How is Family Therapy Used in Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is a disease. It is a chronic, debilitating illness that changes people in ways that are sometimes hard to reconcile. Alcohol and other drugs have a profound impact on the brain. Those who struggle with this disease sometimes say and do things that inflict emotional trauma on those they love the most. Often, those closest to individuals struggling with addiction suffer the most; for various reasons. Family members watch their loved ones transform and change in harmful, self-destructive ways. Because of this, family members can benefit significantly from family therapy and support groups offered at our luxury Malibu addiction treatment center.


What is Family Therapy?

Family members with a loved one struggling with substance abuse may feel alone and, in some cases, angry at themselves. They may also feel they failed as a parent or a spouse and seek reassurance in their suffering. Finding support for family members is essential to understanding a family member’s substance use disorder and easing anxieties and frustrations.


Addiction is sometimes called a family disease because one family member’s addiction ultimately affects the entire family. When family members attend therapy or support groups, it inevitably affects all family members. Family therapy and family support groups can be highly beneficial in helping the family heal from the dysfunction caused by drug and alcohol addiction. It also increases the chances that their loved one will choose to get help for their addiction and maintain sobriety and long-term recovery.


Why is Family Therapy Important?

There are no limits on which members of an addict’s circle feel the impacts of addiction. Family members, coworkers, and friends all witness the mind and bodies of their loved ones change. The home environment becomes toxic as moods change. Trust and communication are often compromised. Misunderstandings and arguments become the standard mode of communication.


With time, family members usually begin to display co-dependency symptoms due to seeking a coping mechanism for the unpredictable behavior of their loved ones. Often, family members do not realize they are enabling their loved ones when they intend to help them.

Addiction ruins relationships, but families are vital resources for those struggling with addiction.  


Despite their best intentions, many people enable or unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) stigmatize substance abuse. Family members tend to focus their attention (and support) on the person with the addiction, and they often forget to support one another. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, having supportive relationships is one of the four essential pillars of recovery. Therefore, friends and family members often need counseling, therapy, and peer support to learn how to cope with the emotional problems caused by their loved one’s addiction.


How is Family Therapy Used in Addiction Treatment?

While individual therapy focuses on one person’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, family therapy focuses on the entire family’s relationships. Family therapy aims to understand and validate all family members’ experiences while bringing clarity to all relationships and repairing strained communication. A family therapist will explore 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. Family therapy groups can support family members by teaching them how to reduce 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 improves family engagement. Family therapy can occur in different settings, including addiction treatment centers like Rise in Malibu.


How to Find Family Therapy Treatment in Malibu

Helping somebody with an addiction involves setting clear boundaries, enforcing rules, and providing love. Family members can help their loved ones by helping them find support groups, attend medical appointments, or seek treatment. But, convincing your loved one to go to rehab is only part of the battle. The next step is to find the appropriate evidence-based program with the proper programs to suit their needs and where you as a family member can get the help you need as well.


At Rise in Malibu, we understand the essential role that family plays in long-term recovery, and we work to ensure family members have access to the vital help they need as well. Don’t let addiction control your family for another day. Contact our admissions team to learn more about family therapy programs at our Malibu, California rehab.

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