You likely already understand that addiction can cause problems within the family unit. When a person is addicted to alcohol or drugs, the whole family can suffer. This is even truer if the addict is a parent. A side effect of addiction is lying, stealing, and manipulative behavior, all of which can be extremely painful to the family unit. Because of the damage an addicted parent can do to their family, many rehabs incorporate family therapy into the schedule so that family members have the chance to get the help they also need.
If you are wondering if family therapy through drug rehab centers can keep your kids from being scarred by your addiction, we have some valuable information to give you.
How does addiction affect the family unit?
Addiction to drugs or alcohol can very negatively affect children who are subjected to the behavior of an addict. While it will depend on the severity of the illness, children of addicts are usually confused, scared, embarrassed, and frustrated with their parent. They may feel ashamed of their parent but yet guilty for feeling that way. Many children, especially younger ones, will not understand why their parent needs to drink. They often feel as if they are the reason their parent is an alcoholic or drug addict.
For some families, alcoholism and drug addiction can cause a role reversal. All of a sudden, the child is responsible for a parent who isn’t able to function because of drug or alcohol use. They may need to take over common parental roles, such as cooking and cleaning. Older children may have to take care of their younger siblings because their parents are no longer able to properly.
Even in less dramatic cases, addiction can leave children of all ages scarred for years to come. Children of addicts often grow up to be addicts themselves. This is just one reason why family therapy is a crucial part of rehab for patients with kids. Therapists strongly encourage family members to take part in treatment as much as they are able and willing to.
The benefits of family therapy
Research has proven that family therapy during treatment has a positive impact on both the addict and their loved ones, including children. There are many benefits of family therapy, including:
• Learning how rehab works and understanding what will happen when it is over
• Talking together about how addiction has hurt the family unit
• Giving children a safe place to express their emotions
• Keeping the parent motivated while they are in treatment
• Allowing family members to voice their feelings in a safe, monitored setting
• Providing children the skills they need to function with a recovering addict
• Improving the way a family communicates with one another
Treatment centers typically ask that family members limit contact with their parent or loved one for a week or two, especially during the detox stage. However, family visits and therapy are then encouraged. Most treatment centers offer days for families to visit, usually on the weekends. There will also be family therapy sessions that will help children move forward in a positive way.
What to expect in therapy
Here’s what you can expect when you are involved in family therapy.
Behavioral Changes-Your therapist will help you recognize the behaviors that contribute to addiction and will help you reroute those behaviors into a more positive outlook.
Life Skills-During family therapy, a therapist will help all of the family members learn new life skills. This allows family members to interact better with one another when they are living together again at home.
Communication- Communication is very important for addicts and their families. Family therapy will help parents and children learn how to communicate with one another one-on-one while in a safe environment. These new skills can then be used when the parent leaves treatment.
Goal Setting- Family members will be asked to set realistic goals for the future. For example, parents will be asked to set a goal that is related to being a parent, such as cooking regularly for their children. Children may be asked what they would like to see when their parent comes home, which gives their parent time to work on their suggestion.
Treatment in Our Facility
We’re ready to provide you or a loved one with the right treatment today. We know that addiction affects the entire family. We push to treat the entire family unit and not just the addict. Call us today to learn how we can treat both an addict and their family together. Reach us at 833-364-0736.