Drug Rehab for Families

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

March 13, 2023

Table of Contents

The most recent data from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) indicates that over 40 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with substance use disorders in 2020.

The effects of addiction to alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs ripple outward far beyond the person abusing substances, though. These issues can negatively impact close friends, family members, and others who care about the person abusing substances.

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Beyond this, friends and family members can also play an integral role in the overall recovery process. If your loved one engages with inpatient or outpatient treatment at a family-centered treatment facility, you can participate in family therapy sessions. An experienced and credentialed intermediary can help you to better understand your loved one’s substance use disorder, and they can help you to begin repairing relationships and improving communication in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

Today’s guide shows you how family rehab at a treatment center like Renaissance Recovery can help you and your loved one to reclaim the lives you once enjoyed.

Family Intervention for Substance Use Disorders

Those who feel that drug rehab for family members would be beneficial may find it challenging to connect their loved ones with the care they need. In some cases, they may even deny the existence of a substance abuse problem.

While it can be frustrating to watch a family member grappling with addiction, it is important to recognize that most addictions respond favorably to evidence-based treatment.

Here are some simple tips to help you intervene and initiate your loved one’s recovery:

  • Learn as much as you can about the nature of addiction. A chronic and relapsing brain condition, addiction is characterized by compulsive substance use in the face of obviously negative outcomes. While incurable, addiction is treatable.
  • Familiarize yourself with the signs of addiction – behavioral changes, reduced interest in previously favored activities, secrecy, and denial are some of the most common markers.
  • Keep in mind that you cannot control someone with an addiction, and nor can you force them to engage with addiction support groups or treatment programs.
  • Be prepared to meet with denial when you confront your loved one about their addiction. You should start on ongoing and open dialogue with your family member. Voice your concerns about their substance use and express your desire to support them throughout their ongoing recovery.
  • Seek out support groups for the families of individuals with addiction – Nar-Anon and Al-Anon, for instance.
  • Stage an intervention if your loved one pointedly refuses to consider participating in a treatment program. An intervention involves a group of friends and family members meeting with the person addicted to drugs. You will invite your loved one to engage with a pre-arranged treatment program that includes a family therapy component.

Drug Rehab for Families: What Are the Options?

Drug rehab for families can involve a specialized treatment program tailored to the requirements of women with dependent children.

These programs will provide supervision and care for children. Children will have access to therapists, child development specialists, certified child care personnel, and psychologists. Some specialist programs may also provide day care services onsite, while others provide residential services.

There are very few family rehab programs in the United States that offer this level of care, though. Before we highlight the primary way in which family members can benefit from addiction treatment programs, what others options are there for parents struggling with substance use disorders?

Rehab Options for Parents with Addictions

The most common option for parents with addiction are rehab centers that deliver services to parents that provide family therapy sessions. Children will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges and traumas associated with addiction in a safe and controlled setting – more on family therapy directly below.

Many of the best drug rehabs will employ caseworkers to help with the following:

  • Child care
  • Safe accommodation for kids
  • Education services
  • Family liaison

The other option for parents requiring rehab is to choose an intensive outpatient program. Research shows that most mild and moderate addictions respond just as well to intensive outpatient treatment as residential rehab. Not only is outpatient treatment effective and affordable, but it is also flexible enough to allow you to spend time with your children after completing daily therapy sessions at a drug rehab.

Now for the most effective and widely utilized family rehab option: family therapy.

The Role of Family Therapy in Drug and Alcohol Rehab

According to SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocols, family therapy or family counseling includes a variety of interventions including assessments, involvement, and approaches at family level.

Unlike individual therapy, family therapy aims to address and treat behaviors of your family as a whole. While the family is composed of unique individuals each bringing something different to the dynamic, the family group is the core focus with this form of psychotherapy.

Oftentimes, family therapy is short-term. While it is beneficial if all family members participate in the counseling process, this is not essential. Regardless of who participates, you will explore family dynamics and interactions through counseling sessions. These sessions can impart the skills you need to improve your family connections, even during stressful times like addiction and recovery.

