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The Role of a Family in Substance Abuse Treatment
Families have long played a pivotal role in the treatment of all kinds of health problems, and substance abuse treatment is no exception to this rule. One of the primary challenges most family abuse treatment centers have to address is broadening the focus from the individual to the family as a whole. This helps bring everyone into the equation instead of them having to watch their family member suffer.
Relationships are Complex
When you bring a family into a disease-type situation, especially one that involves substance abuse, there are many different things that must be addressed. For starters, it creates a level of complexity that may not be found in simply dealing directly with a person addicted to the substance. However, it is important to remember that substance abuse is a disease, and having the love and support of their family can make a huge difference in an addict's ability to progress toward being clean and sober.
Families Can Provide Support
The reality is, all families want to help if a loved one is addicted to some kind of substance. This is an excellent place to start because they can then be brought into the complex role they must play in a substance abuse treatment plan. We are referring to the fact that family can be a source of help during the treatment process; however, they also have to learn to manage the consequences of the addict's behavior. Addicts put a great deal of stress and strain on their family members, who are concerned about the addict's substance abuse problems. At the same time, family members also have to deal with their own personal and interpersonal issues. Sometimes these issues overlap and override the addict's needs. While putting the addict's needs second may not have too many consequences in the mind of the family member, this, unfortunately, reduces the effectiveness of family support in substance abuse treatment. However, a family can easily overcome these with mutual understanding, flexibility, and ensuring that they make the right adjustments so the addict has the support they desperately need.
While family influence is critical to the addict's success in kicking the habit, it is also important to remember that the goals of overcoming addiction are extremely individualized and focused mainly on the patient themselves. This reduces the opportunity to include the family's perspective on goal setting, but with the right level of understanding, the whole family can help improve treatment effectiveness. The most important thing to know if you are a family member of a person struggling with addiction is that love, support, and understanding are key elements to help them overcome this disease. Our job is to make sure the addicts have the tools and techniques they need to recover. A family member's job is to help keep the addict responsible, have them be accountable, show a deep understanding, and be extremely flexible with the changes that will occur in their lifestyle.
If you are an addict or concerned about one, call our office to discuss treatment programs in further detail.
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