The Role of Family Therapy in Successful Addiction Recovery

Addiction does not just affect the person struggling with substance abuse but their loved ones as well. When a person abuses drugs or alcohol, their family and friends often experience a ripple effect of negative consequences. The communication breakdown, betrayal, neglected responsibilities, financial strain, and emotional & physical turmoil can strain relationships, erode trust, and create a significant rift between family and their loved ones. Family therapy is an important component of addiction treatment for these reasons.

Sadly, these effects can linger even in addiction recovery. Family members may continue to carry the emotional wounds and resentments caused by addiction. Trust may be fragile, and they may struggle with ongoing communication challenges and unresolved conflicts. They might not assume healthy roles and behavior to encourage and support recovery in this state. That's why family therapy is important. 

What is Family Therapy? 

Family therapy, also known as family counseling or systemic therapy, is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on improving the functioning and well-being of a family unit. It addresses the interpersonal dynamics, communication issues, and relationships among family members, with the aim of healing relationships, enhancing understanding, and promoting positive change. The therapy process involves all or most family members attending sessions together, although sometimes individual sessions may also be included.

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Practices in Family Therapy

Family group therapy rebuilds rifts between loved ones. A therapist may use different therapy models, including:

Why is Family Therapy Important in Recovery?

Family therapy plays a significant role in recovery by providing support, education, and intervention for individuals and families facing various challenges.

Education and Awareness

Therapy can play a vital role in addressing misconceptions surrounding addiction. One common misconception is the belief that addiction is solely a moral failing or a result of weak willpower. Family members may harbor judgment or blame towards their loved one, perceiving their addiction or relapse as a character flaw rather than a disease.

Education and awareness about addiction as a disease help family members overcome stigma and judgment. They come to recognize that addiction is not a choice but a medical condition that requires treatment and support. This understanding promotes empathy, compassion, and patience within the family system.

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Addresses Co-Occurring Issues

Co-occurring issues are mental disorders that often co-exist with substance use disorders. According to studies, 53% of drug and 37% of alcohol users also have at least one serious mental illness. And family plays a big role in mental health and addiction, so this type of therapy becomes crucial in addressing these co-occurring issues.

Utilizing this type of therapy can help family members understand the impact of family dynamics on mental health and addiction. This can, in turn, encourage families to create a nurturing and empowering environment for their loved ones to recover and thrive.

Encourages Family Involvement 

One of the key principles of family therapy is the encouragement of family involvement, which means involving all family unit members in the therapeutic strategies. This approach recognizes that issues within a family are often influenced by the dynamics and relationships among its members, and therefore, involving everyone is crucial for effective intervention and healing. These therapy sessions will encourage family involvement through family sessions, active participation, collaborative problem-solving, psychoeducation, and homework assignments. 

Improved treatment retention

Family group therapy helps create a supportive environment where family members actively engage in treatment. Their involvement and support can significantly enhance an individual's motivation to stay in addiction treatment and work toward recovery. Knowing that their family members are invested in their well-being and actively participating in therapy can give the individual a sense of purpose and support, increasing their commitment to the treatment program. Besides, family members can provide ongoing encouragement and reinforcement, positively impacting the individual's commitment to treatment and overall recovery.

Creates a Supportive Environment

Therapy with family present can also emphasize the importance of their support in the recovery process. It helps family members recognize their role in supporting their loved ones, providing them with tools and resources to create a nurturing and conducive environment for healing. This supportive atmosphere helps individuals feel understood, validated, and less alone in their recovery.

Improves Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills

Addiction or mental health issues can strain relationships, create misunderstandings, and lead to unhealthy communication patterns. Therapy provides a structured and supportive environment to address these challenges effectively.

During therapy sessions, family members learn valuable communication skills that foster understanding, empathy, and active listening. They also learn how to constructively express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. This allows them to express their support better, establish boundaries, and navigate sensitive topics related to their loved one's recovery. 

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Safe Space for Family Members

This type of therapy provides a safe and supportive space where family members can express their emotions, concerns, and experiences related to addiction. It allows them to openly discuss the impact of addiction without fear of judgment or repercussions. Family members can share their struggles, frustrations, and fears and gain insight into their loved one's experiences and challenges. This safe space encourages open and honest communication, fostering understanding, empathy, and emotional healing within the family unit.

Preventing Relapse and Sustaining Recovery

Family support and involvement are crucial for preventing relapse and supporting sustained recovery. In family therapy, family members can learn about addiction, its triggers, and warning signs of relapse. They can also develop skills and strategies to support their loved one's recovery, such as creating a structured and supportive home environment, understanding relapse as part of the process, and encouraging healthy coping mechanisms. Family group therapy helps families become active in the recovery journey, increasing the chances of long-term success.

Family therapy is widely recognized as a valuable component of rehabilitation services and recovery. It acknowledges the impact that addiction has on the entire family system and emphasizes the importance of family support in the healing process. At More Than Rehab, we understand this importance and offer family group therapy as part of our services. 

Family group therapy provides a supportive and inclusive environment where family members can actively participate in the treatment and healing journey. By involving the family, More Than Rehab acknowledges the vital role that family support plays in promoting lasting recovery. If you are interested in learning more about our specific approach to family group therapy and the comprehensive services we provide, contact us today.

