Addiction is a family disease that can stress a family to its breaking point, affect the stability of the home, the family's unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics. Living with addiction can put family members under unusual stress. Normal routines are constantly interrupted by unexpected or even frightening kinds of experiences that are part of living with drug use. What is being said often does not match up with what family members sense, feel beneath the surface or see right in front of their eyes. The alcohol or drug user as well as family members may bend, manipulate or deny reality in their attempt to maintain a family order that they experience as gradually slipping away. The entire system becomes absorbed by a problem that is slowly spinning out of control. Without help, active addiction can totally disrupt family life and cause harmful effects that can last a lifetime.
Support groups in the community such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are available for the friends and family of people suffering from addiction (alcohol and drugs, respectively). While these support services are important for making connections with others who may be trying to navigate day-to-day life with addiction in the family, so is seeking professional therapy. Individual therapy for each family member, not just the person afflicted with a substance use disorder, is important for the mental health of all involved. Meeting with a counselor as a family can help improve communication among family members, rebalance the family dynamic and give family members a safe environment to express their anger, fear and other concerns.
Family counseling may also be helpful in preventing the children of those afflicted with a substance use disorder from succumbing to the disease themselves. Raise the Bottom Addiction Treatment offers family counseling and strongly recommends that families participate in the recovery process, please discuss your options with your counselor.
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