. It’s common for family members to enable addicted individuals as they don’t want to push them away through a confrontation about their addiction. They may also try to ignore the problem. However, statistics show that most addicted individuals end up seeking treatment due to family interventions and involvement. Support from family can also be the difference between a sustained recovery and a difficult recovery with multiple relapses. That’s why many quality treatment programs encourage family involvement with the consent of the patient as much as possible.

Family Involvement Before Substance Abuse Treatment

Every family is different, so the best way to approach addiction treatment and family involvement will also be different. You may be able to get in contact with local counselors at treatment facilities to help you plan an intervention or to be a mediator. You might also decide to have a private intervention with only a few family members. As previously mentioned, family involvement through intervention is often the biggest factor in an addicted person finally deciding to seek treatment. Interventions should always be as non-confrontation as possible. The goal is to have an honest talk with the addicted person and let them know that their addiction is hurting their family as well as themselves.

Support From Family During Substance Abuse Treatment

If the intervention is successful, then the best scenario is that the addicted person enters either inpatient or outpatient treatment. In outpatient treatment, the addicted person typically spends several hours per day at the facility and returns home to their family in the evening. Having strong support at home during this process can help make outpatient treatment very successful. Inpatient treatment means that the patient will spend a period of days to weeks and sometimes months in a substance abuse treatment program. Family involvement is still important. Inpatient programs often encourage visits from family and friends as much as possible.

Family Involvement After Addiction Treatment

Because addiction is a chronic disease, there’s no definite end to treatment and therapy. Families who are struggling with the after-effects of a loved one’s addiction should keep attending therapy sessions and group meetings like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. This allows them to get continued support and education throughout the entire process. Recovering from addiction isn’t just about the addicted person’s journey, but also about their family and loved ones. Therapy and group meetings for family members can help with the following:

• Emotional support
• Increased understanding of addiction
• Learning how to support a person recovering from addiction
• Learning how to stay out of destructive cycles
• Avoiding enabling and codependency

Remember that support and encouragement of an addicted person’s journey should never include enabling their addiction. It’s very common for people to relapse even after getting out of intensive treatment. If that happens to your loved one, there are several ways you can support them without getting angry or enabling:

• Don’t tell them that they’re weak or that they’ve failed
• Do encourage them to talk about what might have led them to relapse
• Don’t get angry at them or refuse to talk to them
• Do encourage them to seek therapy if they aren’t currently attending

The key is to be prepared for various bumps in the road as your loved one recovers from addiction. The path to becoming free from addiction is almost never a straight line for anyone. There are many curves and obstacles in the road. Freedom from addiction tends to be far more likely for people who have strong support from their family and friends. It can’t be overstated how important this support is for those recovering from addiction.

New Method Wellness is a dual diagnosis treatment center that offers family therapy as well as a wide range of substance abuse treatment programs. Contact our helpful staff today to find out more about our holistic and evidence-based methods as well as how we support patients throughout the addiction recovery process.

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