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5 Reasons Family Therapy Should Be Part of Your Addiction Treatment Plan

by Portia

Addiction has been called a family disease because it affects the lives of all who are close to a chronic substance abuser. The families of addicts often struggle with co-dependency issues, as well as emotional and mental issues that can occur due to the addict’s behavior. If you’re struggling with addiction, your whole family needs treatment to recover from the effects of your substance abuse, and to help you recover from your substance abuse.

Whether you choose to attend a drug rehab in California or elsewhere, you need to make sure family therapy is a part of your treatment program. Even if the rehab you attend is far from home, your treatment team can take steps to bring your family into the treatment process from afar. Your family should begin receiving counseling while you are in inpatient care, and counseling should continue after you return home.

Family Therapy Helps Your Family Understand Addiction

For most people who love an addict, the most difficult part is watching their loved one destroy him or herself through substance abuse without understanding why. Family therapy can help your loved ones understand how and why addiction has influenced your behaviors so drastically and turned you into a person they don’t recognize.

Your family will need to understand the complex nature of this disease in order to be able to support you through treatment. Their new understanding of the mechanisms of addiction will help them understand what treatments are most beneficial and can help them continue to support you in the case of relapse or treatment difficulties.

Family Therapy Brings Your Whole Family Together to Support You

Recovering addicts need as much emotional and practical support as they can get in order to maintain sobriety. Research on family therapy has found family networks possess invaluable emotional and practical resources. Even extended family members or loved ones who live far away can help cover the costs of treatment, send an encouraging word or offer emotional support and understanding from afar.

Family Therapy Helps Your Loved Ones Recover from Co-Dependency

The families of addicts often struggle with co-dependency issues, which can include people-pleasing, low-self-esteem and poor boundaries. Co-dependency can cause communication problems, control issues and emotional troubles.

Co-dependency issues arise because the families of addicts often shield their loved ones from the consequences of their addictive behavior by taking over more and more of their responsibilities and making excuses for them to hide their addiction from others outside the family. The loved ones of an addict may also try to control their loved one’s behaviors. Your loved ones need to help to learn to set boundaries so you can move forward and build healthy, interdependent, rather than co-dependent, relationships.

Family Therapy Can Repair Your Relationships

Addiction can drive you to do some pretty horrible and hurtful things to those you love the most. You may lie, cheat, steal, shout, belittle or manipulate. Some substance abusers even lash out violently. Your loved ones may remain understandably hurt and mistrustful, and a few weeks in inpatient rehab may not be adequate to restore their confidence in you.

Family therapy can help heal old wounds, and restore the trust you and your loved ones need to have in one another in order to enjoy healthy, happy relationships. Family therapy can help you and your spouse or partner address any relationship issues that got pushed onto the back burner due to your addiction. It’s also beneficial for restoring the bond of trust between parents and children.

Family Therapy Protects Your Children

If you are a parent with a substance abuse disorder, there’s a good chance your children may grow up to become substance abusers as well. That’s because they’ve learned, by watching you, that drinking and using drugs is the best way to cope with stress and life problems. You’ve taught them that excessive drug and alcohol use is okay. Your addictive behaviors have probably inflicted emotional trauma on your children, and they may turn to substance abuse as adults in order to cope with that pain.

Family therapy can help your children learn healthy coping skills. You can also work on healing any emotional pain or trauma your children may have sustained due to your addiction. By getting sober and staying sober, you’ll teach your children that they can navigate life without substances.

If you’re suffering from addiction, your whole family needs help. Addiction warps and damages family relationships and your addictive behaviors can cause deep emotional wounds among those you love. Family therapy can heal those wounds and restore you all to happiness and health.

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