When one member of a family develops a substance abuse disorder or becomes addicted to alcohol or another drug, the effects of this disorder or addiction are not limited to the person who is using.
When a parent is addicted to alcohol or another drug, the effect on the lives of the parent’s partner and the children can be devastating. When a child descends into substance abuse or addiction, siblings and parents will be impacted in myriad ways both large and small.
Thankfully, most effective drug addiction treatment programs incorporate family therapy or related family programs to ensure that all family members receive the education and support they need.
When a substance abuser becomes abstinent and applies the life skills learned in rehabilitation, the entire family system has to rearrange itself to incorporate the radical changes in this family member’s personality.
Parental Substance Abuse
The effects of Drug-Addicted Parents
Addicted parents are likely to be so preoccupied with their addition that they do not make it a priority to focus on their children.
The other parent may be so wrapped up in coping with their partner’s substance abuse that they are inconsistent when it comes to parenting. In fact, when children of alcoholics attend support meetings, they are likely to complain about their non-alcoholic parent as much as they discuss the parent who is addicted.
Once the substance abusing parent returns home from a rehabilitation center, they are likely to become more available to their children and organize family activities. The children, if they don’t reject these new behaviors, will take some time to adjust to this new version of their parent.
Teen Substance Abuse
The effects of Drug-Addicted Teens
In a family in which a child is abusing drugs or alcohol, the parents are likely to focus all of their attention on the addicted or drug abusing child. The family’s entire dynamic can be centered on the needs and moods of the addicted child.
When an addicted teenager or adolescent has completed a drug addiction recovery program and returned home, the entire dynamic of the family will be altered.
This may be difficult for the other children in the family, as well as the parents.
Treatment for the Entire Family
Substance Abuse Treatment For the Entire Family
Effective substance abuse and drug addiction treatment centers can help families deal with this new version of their family member.
While the addicted individual is completing drug treatment, family members will also participate in an education and support process of their own. This experience may include family therapy meetings, individual counseling, participation in support groups and related activities.
The goal of an effective drug addiction treatment program should be to help both the addicted individual and his or her loved ones to live more productive and satisfying lives free from the chains of substance abuse and/or drug addiction.