Addiction Therapy and Substance Abuse Treatment: The importance of family involvement

Prior to Substance Abuse Treatment/Intervention

Everyone’s family will be different and so should the way they approach addiction therapy. You may have counselors who specialize in working with families of drug or alcohol abusers. They can help with mediation, but your family could decide to speak to a friend or family member privately, without confrontation, to encourage them to enter treatment. It is vital to realize that family dynamics can be incredibly influential in the treatment of drug or alcohol abuse. The first step is to address an unhealthy imbalance in communications. The positive involvement of the family can help guide your loved one on their journey to recovery.

When a patient is in a substance abuse treatment program

In the event of an effective intervention, any individual who is suffering from a drug or alcohol abuse problem will likely be forced to enroll in an inpatient program or an outpatient program for substance abuse. The needs of each patient are unique, as is their financial situation. Inpatient and outpatient programs provide different benefits for the patients and families. Patients can attend classes near home and not be separated from family members. They also have the option to continue treatment longer. A residential (inpatient), or inpatient, program requires patients to travel to the facility for a detoxification and rehabilitation program lasting 28-30 days. In a residential (inpatient) program, patients travel to a facility where they undergo an intensive 28-30 day detoxification and recovery program. Family involvement is crucial, but inpatient addiction programs are often designed to encourage regular interaction between family members.

The needs of each patient vary. But inpatient drug abuse treatment is a great option for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. It removes them from the toxic environment that enabled their addiction. And it allows them to go through the addiction therapy process without being distracted. Inpatient substance abuse treatment also benefits the family and friends of patients. They gain new insight into their addiction and themselves. The family is involved periodically once the patient enters a treatment center. This helps them to recognize negative patterns and step back. Well-meaning friends and family can get caught up in an enabling cycle and become codependent with the patient before addiction therapy. Families often ignore the addiction of their loved ones by pretending that everything is fine. Family members can also become distant, angry and resentful because they fear angering their loved ones or worsening their addiction. Family members who are given the opportunity to step back and evaluate their behavior and surroundings while their loved one undergoes addiction therapy often find that certain traits and behaviors can be changed to help break the vicious cycle.

Residential substance abuse programs are not designed to isolate patients and their families. Quite the contrary. The focus of a residential treatment program for substance abuse is both on the mental and physical healing from addiction. Family involvement is important in the treatment of addiction. Families are vital to the recovery of an addict. They can provide support by visiting them during the day or at weekends.

Al Anon and Nar Anon are meetings that family members and friends of substance-abuse patients can attend outside the facility. Free programs, held across the United States to provide support groups for friends and family of alcohol and drug addicts. These meetings cover topics like: helping an alcoholic or drug addict to seek treatment for their problem, how to build a strong family by completing addiction therapy, or supporting your loved ones through recovery. They are vital for family participation, because they help friends and families during and following the drug abuse treatment programs.

Following a Substance Abuse Treatment Program

The addiction treatment process is not a simple “end”. The families of those who suffer from the drug and/or alcohol abuse of a loved one should attend Al Anon, Nar Anon, or both meetings on a frequent basis in order to maintain a positive program of education and support. Families who are involved in the treatment of drug or alcohol abuse should attend these meetings regularly, both during and after formal addiction therapy. While these meetings can help those who attend to better understand addiction and how to assist and support a loved one, they are also able to provide support for friends and family during an often difficult and stressful period. The friends and family members of someone who is addicted can stay away from the destructive cycle that involves enabling, codependency, and addiction therapy if they continue to attend Al Anon/Nar Anon.