Common Ways Addiction Impacts Families – Why Group Therapy Helps: When people become addicted to alcohol or drugs, the substance abuse not only negatively affects the individual. It also impacts their family.
Thankfully, treatments like group therapy can assist addicts in recovery. But before we look at that, let us explore some of the most common ways in which addiction impacts families.
The Emotional Impact
Addiction can wreak emotional havoc within a family unit. Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety often bubble up, causing immense strain. Fear for the addicted person’s well-being, anger at their behaviour, and a deep sense of loss are all too common.
Another way addiction impacts families lies in the erosion of trust. When an individual is constantly lying or stealing to sustain their addiction, it can lead family members to lose faith in them. As this trust crumbles away, ties that have held the family together begin to break.
Whether it is money spent directly on substances or addiction treatments, or indirectly through missed workdays or job loss due to the addiction, families can often feel the financial strain when living with an addict or recovering addict.
In turn, that can create additional tension and stress in a household that is already weighed down by emotional turmoil.
Often, roles shift and responsibilities increase for other family members. This is especially felt when there are younger siblings in the home or when children have to take on adult responsibilities.
Family members’ health can be impacted, too. The constant stress can take a toll on both the physical and mental well-being of those in proximity to an addicted person.
Relationships among family members can take a severe hit due to addiction. Bonds can weaken over time, leading to estrangement and broken relationships.
Love and companionship may give way to resentment and disdain, making unification more challenging.
However, that is not always the case. Many people who have been in an alcoholic relationship, for instance, have remained together for years to come once the addict has made a full recovery.
Last but not least, addiction can instigate lasting psychological trauma for family members.
Exposure to erratic behaviour or domestic violence can lead to traumatic experiences, especially in children who might grow up dealing with PTSD or other emotional issues like anxiety or depression.
While living with someone who is addicted is undeniably challenging, it is important that you provide support to your loved one. Practice self-care, such as meditation and mindfulness, to help you remain calm. And speak to your loved one, in a caring way and at a good time, about getting help to overcome their addiction.
Getting professional help is crucial for anyone grappling with addiction. So, your loved one’s first step should be to speak to their doctor. They will be able to provide your loved one with the resources they need to begin their path to recovery.
There are numerous treatment options available. By getting professional help, addicts can find the right courses of treatment for their individual needs.
Here are some of the most common and effective addiction treatments:
- Inpatient Rehab provides a residential care setting with medical supervision.
- Outpatient Services enable individuals to receive therapy while continuing to live at home.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help in identifying and coping with patterns that lead to substance use.
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) utilises mindfulness-based techniques to manage addictive impulses.
- Motivational Interviewing (MI) aims to enhance an individual’s motivation for change.
- Family Therapy involves family members in therapy sessions for collective healing and support reinforcement.
- Group Therapy encourages the sharing of experiences and mutual support in a group setting.
Why Group Therapy Helps
It is worth expanding on group therapy more, as it has been shown to be highly effective in aiding addicts on their journey to recovery.
The form of psychotherapy involves multiple participants who are recovering from addiction coming together under the guidance of a qualified leader.
The sessions provide the individuals in attendance with a sense of companionship and mutual understanding. Participants are able to share experiences, learn from each other’s journeys, and offer emotional support.
That can break the feelings of isolation that are often associated with addiction and boost motivation for recovery. Group therapy can also provide practical insights into coping mechanisms to help accelerate the path to recovery.
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