Addiction is very unique and complicated compared to most other diseases. While many diseases are either physical or psychological, addiction has attributes of both, affecting individuals on physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual levels. However, it wasn’t until relatively recently that we actually began to understand this very complex illness.
The recovery methods we utilize today are incredibly diverse, reflecting the varied and numerous ways that the disease affects those who become addicts. In effect, recovery is meant to be a very personable journey with individuals receiving treatments according to their specific needs and symptoms. Although millions of individuals have achieved long-lasting sobriety due to their participation in 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, addiction treatment programs at alcohol and drug rehabs allow for a much greater degree of customization and more variety in their methods and offerings.
When most people think about recovery, the association is often with counseling and psychotherapy. While individual counseling plays a central role in addiction recovery, there are many other types of treatments that play just as important of a part in the process of overcoming alcoholism and drug addiction. For instance, group-based counseling plays a vital role in most addiction treatment programs while family therapy is another common component. However, the notion of including family therapy in an addict’s recovery curriculum is often poorly understood as many individuals don’t realize how family therapy aids an addict’s recovery. Therefore, the following will explain what family therapy is, including describing the underlying belief on which family therapy is based, and describe the benefits of family therapy for the addict himself or herself.
How Family Therapy Is an Important Addiction Treatment
Where individual therapy takes place between a single patient and a single therapist, family therapy is a form of group counseling in which the group of patients are members of a single family. The basic tenet of family therapy is based on a rather simple concept, which states that any problem — whether it’s an injury, illness, disease, or any other type of hardship — that occurs to or affects one member of a family will also have some level of effect on the entire family unit. This refers to many different types of effect, including mental or emotional effects such as stress, financial effects, physical effects and so on. Therefore, family therapy is offered as part of substance abuse treatment because it addresses the various ways that one individual’s addiction affects his or her loved ones, which can be quite severe and even rival the effects the addict him or herself experiences.
How Family Therapy Helps the Addict
It’s easy to focus on the various ways that family therapy benefits the family unit as that’s the purpose of this form of treatment. Family therapy serves as a means of educating family members on addiction and recovery while helping them to restore effective communication. As one person’s addiction can compromise even the physical well-being of an entire family, family-based counseling is almost essential when it comes to recovery. However, the addict him or herself benefits from family therapy in a number of ways as well, making family therapy an important part of the addict’s achieving sustainable sobriety.
Overcoming Codependence & Enabling
Codependency is a major issue that can prolong an individual’s addiction. In short, codependency occurs when two individuals — typically family members or people in some other type of intimate relationship — are in a relationship in which both parties have developed an unhealthy level of dependence on one another. In cases of addiction, codependency usually means that the addict depends on a loved one to provide money, a place to live, and protection from legal repercussions relating to his or her substance abuse while the addict ensures that he or she won’t abandon or reject the loved one. This is also called enabling as the codependency enables the addict to continue his or her substance abuse.
Moreover, the loved one also serves as a buffer between the addict and the consequences of his or her actions, which allows the addict to continue to abuse alcohol or drugs while being free from having to deal with the negative outcomes of the behavior. As such, family therapy provides relatives with a way to identify and address codependency within the family unit, helping them to learn ways to overcome codependency and maintain healthy relationships with the addict as he or she progresses in recovery.
Addressing Unknown or Unrealized Issues
Family therapy is also the means with which many unknown issues, or issues that family members may not have realized were present, are made known and addressed. For instance, maybe the addict or even other members of a family have mental or emotional problems that might have had some negative effect on the addict’s substance abuse. This is also a way for each family member to learn how to express their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and beliefs in a respectful yet assertive way without defaulting to aggression. Alternately, there are also instances when an addict’s family members might be addicts themselves, which is another important issue to be addressed in family therapy as it would likely have had a major effect on the addict or even impede his or her recovery.
Peaceful Recovery Awaits — Call Drug Treatment Center Finder Today
A comprehensive recovery from addiction is like a clock with many independent yet interconnected parts, each of which depend on others to function properly. However, each addict’s “clock” is different from those of other addicts, requiring different components in order to provide all the skills and strategies one needs to achieve long-lasting recovery. If you or someone you know would benefit from learning more about recovery or the addiction treatments that are available, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today at 855-619-8070. Our recovery specialists are available day or night for free consultations and assessments. Don’t become another casualty of this treatable disease. Regain your health and independence with a single phone call.