Who Can Attend Family Therapy
There are no set rules about who should be involved in family addiction counseling and who shouldnt. Traditionally, the immediate family attends, but family has lots of different meanings these days. In SAMHAs guide to family therapy for people with addiction, family is defined as a group of two or more people with close and enduring emotional ties.
What Does Psychology Say About Addiction
Generally, psychologists recognize two addiction models: the brain disease model and the behavioral model.
The brain disease model of addiction classifies addiction as a disease thats the result of altered brain structure and functions. Because of these abnormalities in the brain, the person becomes more easily addicted to substances or behaviors once theyve been exposed to them. According to the brain disease model, addiction is incurable.
The behavioral model of addiction considers addiction a compulsive disorder thats the result of learned behavior. According to this model, addiction is preventable and curable with the right therapies.
What About My Son Or Daughters Drug Problem
Parents of adolescents or teens with drug problems have often tried everything talking, fighting, consequences, rewards, more rules, less rules, behavior contracts, drug counseling the list goes on. Teens and young adults with substance abuse issues need family support to increase the possibility of successful treatment. We often say that there are no guarantees in the drug treatment world. However, we do know that family involvement dramatically improves the chances of success.
We place a premium on providing support for families of addicts. While it seems that support for the drug user is in no short supply, the family is often left wondering what to do.
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Seeking Help Outside The Home
For children who are trying to be their own caregivers or who are parenting their parents, it isnt always easy to find help outside the home. Children of addicted adults are often discouraged sometimes through outright intimidation or emotional manipulation from talking with other grownups about problems theyre experiencing. Parents with substance abuse issues may become angry or abusive if they feel that a child is betraying the family by exposing its secrets to a school counselor, teacher, doctor, or a friends parent. Many parents are also afraid of the very real possibility that if their substance abuse is exposed, they might lose legal custody of their children and face criminal charges.
To make matters worse, growing up in a home affected by substance abuse can damage a childs self-esteem, making it even more difficult to approach a sober adult or the authorities. This situation can lead to extreme anxiety, fear, and a profound sense of helplessness. The National Council of State Legislatures lists parental substance abuse as one of the most common reasons that children run away from home or become homeless. In addition, NCSL reports that 46 percent of underage runaways are the victims of physical abuse, and 38 percent are the victims of emotional abuse both of which are common in homes where an adult abuses alcohol or drugs.
Setting Clear Treatment Goals
Families dealing with addiction are stressed. Emotions run high, and they probably have for a long time. Its easy to lose sight of the main issue. Although the focus is on substance abuse, getting back to how it all started is crucial. Substance abuse is a symptom of a deeper problem. In family therapy, youll explore the root causes of substance use. Youll identify collective and personal goals. Your family therapist will keep you on track to reaching those goals.
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How Parents Enable Addiction
Although well-intentioned, parents who protect their children from the consequences of addictive behavior are reducing the incentive for the addicted person to change their behavior. By allowing children to avoid responsibility for their own actions, the addictive behavior is tacitly approved.
When parents do the following for their child, they are enabling addictive behavior:
- Lie or make excuses for their behavior to keep peace in the house, to keep them out of trouble, or to prevent others from thinking poorly of them
- Take care of responsibilities they should be attending to themselves
- Loan money or otherwise bail them out of financial trouble
- Blame the addiction on something or someone else divorce, illness, loneliness, the people they socialize with
- Fail to say no when an addicted child requests something the parent doesnt agree with
- Make threats or set boundaries, but fail to follow-through
Multiple studies support a higher risk of addiction in the children of an addicted parent. This can be especially problematic if the parent is an enabler. However, if the addicted parent is in recovery, and has a solid understanding of addiction, they are in a good position to help their child recover, rather than enable the behavior.
Educate Yourself About Drug And Alcohol Addiction
David Sheff, the author of the book Beautiful Boy, didnt know how to deal with his sons addiction. His son, Nik, used marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, and later struggled with meth addiction for many years. Nik refused to go to rehab for a long time, but when he finally agreed, David was relieved.
David thought the nightmare was over. His son went to rehab and was finally clean, hell stay sober, right? Unfortunately, David didnt understand how common relapse is, especially for meth users, and was shocked when his son went back to his previous behaviors.
David wished that he was more educated about addiction, and knew just how difficult it is for many to stay sober after participating in dangerous behaviors for years. More importantly, he wishes hed known what support strategies he could help with as a parent. Rehab is the beginning of a journey, not a fix in itself, and a good treatment program will involve the family to give them support techniques to increase the chances of a successful long-term recovery.
