Family Therapy for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse treatment and family therapy are considered to be vital to the enhancement of addiction recovery for the individual, as well as to promote overall family recovery from the effects of chemical dependency on individual members. The effects of substance abuse in families often include denial, self-blame, guilt, a sense of failure, enabling behaviors, codependency, anxiety, depression, repressed feelings, stress-related illnesses, and more. Addiction is therefore considered a family disease that impacts all parties involved, which is why the entire family unit must have the opportunity to come together and heal. Our Clearbrook rehab in Pennsylvania offers family therapy for substance abuse that can aid in a loved one’s recovery and support healing within your family.

How Does Substance Abuse Affect Families?

While battling a substance use disorder is often seen as an individual struggle, one person’s drug or alcohol abuse can have a major effect on their spouse, children, and parents. The effects of substance abuse can also range from short to long-term.

Peaceful and loving homes can easily be divided by the strain caused by addiction, allowing conflict, stress, and distrust – among other issues – to become the norm. Generally, common effects of substance abuse on families include:

  • Anxiety
  • Arguing and conflict
  • Codependency
  • Depression
  • Distrust
  • Enabling behaviors
  • Guilt
  • Lying
  • Self-blame
  • Stealing
  • Stress-related illness

In addition to various stressors and situations, family members may also adopt certain roles or positions within their homes to cope with the addicted individual. These family roles in addiction are:

  • The Enabler/Caretaker: This person often covers up the addict’s problems and makes excuses for their behavior to keep the rest of the family happy.
  • The Scapegoat: This person is also referred to as the “problem child.” This individual provokes negative attention through acts of defiance or hostility toward other members to distract from the addict’s behavior.
  • The Hero: Similar to the caretaker, the hero devotes their time to covering up the addict’s mistakes to maintain the appearance of normalcy. The hero will do whatever they can to restore the dysfunctional family unit behind closed doors. This individual is typically portrayed as over-responsible, self-sufficient, and a perfectionist.
  • The Mascot: The mascot is known as the comedian of the group. They try to lessen the stress caused by the addict with humor or silliness. Otherwise, they feel powerless about the individual’s addiction and aim to prevent any family unpleasantness through their antics.
  • The Lost Child: This is usually the quiet member of the family who flies under the radar while everyone else plays their roles. The lost child stays out of the way and eventually avoids interacting with the family entirely.

In addition to the addict, who’s the focal point of the family, these other members may adopt one or several roles, depending on the size of the family. Addiction often causes families to make changes to cope with their loved one’s drug or alcohol problems, and usually, these changes aren’t healthy. Our drug rehab in Pennsylvania believes in offering support for families of addicts as part of our addiction services to ensure that we help both the patient and their loved ones recover.

How Family Therapy for Substance Abuse Works

Our support groups for families of addicts in Clearbrook Pennsylvania are held in both individual and group settings and offered three weekends a month. The program also incorporates the Al-Anon 12 steps to provide a framework through which families can address compulsive, enabling, and codependent behavior.

Our therapists use exercises like role-playing and talk therapy to teach family members about addictive behaviors and how to properly cope with them to improve the family’s overall communication. At the end of this program, families should have a complete understanding of the individual’s disorder and the ways they can help their loved one in recovery.

Finding Support for Loved Ones of Addicts

Families of addicts are encouraged to take advantage of the Clearbrook Family Program during a loved one’s stay at our residential rehab center. This program allows each member to discuss their feelings and emotions and how the addiction has personally affected them during therapy. Each member can also learn about the enabling behaviors they may have exhibited so they can properly handle addictive behaviors in the future.

Furthermore, patients will greatly benefit from proper support and accountability from their loved ones. Once treatment is completed, the recovering individual will transition back into everyday life with the support and resources needed for a successful recovery journey.

For more information about our addiction treatment in Pennsylvania and other addiction therapy programs, contact Clearbrook Treatment Centers today.

Related Reading:

How to Reconnect With Family After Addiction

Why a Family Program for Addiction Is Important