Addiction is incredibly powerful, and it takes a psychological toll as well as a physical one. It’s vital for people struggling with substance abuse to address the root of their addiction, which is often found in behavioral health problems or environmental influences. With the right treatment and reliable support, overcoming addiction is possible. A crucial component of addiction therapy is family counseling.
Through family counseling, family members of those with substance dependency can understand the importance of putting away their egos and criticisms, learning helpful strategies, and encouraging a family member struggling with addiction. Every individual needs a support system. Family counseling offers a way for families to change with their loved one. Blame and anger are often replaced with care and compassion.
Patterns of Addiction
Addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum; there are contributing factors that a family member might understand. Brothers, sisters, and parents will likely be more perceptive about what led their loved one down the path to addiction than the actual person who is struggling. Unfortunately, family members may be unwitting accomplices. In fact, young adults across the country who are addicted today got their first dose from a parent’s medicine cabinet.
Family members may also be stumbling blocks to recovery. It’s painful to see someone you love struggle, and many family members unintentionally enable those with addictions. Enabling is the act of shielding someone from the full consequences of their actions. Parents and loved ones want to protect a family member battling addiction, but they may need to learn ways to help without enabling. A family counselor can see these patterns of behavior and teach the family to respond differently to their loved one with substance abuse issues.
The Legacy of Behavioral Health Issues
Individuals who struggle with behavioral health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder tend to have a much more difficult time recovering from substance abuse. They are likely using drugs to self-medicate from issues they don’t even know they have. This is another area where family counseling can be extremely impactful. It can be impossible to see certain flags about yourself, whether that’s struggles with a violent past or some underlying mental issue – but a family member may offer valuable insight into what’s driving the addiction.
Some issues, like mental health problems, may be genetic. The family might have more compassion for their loved one when they see similarities in behavior. Circumstances may have led one person in the family to addiction and another to a medical professional – in either instance, family counseling helps people come to grips with that eventuality and strategize together for the future.
Family members can see how addiction affects individuals physically and mentally, and once a person grows accustomed to treating psychological distress with drugs, breaking the dependency will hinge on addressing the source of the distress. When it’s dealt with as a family, everyone can be part of the solution.
Chemical imbalances, past experiences, or family problems can all contribute to an individual’s need to “escape” through drug use. Counseling can help both the person suffering from addiction and his or her family understands this mental drive.
How Counseling Helps Curb Addiction
Counseling is a valuable part of the recovery process because it can help an addicted individual discern the patterns and influences in his or her life that may be enabling drug abuse. It’s important to acknowledge these influences, and when the family plays a constructive role in counseling, it can help resolve familial tensions as well.
Some family members may react negatively to the news that a loved one has a substance abuse problem, and it’s vital that other family members encourage diplomacy and open-mindedness. Parents are often the most deeply affected by the news that a child has a drug addiction, but they are also the most likely to wind up enabling the person who is dependent on drugs.
The Family’s Role
Family members must be willing to speak openly about their loved ones’ substance abuse issues. There is a spectrum of reactions — some may hesitate to acknowledge such a problem, some attempt to downplay the seriousness of an addiction, and others may even opt out of discussion entirely. While some personalities may present roadblocks, it’s important for the family members to be willing to offer constructive support without becoming enablers. Without a family counselor, that can be extremely difficult. Most enablers truly have the best interest of their loved ones in mind – a counselor who has access to the family can help that happen.
When family members are open to honest discussion and supporting their loved one through the recovery process, ongoing family counseling will benefit more than just the person struggling with addiction. In some cases, old resentments and past grudges can be put aside and bring a family closer. Having a safe place to recover with the support of loved ones is essential to the recovery process, and family counselors ensure that happens.
Counseling Is a Valuable Part of the Recovery!
Learn More About the Family Roles When It Comes to Interventions!