Many parents also dont understand that drug use is sometimes fueled by unresolved trauma. Unfortunately, its very common for victims of physical or sexual abuse, bullying, or other traumatic incidents to turn to drugs or alcohol when theyre older. Its very important that you offer support to your child if they have suffered from something traumatic, and encourage them to receive therapy for their addiction and for their unresolved trauma as well.
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What Do Parents Of Addicts Go Through
Parents of Addicts Experience Fear
For many reasons, parents of adult addicts worry intensely about their child. Between 1999 and 2019, roughly 841,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses. In 2020, overdose deaths reached a record high of over 93,000.
Drug misuse often leads to a range of short-term and long-term health problems, such as damage to the heart, brain, and liver. The psychological effects may include depression and aggressive, unpredictable behavior. Parents also fear the consequences for their childs life. They worry about their child losing relationships, getting fired, dropping out of an academic program, going into debt, or landing in jail.
Feelings of Anger and Betrayal
When confronted with their adult childs addiction, parents often feel angry at their child, at themselves, and at anyone involved in their childs drug use. For example, they may be furious with their childs friends or with a doctor who handed out a certain prescription.
Parents also feel devastated and betrayed by their childs behavior. In many cases, addicts lie to their loved ones. When trying to hide their addiction and pretend that everything is fine, they resort to dishonesty. Furthermore, addicts may steal from their parents to sustain a drug habit. They may borrow money on false pretenses or help themselves to money from a parents wallet or purse.
Effects of Grief
Shame and Guilt
Personal Neglect and Stress-Related Problems
Family Support And Programming
Addiction affects entire families, not just the individuals engaging in substance misuse. When seeking treatment, your family also needs healing and to learn how to support you in your journey. A family therapy program at Gateway provides the support and care your family, and you both need. This therapy also helps your loved ones know how to help you achieve your goals in recovery, so you feel supported along the way.
Your health insurance helps you pay for the family therapy, just as it supports other methods of treatment. Use your Meridian Health Drug Rehab Coverage Illinois or other health benefits at Gateway. Call Gateway for insurance verification and to learn what your policy supports.
Gateway Foundation Drug & Alcohol Treatment
Family & Addiction
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Addiction Treatment: What Families Need To Know
Reviewed by: Danny Taylor, addiction specialist and Caitlin Kingston, LCSWFact checked Jun 29, 2022
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , addiction affects an estimated 40% of Americans. Addiction is a compulsive reliance on a specific behavior or substance with difficulty controlling oneself. These substances can include alcohol, stimulants, opiates, and other drugs. If your loved one is battling addiction, there is hope. Addiction counseling and therapy can help them learn to break the cycle of abuse and teach them new, healthy coping mechanisms for grief, stress, and other triggers.
Read this article to better understand addiction, how its treated, and what resources are available so that you can best support your loved one.
We may receive commission if you decide to use counseling services through BetterHelp or other resources on our website.
Addiction Treatment: What Families Need to Know
Counseling For Parents Of Drug Addicts
Most experts agree that addiction is a family disease. When one family member is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the physical and emotional health of the entire family is negatively impacted. As words and actions of addicted loved ones hurt those closest to them, family members often respond with anger, fear, and resentment, weakening the family unit.
Counseling can provide the tools, skills, and resources needed to guide the addicted person to recovery and heal the family.
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What Programs Your Child Can Seek Help For Recovery And Addiction
If your child has realized they finally need to seek addiction treatment, or you need some help persuading them, give Shadow Mountain Recovery a call today. We have experienced staff that can help combat addiction to any drug, and we specialize in holistic treatment to treat the mind, body, and spirit.
If you or a loved one needs an individualized treatment plan to help with meth addiction, call Shadow Mountain Recovery today: 866-768-9790 or check out our options for residential treatment here.
Addiction Affects Everyone Not Just The Person Struggling With Substance Misuse Here Are 10 Tips That Can Help Family Members Cope With A Loved Ones Addiction
In 2019, about 5.3% percent of Americans aged 12 and older had an alcohol use disorder, the clinical term for an alcohol addiction. Furthermore, as of 2020, 13.5% of people aged 12 and older reported using an illegal drug within the past month.
These statistics represent millions of people struggling with substance misuse and addiction, and nearly all of these people have family members and friends rooting for their eventual recovery. Families play a large role in the recovery process, so it is important for spouses, siblings, parents, children, friends and others to understand how to help.