The therapist will usually spend time with your family members individually, as well leading group counseling sessions with multiple family members present. This arrangement allows the therapist to examine the overall family dynamic and individual family relationships.

You will find four types of family therapy for addiction. Each of these types of therapy focuses on unique problems and offers specific solutions. These approaches are:

  1. Bowenian family therapy: Bowenian family therapy can work well if you do not want your family directly involved in your treatment and recovery process. This form of family therapy can be delivered to individuals with a focus on the family unit.
  2. Systemic therapy: This form of family therapy focuses on unconscious communication and hidden meanings, with the therapist observing and maintaining a neutral approach.
  3. Structural therapy: Structural family therapy for parents struggling with addiction. This intervention keeps parents in a position of authority, with the therapist adopting a more active involvement in the process.
  4. Strategic therapy: Through strategic family therapy, all family members will be equipped with tools for growth. The therapist adopts a direct approach.

Engaging with family therapy for addiction could deliver the following general benefits:

  • Identifies problem areas within your family
  • Imparts skills for dealing with challenging situations
  • Improves communication skills
  • Sharpens conflict resolution and management skills
  • Offers new understanding and insight
  • Strengthening your relationships

Research shows that family therapy for substance use disorder also provides these specific benefits:

  • Improves treatment retention
  • Increases family support for the person with an addiction
  • Deepens understanding of addiction and its impact on families
  • Raises awareness of warning signs of relapse
  • Reduces risk of relapse
  • Encourages family strengths
  • Improves awareness of what to expect through addiction treatment and recovery
  • Helps the family to make positive changes related to the person with an addiction, both through communication and behaviors
  • Helps the family to understand how to take responsibility for their well-being

In most cases, several family members attend sessions. Family therapy can also be delivered individually, though.

Sessions typically last from 50 to 60 minutes. This is a short-term form of psychotherapy typically requiring 12 sessions.

You can expect to undertake the following during family therapy for addiction sessions:

  • Explore family rules, family roles, and behavior patterns contributing to conflict and identify solutions
  • Improve the ability of your family to solve problems and productively express thoughts and emotions
  • Work out your family’s strengths and weaknesses

You will achieve the above through a variety of family therapy activities for addiction.

What Is Involved in Family Therapy at Drug Rehab?

Through family therapy sessions, you will learn new ways of interacting with and relating to your family members.

The therapist will observe and take notes as family dynamics unfold. The therapist may also introduce any of the following approaches:

  • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)
  • Role playing
  • Journaling
  • Role playing
  • Communication techniques
  • Giving step-by-step approaches to improving relationships
  • Writing letters
  • Open emotional expression
  • Restructuring of family dynamics
  • Holistic care

Among these interventions, it is CBT that is the most widely beneficial. Through cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, family members will explore the closely interrelated nature of thoughts and behaviors. CBT can help those with addictions to identify what triggers them to use substances. This form of psychotherapy will also equip family members with more robust coping strategies.

Through all of the above techniques, you and your family members can learn to reframe the way you perceive anger, pain, and other volatile emotions. You can also repair relationships unraveled by addiction, moving forward into positivity, recovery, and sober living as a family unit.

Drug Rehab for Families at Renaissance Recovery

If you or a family member is struggling with addiction, it is vital to find a drug rehab for families that includes group and family therapy sessions to help all members of the family unit work together to combat addiction.

All of our intensive outpatient treatment programs draw from the following array of evidence-based therapies:

  • Family therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Psychotherapy (CBT or DBT)
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

Your treatment team will ensure you leave Renaissance equipped with a solid relapse management plan and aftercare plan to maximize your chances of sustained recovery.

Addiction is a family disease and by addressing your family as a whole unit, you can ensure that you or your loved one has a smoother road to recovery. Get started by calling admissions today at 866.330.9449 to discuss family therapy options during rehab in California.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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