How To Deal With Addiction In The Family: A Helpful 10
Reviewed by Dr. Joseph N. Ranieris D.O.
New Jersey Drug & Alcohol Rehab / Addiction Treatment / How to Deal With Addiction in the Family: A Helpful 10-Step Guide
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In 2018, there was an estimated 5.8% of American adults were alcohol dependent or even experienced alcohol use challenges. More than an estimated 11.7% of Americans in the age range of 12 years or older reported engaging in illicit use in the prior month. The above-mentioned statistics draw a pretty vivid picture of how millions of individuals struggle with substance misuse and addiction.
Nearly all of these people have friends and family members rooting for their ultimate recovery. Families play a huge role in the individuals recovery process. This is why its crucial to understand how to deal with addiction in the family. Whether youre in one of the following categories, itll present to be imperative that you learn how to cope with an addict.
Stay In Touch With Personal Joy
Managing expectations is a little easier when individuals are responsible for their own bliss. That means every member of a recovering family needs to take time to do something thats relaxing and fulfilling. This could include:
- Playing an instrument
These activities and others like them can make the participant feel happy, preserve a sense of efficacy and worth, and help boost mental health.
For example, research has shown that knitting can be beneficial for psychological well-being, as people who knit experience feelings of calmness and happiness. A hobby such as knitting can serve as an effective form of stress relief for those coping with a loved ones addiction.
How Is Family Therapy Helpful In Addiction Recovery
As stated earlier, addiction is a family disease. Family therapy allows for all members of the family unit to be present and active in counseling and intervention. Family therapy may include one-on-one counseling to provide individual insights with the therapist in preparation of all the family members coming together in family therapy. Family therapy provides family members opportunities to share how its members have experienced each other and their feelings related to those experiences. During family therapy in the recovery process, relatives can learn if they have been helpful as they intended or unknowingly harmful in their loved ones addiction.
Family therapy includes relatives to provide insight to facilitate resolution. The end result can be closer relationships and resolved conflict.
Common Questions About Rehab
- Providing step-by-step methods for improving relationships
- Including holistic care to support growth
- Increased family connection
- Restructuring of dynamics
As a result of the above techniques, family members can reframe anger, pain, and other emotions and gain a deeper awareness of how to resume a healthy family function. Furthermore, family members can gain self-awareness and transform relationships with themselves and others.
Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.
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Seek Out Your Own Counseling
Are you struggling with your own thoughts or emotions while living with a current or recovering addict? Find a licensed therapist in your area that specializes in either family or drug and alcohol counseling. They can help you process these feelings so that you can experience greater peace at home and in other areas of your life.
What Should You Do In An Emergency
Does your loved one have any of the following symptoms? If so, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
- Lost consciousness after taking drugs.
- Became unconscious after drinking alcohol, especially if five or more drinks were consumed in a short period of time.
- Had been drinking and is seriously considering suicide.
- Has a history of heavy drinking and has severe withdrawal symptoms, such as confusion and severe trembling. Severe withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens , can cause death.
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Be Prepared To Help Your Drug Addicted Family Member When He Or She Is Ready
The time to research options is always now. Your drug addicted family member may not be ready for the help that you offer, but you want to be ready when they are.
Just remember that only the addict can decide when that time is. Unfortunately, its usually due to a life-altering event or circumstance arising out of their addiction. It doesnt mean that those addicted to drugs have to hit rock bottom, which has a different definition for every individual. Sometimes its simply waking up after a binge and just being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Nevertheless, most addicts in recovery can pinpoint that defining moment where they decided to get out of the mess they were in and make recovery a priority.
Meanwhile, you can contact addiction treatment centers in your area to inquire about treatment. You will get a sense for the treatment path and what it involves, as well as how to finance it. If the addict is under 26 and still on a parents health insurance policy, that can be one way to go. Or, you can consider private pay options such as paying a set amount each month, or looking at one lump sum payment if a partial scholarship is involved. Sometimes, you can find a facility that will handle the first initial phase of treatment detoxing from the addicts drug of choice for little to no cost through a non-profit facility, and then seek further treatment at treatment center that will help your addict learn about their addiction, develop coping and life skills.
