ADDICTION & MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AFFECT THE WHOLE FAMILY
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence labels addiction a family disease because it affects the entire family system and the individuals who comprise it. Mental health issues and addiction put family members under stress, disrupt routines and cause unsettling or even traumatic experiences. In family therapy sessions, family members learn coping techniques for handling stressful or upsetting moments in ways that do not contribute to furthering the problem. It is important for families to develop healthy coping strategies to support the long term recovery of their loved ones who are struggling.
Family therapy decreases an individual’s chances of relapse, aids in the development and maintenance of positive behavioral and attitude changes, and promotes long-term recovery of the individual in substance abuse treatment. Therapy helps family members establish trust and encourage forgiveness for past behaviors. It also can provide peace and resolve conflict or feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness. Additionally, family therapy extinguishes the sense of ongoing crisis and encourages participants to let go of negative emotions.
Children in the household are particularly affected by addiction and the mental health of the people who surround them. Substance abuse in the home interrupts a child’s normal development and leads to a higher risk for physical, mental and emotional health problems. It is widely known that children of an addicted parent often have difficulties in school and are more likely than their peers to have a learning disability, skip school or be expelled. There is also a cycle that must be broken, as children of addicts are four times more likely than their counterparts to become addicted to alcohol or drugs themselves. At R Rehab our family therapy sessions include the children involved.
The therapeutic setting at R Rehab provides a safe space for everyone to learn how to adjust to a loved one’s recovery from addiction and mental illness. It is also a safe place to discuss enabling and codependency within the family unit. Family therapy sessions are designed to help family members make specific, positive changes to improve the home environment as well as heal relationships within the family unit.
Overall, family therapy allows families to set a clean slate and renew the loving relationships they once had.