If youre a family member of someone struggling with addiction, you may have many questions and concerns, such as:
- How to deal with addiction
- How to support your loved one
- Finding support groups for families of individuals who live with addictions
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Helping The Addicted Parent: A Role Reversal
In a healthy parent-child relationship, the parent takes on the role of the caregiver, providing physical shelter, emotional support, and financial security for a young person who is still developing. In parent-child relationships that involve substance abuse, however, these roles are often reversed, and the child assumes the role of the caregiver. Many children are not even aware that they have taken on this responsibility.
Some of the duties of a child-parent are obvious, like helping an intoxicated father clean up after a night of heavy drinking or getting a part-time job to help cover the cost of groceries. But these responsibilities may also involve a level of emotional intimacy that exceeds the boundaries of a healthy parent-child relationship.
In all of these scenarios, the child is asked to assume a level of maturity that they may not be ready for. Addicted parents often infringe on the emotional boundaries that allow children to develop independently, turning the child into an expert caretaker who lacks social skills or a sense of personal identity.
Family Therapy For Drug Addiction
To begin the healing process for families affected by drug addiction, the drug abuser must first seek help for his or her addiction. Medically assisted drug detox programs and long-term drug rehab programs can help individuals overcome their addiction by providing life skills, behavioral therapy, relapse prevention strategies, and peer support.
Even still, addiction treatment for one person is not enough to initiate healing for all individuals in the family unit. Since addiction is a family disease, it must also be treated as such. Family therapy can help repair damaged relationships, teach healthy communication, and improve the home environment in a way that promotes long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
During family therapy, children and spouses of a loved one in treatment will also begin setting healthy boundaries and modifying enabling behaviors as their loved one learns how to manage stressful life situations and cope without the use of drugs and alcohol.
You and your loved ones are not alone in this struggle. Call Nova Recovery Center today to learn more about our Family Program or to enroll in our long-term drug rehab program.
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Tip #: Take Care Of Yourself
Focusing on your own life is the most important thing you can do to assist the addict. If you are stressed out due to their issues, in addition to your own, it creates resentment and strain. It makes it difficult to want to help someone who has created so much difficulty in your life. By taking care of yourself through exercising, getting plenty of sleep, socializing and getting support, you may be better able to help your loved one when they are ready to accept the help.
The most important thing to remember is that you arent alone. Many people battle with these issues every day and it is vital to get the resources and support you need.
Tip #: Get Counseling
It may be helpful to get some individual counseling to assist yourself. Counseling isnt just for the addict. The more you are able to manage the better you will be able to help your loved one. There are a variety of resources to find counselors. Your company may have an Employee Assistance Program or your health insurance may have mental health benefits that you can access. Talk to someone you trust about finding the resources you need and do a search for resources in your area.
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Parental Substance Abuse And Child Social And Emotional Functioning
Many children living in a home where there is an addiction develop into âparentified children.â This occurs when the caretaker is unable to meet the developmental needs of the child, and the child begins to parent themselves and perhaps younger siblings earlier than developmentally appropriate. In a phenomenon called âreversal of dependence needsâ the child actually begins to parent the parent.
Helping People Heal Begin Your Counseling Journey
A career as a substance abuse counselor requires compassion, empathy and determination. If youre interested in learning more about substance abuse and addiction counseling, explore Wake Forest Universitys online Master of Arts in Counseling program and discover how you can help people in your community heal and recover from addiction.
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Counseling For Families Of Drug Addicts Orlando
Counseling for families of drug addicts Orlando and understanding how vast the effects reach. There is a reason they call addiction a Family Disease. It affects each and every close person involved in the addicts life. We make the mistake as professionals in the medical and mental health field of solely focusing on the addict and often times skip over the fact that the family has gone through a very traumatic and upsetting event. One that will change their lives forever.
As a therapist, I am also a women in recovery who can say first hand that I had to watch the devastating effects it had on my parents, and all who loved and cared about me. At the time of my addiction I could have cared less. I thought it was my business and that they should leave me alone and stop prying into my life.
Dont Forget To Love Yourself
When you are all wrapped up in your loved ones substance addiction problem, its common to forget about yourself. Their needs often come before your own and a lot of the time parents will see this as an act of love or sacrifice but at the end of the day, you will suffer the most from this followed closely by your loved one. Think of it this way how can you help someone else if you cant help yourself?
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