Developing Strategies For Recovery
Many people think the person with the addiction is the only one that needs recovery. However, this is not necessarily true. The family members of an addict also need to recover. You may have had some traumatic experiences with your loved one when they were drinking or using drugs. It may be difficult for you to trust them again. However, with some recovery work and self-care, you may be able to have a good relationship with your family member eventually.
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Personal And Family Wellness
Addiction affects the entire family and can leave painful emotional scars in its wake. Family therapy sessions are structured to attend to the needs of each member of the family system. Emotional needs may arise, such as the desire to forgive, accept, or move on.
As family members begin discussing their personal needs, much of the guesswork is taken out of the equation. As each person builds their own emotional wellness, the familys overall health is improved. This can greatly ease the recovery journey for the person with a substance use disorder, as well as for their loved ones.
How To Support Someone With An Addiction
Dont try to help someone with an addiction on your own. Substance use disorder, the medical term for addiction, is a chronic disease. You wouldnt try to treat other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, without help.
You would want to learn as much as you can about the illness and urge your loved one to seek professional treatment. After the person visits the doctor, youd encourage him or her to make healthy lifestyle changes. Those are the same steps you should take to help someone with an addiction.
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What Is Family Therapy
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , family therapy, also known as family counseling, includes interventions that reflect family-level assessments, involvement, and approaches.6
Evidence suggests that people who have family support are more likely to remain in treatment, stop misusing substances, and stay sober.6 The importance of support applies to relationships of all types. For example, a study of couples who participated in behavioral couples therapy experienced improved levels of abstinence and better communication than the more typical individual-based therapy.7
Family involvement is important but its not for everyone. After dealing with a loved one with substance abuse for a long time, some family members might feel emotionally and psychologically drained, they may fear the unknown, or be wary of sharing family problems with a stranger. Regardless of the rationale, it might be helpful to enlist a family therapist to talk one-on-one with each family member about their concerns. Family members who want to participate in therapy can do so, while unwilling family members can join when they feel ready.8
Schedule Private Therapy Sessions
While lifestyle alterations can be a big help for families in crisis, addictions can cause deep wounds that often benefit from seeking professional help. Research has found that families of addicted people experience increased levels of depression and anxiety. Caregivers can feel worn out from everything theyre asked to do for their family member, and they may not have access to healthy coping skills. Siblings or children can feel forgotten or feel like they have to do better to make up for the addiction, leading to self-esteem issues.
Theres no judgment or blame here a private therapy session is a safe place for stressed family members to talk openly and work through issues.
Private sessions typically follow a skills-based format, in which caregivers learn more about how to deal with destructive thoughts and habits developed during years of addictive behavior. They might learn to meditate to handle stress, or they might work on assertiveness skills. They might do group work involving anger management, or they might learn how to let go of codependent behaviors so they wont feel responsible for the poor choices of others.
It takes time to go to personal therapy sessions, and theres often homework to complete between sessions. However, this time comes with a number of very real benefits. Family members who spend their time in these sessions may get the help they need in order to help others, and they may find the strength and resolve thats been missing until now.
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Find Support For Your Family Today
At Carolina Center for Recovery, we know that a patients success in recovery increases when their family is involved. As a family-owned and operated treatment facility in North Carolina, we understand the sleepless nights, the fiery arguments, and the general fear and frustration that family members of addicts experience on a daily basis. Thats why our mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment for families and their loved ones to heal from the devastating effects of addiction.
In addition to our family addiction therapy services, our family support program provides families with bi-weekly meetings where they can learn to understand addiction, set healthy boundaries, and cope with their difficulties. Whether youre seeking help for yourself, a loved one, or just need someone to listen our team is here for you. Give us a call today to see how we can help.
The High Toll Of Addiction
When you become physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, you cant maintain your wellbeing, let alone someone elses. Family members of addicts are at risk for a host of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, as well as physical symptoms, like headaches and digestive problems.
If all your energy is being channeled into caring for someone who struggles with addiction, it may be time to look inward and make sure your own mental health isnt being overlooked. Its okeven necessary, sometimesfor those close to those struggling with drug and alcoholto seek counseling for themselves.
