While an addiction may appear to be a problem that primarily affects the person suffering from the addiction, the addict’s family can actually contribute to the problem either intentionally or unintentionally. Addiction recovery often involves family addiction treatment, including therapy concerning familial roles regarding an individual’s addiction.
Family addiction treatment can be highly beneficial to the long-term success of an addicted person’s treatment. Family addiction counseling can be provided through a rehabilitation center before, during, and after a patient’s treatment progress.
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A person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol affects other family members in multiple ways. Not only do family members experience a wide range of emotions in regard to behaviors, but family members also take on key roles that often serve to enable addiction.
When a person struggles with addiction, complex roles arise within the addict’s family. Parents, siblings, the addict’s spouse or significant other, along with children are all directly affected by a person’s addiction in varying ways.
Treatment for the addict and the addict’s family can prevent other family members from developing an issue with substance abuse, provide insight as to how family members contribute to addiction and explore how the addict’s family can provide support during the recovery process.
Additionally, it is very common for family members to struggle with emotional and psychological issues resulting from years of coping with a loved one’s dependency on drugs or alcohol. This can include co-dependency, among other issues.
While the addict is dependent on family members during addiction, family members are also dependent on the addict, which is referred to as co-dependency. This type of relationship is unhealthy and can only exist when there are issues relating to control, boundaries or denial.
In situations regarding addiction, it is common for one family member to take on the role of caretaker to the addict. In some cases, the caretaker role can even be adopted by a child, which leads to emotional scarring. Other co-dependent roles include those of a rescuer or supporter. While it may seem this type of “help” is needed, it is actually fulfilling an emotional need for the family member.
During couples or family addiction treatment therapy, many different types of behavioral therapy may be employed. For instance, therapy normally addresses any denial that may exist in regard to addiction and co-dependency roles. It is common for family members and the person struggling with addiction to express anger or sorrow when confronted with these issues.
Additionally, problems with past and current psychological issues, along with any abuse or negative feelings are also addressed. Family therapy also builds familial bonds through the positive guided exchange and acknowledgement of feelings, while guiding the addict’s family concerning how to support themselves and their loved one through the rehabilitation process.
Following the initial detoxification and rehabilitation process, aftercare is vital for the continued success of all parties, including the addict and family members. Aftercare generally involves therapy for the addict in one or more forms, along with therapy for the addict’s family.
Not only does continued family addiction treatment therapy help keep the addict from relapse by allowing negative emotions to be dealt with before they lead to addiction, but this also allows family members to identify and stop co-dependent behaviors before they become detrimental to recovery.
Additionally, continued family addiction treatment therapy allows family members to understand addiction more fully, which is vital to the addict’s long-term success. By understanding the struggles, behaviors and psychological process that an addict goes through, family members can recognize these issues and assist the addict when this occurs.
Common Familial Problems in Addiction
Family members of a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can experience a wide array of problems that may require therapy, such as:
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