The Importance of Family Education in Recovery

When people struggle with addiction, their families are often the first to detect a problem. It is easy to forget that addiction affects more than one person. Loved ones can also feel the impact that addiction has on lives. While only one person gets treated for addiction, their families and support systems must become educated on what addiction and recovery feel like. Family education is the key to building a solid support system that will help people succeed in recovery. 

Understanding Addiction 

While many families are affected by addiction, they don’t often understand it. This misunderstanding can manifest in anger, blame, and other emotions that are not useful in recovery. Whether you are the child, sibling, parent, or spouse of a person with an addiction, learning about addiction and recovery can be healing for everyone affected. 

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic but treatable disease that involves the compulsive seeking and using of a particular substance. It is not a result of lacking willpower or bad decisions. Instead, it is an inability to stop using a specific substance, no matter the physical or psychological harm it does. 

When a person becomes addicted to a substance, their brain chemistry changes. These brain chemistry changes can begin to show up in their daily lives. 

What Causes Addiction

Addiction is a complex condition. There is no singular cause. Depending on the substance used, large surges of dopamine, or “the happy hormone,” is sent through the body after every use. Dopamine can cause a person to feel a state of euphoria that is then craved by the body after it is gone. Consistent use of a drug creates a cycle that is difficult to break. 

The drive to seek more satisfaction with the consistent use of a substance can alter your brain chemistry, making your body more and more dependent on the drug to feel pleasure. While individual use can contribute to addiction, there are a few factors that can also influence the development of an addiction. These include the following:

  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Pre-existing mental health conditions 

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Symptoms of addiction vary depending on the person, the substance, and other factors. A person close to the addicted person may notice these signs and become concerned. 

  • Loss of interest in activities they would otherwise enjoy
  • Trouble fulfilling responsibilities in their daily lives that were not previously an issue, such as problems at work or school.
  • Signs of withdrawal when they stop using
  • An inability to prevent substance use 

Family Involvement in Addiction Treatment 

Family relationships are often affected by addiction. When a person becomes addicted to a substance, it can change their lives dramatically, and the change can also affect their closest relationships. 

Family involvement in addiction treatment has been proven to be effective. Family involvement occurs when a treatment center welcomes and includes family members in treatment. It can be challenging for families to return to their routine after addiction treatment. This is why treatment centers will often facilitate these meetings. 

Involving family in this way can relieve some of the tension in the conversations. It can also teach loved ones how to maintain healthy boundaries as they support the recovery journey. Here are a few ways families can become involved in recovery. 

Family and Group Therapy 

Families learn about addiction and how it affects their loved ones in family and group therapy. As families gain more information, they learn to be more sympathetic and understanding of the situation. Family education is especially beneficial when a loved one returns home. After a sequence of facilitated conversations, they might find it easier to speak with each other without negative emotions. 

Additionally, through family therapy, loved ones learn how to be the best support system while they hold their family members accountable. They know how to listen and communicate. They also learn how to help their family members without enabling them.

Treating the Family Separately 

In some cases, family members are treated separately so they can come to terms with their loved one’s addiction. In individual treatment, family members are forced to confront their biases about addiction as they work to unlearn them. Through separated family therapy, families are encouraged to work on themselves so they can ultimately become better support. Here are a few things that a family member learns to do in family therapy.

  • Identify and intervene in crisis situations
  • Provide necessary information so their loved one’s medical team knows how to treat them best.
  • Advocate for the needs of their loved ones 
  • Helping their loved ones stick to their recovery plan

The role of the family is vital in recovery. Family involvement has a variety of benefits that will ultimately help a safe and successful recovery. 

Family Reunification

The strain of a broken family can be damaging and discouraging for a person in recovery. The goal of family reunification is to reconcile relationships that have been affected by addiction. This process can be challenging to do on your own. For this reason, trained professionals facilitate the meetings. In these meetings, families address tough issues and work to heal and grow with the hope of a mended relationship.

Ultimately, the role of a family in recovery can make or break how successful it is. It is essential that family members learn how to navigate and manage their own feelings about addiction so they can better support their loved ones. With proper education, this is more than possible. 

Get Your Family Involved at The Encino Detox Center

At The Encino Detox Center, we value family involvement and education. For this reason, we offer various family-centered services, including family therapy, family support groups, and family reunification. We will remain by your side every step of the way to ensure you have the best support. Learning how to navigate relationships can make a world of difference in recovery. That is why we are here to help. Contact our team now to verify your insurance and get started.

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