While it may feel like addiction is one person’s problem, it is really a problem for everyone around her too. Not only do the consequences of addiction radiate outward to your friends and family, but dysfunctional relationships may also contribute to the development of addiction. Treatment for addiction can’t just focus on one thing. It has to be a holistic approach that addresses addictive behavior, treats co-occurring conditions, promotes general wellness, and builds positive relationships. Here’s why a quality treatment program should include family therapy.
Addiction is a family disease.
Addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The roots of addiction, anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges are often found in one’s early family life. Often, these dysfunctional patterns can persist indefinitely. If they are not addressed, much of the turbulence that led to addiction and mental illness in the first place will still be the same after treatment. Resolving, or at least improving some of these problems will make recovery easier. As noted above, the damage of addiction goes both ways. While dysfunctional family dynamics can contribute to addiction, addiction can, in turn make family relationships worse. It can be very difficult to live with an addicted loved one. Overcoming the hurt and disappointment caused by active addiction often takes work.
Codependency is a major risk factor for relapse.
This is especially true for women, who are more likely than men to start using drugs because of a partner. Codependent behavior is often a deeply ingrained pattern that many people aren’t even aware of. This is often learned in childhood, from watching the interaction of parents who may have struggled with addiction themselves. In a codependent relationship, one person typically enables the addictive behavior of the other. This pattern is destructive and the enabler often ends up with substance use issues too. If she leaves treatment and goes back to a codependent relationship, she will be at a higher risk of relapse.
Addiction affects kids.
Kids often learn from their parents’ behavior, good and bad. Having parents who struggle with addiction increases the children’s chances of having adverse childhood experiences, such as neglect, abuse, or witnessing violence. These increase the child’s risk of addiction later on. Addressing any trauma the children might have suffered as a result of their parent’s addiction is one way to prevent problems later on.
It’s hard to distinguish help from enabling.
It’s not always easy for families to know what recovering loved ones need from them. Participating in family therapy is a good way to set boundaries, improve communication, and learn how to be supportive. Among other things, they can learn how to support their loved one’s recovery without slipping into enabling behavior.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.