A person who is struggling with addiction and is trying to recover may consider a variety of approaches for overcoming alcoholism or drug addiction. The first step is to detox, or rid the body of the misused substance. This is often done under a doctor’s care. Following the completion of this goal, the next step is to select a recovery plan that will address many facets of the addiction process. One type of treatment involves family therapy, which for people in a recovery program can be extremely important in the following ways.

Genetic sources

Experts believe that having an alcoholic parent puts a person at fifty percent risk of developing the same or a similar addiction. With two parents struggling with addiction disorders, the person’s risk increases substantially. Even having a grandparent with a substance abuse problem can give a grandchild a twenty-five percent risk of developing an addiction. Family therapy helps a person to explore and understand the causes of relatives’ addictions, and it may be able to suggest ways of dealing with common triggers or behaviors that often lead to alcoholism or substance abuse.

Childhood issues

Growing up, most of us experience varying degrees of stress and dysfunction. However, some people experience significant levels of childhood trauma that sometimes contributes to the development of substance abuse issues in during the teen years or in adulthood. A family therapist can discuss childhood triggers that might predispose someone toward addictive behavior, and then recommend ways of avoiding or dealing with potential triggers. Occasionally, other family members may be invited to participate in the therapy sessions to provide context or to share their perspectives on prior family issues that may have contributed to an addiction problem.

Relationship problems

People who struggle with substance abuse frequently find themselves in difficult relationships or lacking the ability to sustain a meaningful and healthy relationship. Although many if not most couples sometimes experience problems, therapy can help them recognize and deal with relationship problems that may stem from substance abuse behavior or from the triggers that lead to substance abuse. Typically, these include finances, health, child raising, family duties, and related matters. Again, while many couples face these difficulties, a family member who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may compound problems like these by utilizing family resources like time and money to support the addiction, denial of a serious problem, health concerns that may interfere with spousal or family expectations, Also, if the relationship partner does not understand the dynamics of substance abuse, a family therapist may be able to explain the process as well as coach the partner on how to deal with the situation by preventing triggers and standing firm on agreed-upon principles.

Family dynamics

Family Therapy is also able to help those struggling with substance abuse to become aware of other family dynamics that may play a part in the addiction problem. For example, a family member with special needs, such as a developmentally disabled child or an elderly parent living in the home, can increase the need for family stability while adding more stress to a situation that is already under pressure. Mental illness in an addict or a loved one often complicates substance abuse treatment. It is not uncommon for an addict to also be battling problems like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, to name a few. An unruly child or an uncontrolled household budget can make a difficult situation even worse. These and other issues can be addressed with the help of a professional therapist so that the situation becomes more manageable and less chaotic.The path of recovery begins with the decision to detox and continues through the challenges of a treatment plan. Each plan should be tailored to an individual’s needs, since everyone is different, and each situation is unique. With the help of a professional and licensed family therapy expert, people who are struggling to overcome a substance abuse lifestyle can often find answers to difficult questions and a reliable source of valuable information for a successful recovery journey. A commitment to change and the willingness to participate in therapy may be the elusive key to defeating an addiction and obtaining renewed health for body and mind.

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