Family & Marital Therapy
How Substance Abuse Affects Couples and Families
The effects of addiction are not limited to the person struggling with the disorder, they are felt by those closest to them. As a result of the increased stress that loved ones are under, they may develop unhealthy coping habits. Substance abuse has many negative impacts on a family struggling to deal with the addicted family member. These include the following unhealthy issues:
- Safety – other family members’ safety can become at risk from a substance abuser. This could be either spouses or children who feel they must get legal protection because of the harmful actions of their addicted loved one
- Negative emotions – the victim family members often suffer from resentment, anger, concern, anxiety, embarrassment, and guilt
- Responsibilities – some family members become saddled with inappropriate or an overabundance of responsibilities, leading to anxiety, overwhelmed feelings, or resent
- Boundaries – there are rarely enough boundaries or structure in homes where substance abuse exists. It leads to confused children and inappropriate behaviors. Enabling behaviors toward the addict often result and make the abuse worse
- Denial – parents often simply deny any issues exist when there are substance abuse problems
- Communication – limited positive interaction is replaced by negative communications. Other family members’ concerns, needs, and desires often become overlooked
- Relationships – the resulting damaged relationships of abusers often last for generations because of poor behavioral modeling. The abusers often limit contacts at home in favor of time with other substance abusers
Family and marital therapy is a vital component in addiction recovery in order to address these issues.
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What to Expect with Family and Marital Counseling
The good news is that family therapy has demonstrated positive results for such family struggles as child neglect and abuse, depression, and unemployment, per the National Institute of Drug Abuse. It can be more helpful at this stage than trying to go through marriage counseling. Here is what you can anticipate if you enroll in such family therapy:
- Family involvement – this generally begins after the addict has entered a treatment program and shown progress. It can start several weeks to months after treatment has begun. This would typically involve the recovering addict and member(s) of the family
- Behavioral changes – managing contingencies is a key part of the therapy, as is helping the member to create behavioral goals that will encourage sobriety and abstinence from the substances. It helps to heal broken relationships and resolve issues
- Life skills – counselors will help family members to gain and apply new life skills. It will improve the all-around home environment. Better communication will also be taught to help support the recovery of the addict
- The setting of goals – family member can set goals for their roles in the recovering family. These may be related to sibling relations with brothers and sisters, parental roles, and more. Rewards are given to family members for achieving them
Find Your Path to Sustainable Recovery.
Let AmHealth Help You Today
At AmHealth behavioral, we understand the importance of family involvement in treatment. In order to be the best possible support system to our clients, family members must be supported as well. Family and marital therapy provide helpful support for the individual in addiction treatment while improving the emotional health of the family unit as a whole. Contact us today for more information about regaining control of your life free from addiction.