Addiction fragments families like no other disorder. Many people see their loved ones becoming addicted as a loss of trust and a shattering of expectations. Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, some people may act more impulsively, be prone to depression, anxiety, or rage. These are all signs of serious chemical imbalances caused by Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). We’ve all done and said things we deeply regret under stress or frustration, but addiction can bring out the worst of those vulnerabilities.
Addiction keeps us in a self-conscious, self-loathing mindset, even when surrounded by loved ones who want nothing but the best for us. Even close-knit families can keep an icy distance when the people they love no longer act like themselves, which is why addiction can cause so much damage to a family’s harmony. Sometimes this damage can seem irreparable because of all the history and emotions behind it. Family therapy, however, can be a powerful tool to navigate these hurt emotions, and re-establish trust between spouses or families.
What is Family Therapy?
Family therapy seeks to understand the negative emotions between members of a family and to unpack those emotions healthily and productively. While addiction is ultimately the disorder of focus in rehab and recovery, the family relationships as a whole might be damaged in their own way. Addiction often stems from dysfunction, so it’s just as likely that a toxic family environment could have contributed to addiction, as addiction could have hurt a family’s relationships. There’s even data suggesting that the quality of a family’s relationship can have a greater impact than more socially-accepted explanations like peer pressure.
How Can Family Impact Addiction
“At least 1 in 10 children in the United States is born into a chemically dependent family”. Even when a parent or parents can break free from addiction, it’s not uncommon that the environment, the behaviors, and the mentality that made addiction possible can persist and have a strong influence on the child. Simply quitting a drug “cold-turkey” on your own, without any form of therapy or rehabilitation, can cause the risks of intergenerational dependency to persist.
There are several ways that an unhappy, stressful, restrictive, or downright toxic environment can impact the development of a child, or even an adult. It’s been known for years that happiness has a direct impact on addiction, suicide, and other mental health epidemics. Many Americans are doing their best to create a rich and rewarding home-life for their families, yet still finding that their children, their spouses, and even themselves are not happy. Unfortunately, no one has an instruction manual for life and child-rearing and maintaining healthy relationships, so we can only do our best. Sometimes, it’s just not possible to see where we can improve without someone from the outside looking in and guiding us along.
Why Family Therapy for Addiction
Family therapy is a process that can analyze the underlying tension in a family, and the different personalities, beliefs, and mindsets in the group can lead to different outcomes in health and addiction. Through therapy, many families can learn to not only heal the family as a whole, but to heal their past traumas, insecurities, and unhealthy mindsets. If you, or someone in your family, is suffering from addiction and you feel that family therapy might improve their quality of life, call us at (619) 639-7325 to learn more about our rehab and recovery in San Diego.