Addiction is a chronic, debilitating illness that has a profound impact on the brain. Those who struggle with addictions to drugs or alcohol sometimes say and do things that inflict emotional trauma on those they love the most. Family and friends (often unwillingly) watch their loved one transform and change in harmful, self-destructive ways. Due to the challenges family members often face when a friend or loved one struggles with addiction, rehab, family therapy, and support groups can be highly beneficial.

What Is Family Therapy in Addiction?

While in addiction treatment, various therapies are used to help individuals understand the causes of addictive behavior. Each type of therapy often has a different focus, with the end goal being to help the addict achieve sobriety. While individual therapy focuses on one person’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, family therapy focuses on the entire family’s relationships. Family therapy strives to understand and validate all family members’ experiences while bringing clarity to all relationships and repairing strained communication.

During treatment, a family therapist will explore with the family how substance use is embedded in a cycle of interaction within the family. Also, family therapists can educate about substance use for the whole family and support family members in reducing unhelpful behaviors such as enabling while increasing effective behaviors. Many researchers believe that family therapy helps repair the family relationship, assists with family behavioral change, and increases family engagement.

How Addiction Affects Families

Family members of a loved one struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol may feel alone and, in many cases, angry at themselves. Family members often feel as though they have failed as a parent, spouse, or friend and seek reassurance that they are not alone in their suffering. The negative behaviors of their friend or loved ones struggling with addiction flow outward in a capacity that heavily, and often irreversibly, affects their loved ones.

The role of a friend or family member can be exceedingly challenging. Since most addictive individuals are heavily steeped in denial, those who use it do not often understand the impact of their actions on themselves, much less those that they love. More prolonged substance abuse will deteriorate the health of a loved one and impair their mental function, physical health, finances, and psychological well-being.

A child with addicted parents or an addictive loved one living in the home often feels the impact of addictive behaviors the most. A child with addicted parents can be changed forever as they learned by hearing, seeing, reading, and through their environment. When a child watches an addicted adult in the home, they are curious about what they see, and their actions often mimic the behaviors they have witnessed. Children living with addicted parents are at a higher risk of developmental delays, and in many cases, their medical needs become neglected.

In a domestic partnership, substance abuse sometimes leads to issues such as physical and verbal conflicts. Some of the most common problems resulting from substance abuse by one or both spouses include financial difficulties, social embarrassment or shame, legal issues, and distrust. In the worst-case scenarios, the emotions that arise from addiction in the home can result in physical and verbal abuse, violence, harm, and even death. Parents of an addicted teen and other members of the family are not immune to the challenges that arise from watching an addicted loved one struggle with chronic drug or alcohol abuse.

Get Sober Today at Crosspointe Recovery

If one of your loved ones is suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, the best step you can take is getting them the help they need. If substance abuse continues, not only their lives but those of everyone in their family will suffer. Support for families of addicts is available. The first step is to begin your family’s recovery journey at Crosspointe Recovery today. Contact us today to learn more about how our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs in Sherman Oaks, California, can help your family member defeat addiction.

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