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Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
What You Can Do To Help
Its terrifying to believe your child is using drugs, and difficult to know where to turn for help. If youve tried talking to your child and they deny there is a problem or refuse to seek treatment, talk to a professional for guidance. Addiction rehabilitation specialists are uniquely qualified to guide you and your loved one through the treatment and recovery process.
Seek counseling for yourself. Learn how to develop healthy boundaries, improve communication within your family, and how to help your child avoid relapse. Counseling provides you with the tools you need to promote healing within your family.
Our goal at Midwest Recovery Centers is to not only treat those with drug and alcohol dependence but to provide education, counseling, and support for families. Contact us today to start your familys recovery journey.
Taylor Brown, B.A.Com., MAADC IITim Coleman, M. of Ed.
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Learning About Addictions In Therapy For Family Members Of Addicts
Many family members of addicts dont truly understand the nature of addictions. That is normal and no reason to be ashamed. Understandably, you are hurt and upset by your family members addictive actions and lifestyle. However, you can heal and learn to understand their addiction better. You can also find out more about how addiction affects families and learn to cope with their addiction. During therapy for family members of addicts, you can find ways to better connect with and support your family member who has this addiction. Connecting and supporting one another can benefit you and your family member.
Types Of Family Therapy
Family therapy for substance abuse may take place in a variety of forms, such as:
- Group sessions at an addiction treatment center with other clients and their own family members in addition to your family
- Private family therapy sessions involving only family members and a therapist
- Family addiction education sessions at a drug rehab or elsewhere
- Twelve-step groups for loved ones of addicted people, such as Al-Anon
There are several family therapy models. Common ones include:
- Multidimensional family therapy Frequently used to help recovering teenagers, multidimensional therapy helps adolescents build stable and robust identities. Parents and guardians receive help with communication, parent-child relationships, and setting boundaries and limits.
- Cognitive behavioral family therapy It draws on cognitive behavioral therapy principles to address harmful behaviors and thought patterns in the family
- system. Family members learn to replace those negative patterns with positive actions that support their loved ones sobriety.
- Structural family therapy This therapy identifies and transforms unhelpful dynamics and rules in family dynamics. It places a strong emphasis on improving communication and setting boundaries.
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The Aim Of Family Therapy
We provide individual therapy and group therapy for those who struggle with addiction.
In addition to the achievement of sobriety and a restoration of health, one of our primary goals is to begin to heal and strengthen the family bond of our clients Our aim is to turn resentment and anger into love and understanding through Family Therapy.
Therapy for family of addicts is available at our Residential Locations in Ontario, at our Outpatient Clinic located in Toronto and in our Virtual Addiction Rehab program.
If you have any questions about Family Therapy Sessions, you can call us 24/7 by .
Living With An Addict Or Alcoholic: Benefits Of Individual And Family Counseling In Addiction Treatment And What To Expect
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that addiction is a family disease. This means that addiction does not merely affect the user but the entire family system surrounding the addict. Addiction often puts the entire family under tremendous stress, as many family members fear losing their loved one to the disease. As such, seeking healthy coping strategies for handling addiction can greatly benefit a family dealing with substance abuse.
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What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.
What Does It Mean That Addiction Is A Family Disease
While many family members want to be involved in the recovery process, some are taken aback at the notion that they require some form of treatment themselves. Family therapy as part of addiction treatment doesnt mandate that family members check themselves into a facility, but it does ask that family members participate in the recovery of the afflicted individual both for support and for themselves.
So how do alcoholism and addiction disrupt the family dynamic? To fully comprehend the breadth and scope of the impact, its important to understand the nature of that dynamic. The role each family member plays can depend on the number of individuals in the family unit, according to the publication Impact of Substance Abuse on Families, compiled by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration :
For example, the parent of small children may attempt to compensate for deficiencies that his or her substanceabusing spouse has developed as a consequence of that substance abuse. Frequently, children may act as surrogate spouses for the parent who abuses substances alternately, the aging parents of adults with substance use disorders may maintain inappropriately dependent relationships with their grown offspring, missing the necessary launching phase in their relationship, so vital to the maturational processes of all family members involved.
Some of those problems, according to a 2009 article in The Chicago Tribune , may include:
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