With more than 24 million people age 12 and older suffering from substance dependency, families around the country are in great need of family addiction treatment. Families affected by addiction struggle not only with never ending worry but with emotional trauma and developmental behaviors that stem from loving an addict. parents of addicted children can neglect other children and their spouse, while children of addicts learn to take on the role of the addicted parents, and siblings begin to internalize emotions. Understanding addiction is important for families and so is finding support. Learning to talk about living in an addicted household and connecting with others who share that pain can be comforting as well as a learning experience. Most importantly, learning to deal with all the emotions in a healthy manner helps to heal and cope each day.
Having an addict in the family is often accompanied by hiding and lying, the family can feel betrayed and that the person they knew is no longer the same person, often prompting fear. What happens to one person’s in a family usually always affects the others. Violent and abusing behavior as a result of an addiction can put a severe strain on relationships and sometimes require that the affected member receive counseling as is often the case with adolescents.
Codependency is a maladaptive behavioral trait that quickly develops when their is an addict in the family. In families that are codependent, family members unwittingly change their lives in unhealthy ways to accommodate the life, choices and behaviors of the addicted person.
While a parent may attempt to make sure that the addicted person doesn’t fall behind on his bills, another may work hard to make sure that he doesn’t miss work or doesn’t feel bad about himself. While such care may appear positive, it isn’t offered voluntarily. Rather, it comes out of fear, anxiety and other distressing emotions.
Family members operating in such supportive roles tend to quickly adapt to identify themselves by them. While they may begin by disliking their role at first, they may quickly move to identifying themselves in those roles. Such adaptation can have the unhealthy effect of forcing the modification of healthy personal identity to one that unduly reflects the needs of others. Co-dependent spouses or parents may also provide a level of support to addiction sufferers that deepens the problem instead of benefiting their loved one.
Family members often experience emotional trauma over their loved one’s drug or alcohol abuse problem; they may suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression. They may feel angry and upset if their loved one has broken promises or exhibited profoundly negative behaviors while under the influence of an addictive substance. Family therapy can help families recover as a whole so that both the sufferer and their loved ones can move forward beyond the destruction that addiction caused.
The family members close to drug addicts often fulfill particular co-dependent roles that enable drug taking behavior. In order to overcome a drug addiction, it’s necessary to identify these roles and find alternative ways to relate. Common archetypal roles include the caretaker, the lost child, the scapegoat, the clown, the star hero, the mastermind, and the protected one. While not all of these roles are realized at any one time, family members often set up unhealthy dynamic relationships.
The basis of family addiction treatment is in treating the person addicted to a substance both individually and as a family. It is designed to be able to look and resolve areas such as depression, general family conduct, child mistreatment and unemployment. It requires that the person who is suffering from addiction be a part of the treatment as well as at least one other significant person such as a partner or parent.
Having an addict in the family influences everyone in the household and who cares about the addicted individual. Family addiction therapy can help with resolving issues that were created through the drug abuse, the family unit can be strengthened and restored to a functioning state. This is important to prevent relapse after initial treatment. Without knowing it, members of a family often enable the substance abusing behavior through their actions and such enabling behavior can be rectified during group family sessions. Each person’s issues can be brought to light and dealt with effectively with the help of a therapist.Through the family therapy approach of addiction treatment, relationships can be mended and long term recovery can be achieved.
Family therapy is designed to educate sufferers and families about the disease of addiction and provide them all with strategies for coping with the recovery process. Therapists can also help families understand the types of support that are beneficial for recovering addicts as well as those behaviors that are unhealthy in the context of addiction.
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