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Crystal Meth is Making a Worrisome Comeback in Texas

While the news headlines are dominated by the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, crystal meth is making a relatively silent, but deadly return. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of overdose deaths for methamphetamine more than tripled from 2011 to 2016 and that number keeps growing to this day. This is partly due to the increase of cheap, highly potent methamphetamine coming over the US/Mexico border. With the national attention and focus on opioids by public health officials, politicians and government agencies, meth has quietly made a comeback in the US. This likely will not change course, without the proper resources and greater public awareness of the nation’s problems associated with crystal meth.

When drug overdoses began to take more American lives each year than gun violence or car accidents, the attention (and funding) from federal, state and local governments was largely focused on prescription and illicit opioids. The good news is that these efforts may actually be working.

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New provisional CDC data shows that drug overdose deaths fell significantly in 2018. This is the first decrease in decades. From the data, it appears that government efforts to prevent doctors from over-prescribing, while making it easier for first-responders to carry naloxone (a life-saving opioid-antagonist) undoubtedly have helped make a real difference in the fight to curb drug overdose deaths.

With prescription painkiller abuse on the decline, drug overdose deaths from crystal meth and fentanyl are the new problem in the United States.

Unlike illicit and prescription opiates, methamphetamine addiction does not have any FDA-approved medications to assist in treatment and rehabilitation efforts. Drugs like buprenorphine, or Suboxone are available to help ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. These evidence-based, medication-assisted treatments (MAT) can also help reduce the likelihood for relapse later in recovery. By blocking opioid receptors in the brain, MATs are valuable tools for addiction treatment programs. These medications have shown a verifiable success rate in patients who are struggling with an addiction to opiates.

Meth on the other hand, can cause equally painful and severe withdrawal symptoms. Currently there are no medications available to ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with a physical or psychological chemical dependency to methamphetamine. Detox and treatment for an addiction to methamphetamine can therefore be quite difficult for most patients.

Another problem with the relative lack of effective treatment options for people who become addicted to meth, the ease of access to meth is currently at an all time high. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s we witnessed a major crackdown on illegal meth labs operating within the United States. Meth labs were quite prevalent in Texas, especially in the Houston and San Antonio areas. These ranged from very small operations in an RV in the desert or in someone’s garage, to giant meth super labs in warehouses. Once the Federal Government began imposing stricter regulations on the sale and availability of pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), meth manufacturing labs pretty much became extinct in the US.

These days, the major Mexican drug cartels supply most of the crystal meth that is found in American cities and rural areas. This meth is much cheaper and more potent than ever before. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that the current price of meth is the lowest they’ve seen in years. The Mexican drug cartels, with new manufacturing techniques are also producing meth that’s more than 90 percent pure. This highly-potent crystal meth is creating an entirely new generation of addicts across the nation, at a level of epidemic proportions.

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For comparison, in 2017, 813 people died from an overdose on crystal meth, while 591 died from a heroin overdose in Texas.

One of the major complications with a substance use disorder is that the patient can be using multiple substances at any given time. Emergency responders have a difficult time with drug overdoses, because while the patient may be unconscious they have no idea how to treat the overdose. Many people who use crystal meth, are also using other substances as well. Some end up using methamphetamine in the morning and opioids at night, while trying to balance a ‘normal’ lifestyle through the use of various different drugs.

Many of the fatal overdose deaths involving methamphetamine can also be partially blamed on opioids. The extremely dangerous synthetic opiate, fentanyl has been frequently found in different batches of methamphetamine all over the country. This contamination may be intentional, or it may be the result of drug labs that produce and package different substances, where cross-contamination of different drugs may be entirely by accident.

What are the different drug rehab options for someone who is addicted to crystal meth?

The addiction treatment specialists at More Than Rehab have helped people all types of people, many of whom are struggling with an addiction to multiple substances. Our comprehensive drug rehabilitation program can help people with any type of addiction, while we can even address the underlying causes of substance abuse. We see the addiction is often just a symptom of another deeply-rooted mental health issue. This is called a dual-diagnosis and our staff is well-equipped to help people who exhibit both a substance use disorder, along with an underlying mental health issue.

Our approach to meth addiction treatment focuses on making the whole person healthy, mentally, physically and spiritually. Often an addiction is merely a symptom of unresolved trauma that has led the patient to self-medicate, while they attempt to drown-out their sorrows. Since no medication assisted treatment exists specifically to treat a meth addiction, our facility uses a robust combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, contingency management and relapse prevention. A variety of other treatment techniques could be used in conjunction with these, depending on the patient’s own unique, individual needs.

If you, a family member, friend or loved one are struggling with any type of drug addiction, please give us a call as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get substance abuse treatment, the harder it can be to quit. Most people who die as a result of complications from meth abuse are from a brain hemorrhage, seizure, or a heart attack. This is especially true for older addicts, as their bodies are no longer equipped to handle a long-term episode of substance abuse.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been using, or how much you have used in the past. More Than Rehab can help addiction at any level of severity. If this has been a wake-up call for either yourself, or your family, or friends, please talk to someone about the problem as soon as possible. Addiction won’t go away by itself. When you’re ready to change your life for the better, give us a call. We are available 24/7 to help you when you need it.

888-249-2191