Battling an addiction can be a struggle for the individual experiencing the substance abuse problem, but it can also be hard on their family. Addiction is considered to be a family disease. Unfortunately addiction affects almost anyone who is involved with the addict.

Family therapy is an important way to mend relationships with the ones you love who have also struggled throughout your substance abuse disorder. Family therapy is a time for families to heal. Here at Atlanta Recovery Place, we want to provide information about addiction and how families can be affected. Within this article, we describe how an addiction affects the family, why it’s important for families to get therapy when one is in need of addiction treatment, and how we can help at Atlanta Recovery Place! 

Does Addiction Affect the Entire Family? 

Addiction can and does affect a family, and these effects may extend beyond past the nuclear family. Friends, co-workers, and significant others can all be affected by someone’s addiction. When having an addict member of the family, Some of the other family members may experience feelings of guilt, abandonment, fear, anxiety, anger, concern, and embarrassment. Other family members may even wish to ignore or cut off the family member(s) who is an addict. The effects of substance abuse and addiction can continue to have a negative impact for generations if not treated. The intergenerational effects of addiction on family and friends include a negative impact on role modeling, trust, and conceptions of normative behavior. 

People who are suffering from a substance abuse disorder or addiction may find themselves to become increasingly isolated from their families and may even prefer to not associate with them all together. There are several characteristic patterns of interaction that may be present in a family who either has parents or children who are abusing alcohol or illicit drugs. These characteristic patterns of interaction include:

  •  Negativism –  Communication that occurs among family members that are negative. This includes complaints, criticism, or other expressions of displeasure. In short, the overall mood within the house would be considered down beat. This negativity may even reinforce substance abuse.
  • Parental inconsistency –  Rule-setting may be erratic, enforcement may be inconsistent, and the family structure may be inadequate. This causes children to become confused when they can’t figure out if their boundaries are right or wrong and as a result, this may reinforce the wrong behavior.
  • Parental denial –  Parents may avoid the warning signs when their child is experiencing a substance abuse disorder. They may even say things such as that they don’t see a drug problem or that their child does not have a drug problem when someone confronts them about it.
  • Miscarried expression of anger – Children and/or parents who resent their emotionally deprived home may repress their anger. To manage that anger they abuse drugs/alcohol instead.
  • Self-medication –  A family member will use drugs/alcohol in order to cope with certain things such as intolerable thoughts or feelings. They may even use it to medicate for mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

Why It’s Important for Families to Undergo Therapy When One Person Is in Addiction Treatment

It’s important for families to undergo therapy when one of its members suffer from addiction because family work has become a strong and central theme in many successful treatment approaches. The family plays a role in helping the addicted individual overcome their addiction. It’s important to understand that families play a complex role in substance abuse treatment and that they can be a source of help to the treatment process. 

Family therapy within addiction treatment has two main purposes. The first is that it seeks to use the family’s strengths and resources to help find ways to live without the substances of abuse. The second is that it dissipates the impact of chemical dependency on the addicted individual and on the family. Not only does family therapy help the addicted individual but it also helps the family grow within their relationship. One of the major goals of family therapy when it comes to substance abuse treatment is prevention, especially when preventing substance abuse from transferring from generation to generation. 

How Atlanta Recovery Place Can Help

Here at Atlanta Recovery Place, we provide a family-oriented approach to unify and bring families together through addiction. We work with your loved ones to repair the relationships that matter to you. We want to help our clients in many different ways including tailoring their treatment program to their specific needs, providing the best healthcare experts, family healing, and developing lifelong lasting friendships through recovery. Reach out to us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs! 

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