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Family Therapy

Addiction is not a disease that only impacts the patient. It also affects everyone around them, including parents, spouses, children, friends, employers and co-workers. No one is as directly affected as those who live in the same household. Addiction often results in strained or lost relationships. For everyone to recover, family therapy at a North Dakota clinic may be necessary.

Why Family Therapy is Needed?

An addict’s behavior is often erratic and unusual. They may say and do things that are negative and unhealthy for those around them. Relationships can be damaged even if the family members understand the reason behind the behavior. Sometimes the only way to resolve issues and mend broken relationships is through family therapy.

Addicts often withdraw from their families, avoiding them and spending much of their time alone or with other addicts. They may be hostile or angry around their family, or act detached. The person may be unable to care for the family, neglecting them or leaving bills unpaid. Living situations for everyone become temporary while the addict spends money on the addiction.

Family members may become resentful or withdrawal themselves as they deal with the addict’s emotions. Those who can get away often choose to end the relationship, while those who can’t will build walls and lose any positive feelings for the addict.

When Family Members Aid the Addiction

Sometimes, family members help the addict continue their behavior without realizing what they are doing. A family with an addict may have many roles, which can help the person continue in their negative behavior. These roles are:

  •     The Hero – this person acts as the hero of the family, covering up any issues so that outsiders do not see the problem.
  •     The Lost Child – this person stays out of everyone else’s way, often hiding out in their own room.
  •     The Scapegoat – this person acts out and takes the attention off the addict by causing even more trouble.
  •     The Mascot – this person uses humor to deal with the issues in the family, and tries to make others laugh as a way to deal with problems.
  •     The Caretaker – this person takes care of everyone else, and covers up problems by making excuses.

What Family Therapy Does

Family treatment in North Dakota drug addiction centers is designed to help the addict and the family members. For the addict, it gives them a chance to repair broken relationships and take responsibility for their actions. At the same time, the family members can learn how to support the addict in a positive way.

For the family, therapy can help them understand addiction. It can allow them to heal from past issues while taking responsibility for their part in aiding the addiction. If they are interested in mending the relationship, they can learn how to help the person going forward. They will develop an understanding of relapse and triggers, as well as what long-term recovery means.

If the person is not interested in continuing the relationship, they will learn about closure so that they can go on with their life. This step can help both the addict and the family member to learn from their pasts, and move forward in a healthy way.

Therapy for family members is often essential for the addict’s recovery, as well as for those who have been affected. Not all endings are happy, but they can be successful if they allow the parties to move on and learn from the past.

If you are a family member of an addict, realize you have been impacted by addiction. To help you and your family member move forward in recovery, pick up the phone and speak to an addiction specialist for more information.