(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Estimates show that in America roughly 10% of the population is addicted to alcohol or drugs. At first you might think 10% doesn’t sound like a lot. How does 33 million people sound? And if overdose and death rates have taught us anything, it’s that this problem is a serious and lethal one. But not only do we see the pain and turmoil of those who struggle, but we have to see what the families go through. The individual suffers deeply, but we cannot forget the children of alcoholics.
These numbers show that millions of parents, spouses and children are destructively impacted as they live with a person suffering from addiction.
National Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week started on February 12th and went to the 18th. This observation is to help spread public awareness about the impact of alcohol and drugs on children and families. While the official week of observation has ended, we encourage people to take the chance this month to continue the conversation. We don’t just acknowledge the issue for 7 days a year, right?
The Truth about Children of Alcoholics
Alcoholism is a chronic disease with a far-reaching impact.
- In America, experts estimate 6.6 million children under 18 live with at least one alcoholic parent
- One in four children in the U.S. are witness to alcoholism or addiction to drugs regularly
According to The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA), children of alcoholics experience many hardships that have a profound impact on their futures. Children of alcoholics typically:
- Have poorer language skills
- Have more absences from school
- Are more at risk for mental health disorders
- Higher risk of physical health issues
- Are at a significantly higher risk of becoming alcoholics themselves when they grow up
How to Help Children of Alcoholics
Most people have the knee-jerk reaction to insist a child should be removed from a detrimental environment. To many it makes sense that if the child is put in danger, they should be taken from their home to be kept safe. If we can’t always help the alcoholics, at least the children of alcoholics should be protected, right? The idea is the children of alcoholics can then have a stable environment while the parent gets treatment.
However, others would argue against such an approach, saying it not only breaks up the family unit, but it could also create a more instability. Removing the children of alcoholics from their homes and putting them in unfamiliar environments might only make things worse. Sometimes this process can create new stress and fear in a child, and ultimately be counterproductive.
So the unique difficulty in helping children of alcoholics is finding a way to maintain stability while still addressing the issues in the home, specifically those connected with the addiction.
Family Programs Part of Holistic Healing
Thankfully, complete removal from the recovery process is not the way it has to be for the families of those who struggle. Newer, more holistic treatment modalities make it a point to incorporate the children of alcoholics and their families in the treatment process.
An effective family program, such as the Palm Healthcare Family Program, can help to support the spouses, parents or children of alcoholics and addicts in many ways. Communicating with families and involving them in the recovery plan tends to make the living environment less dysfunctional.
A key element to assisting the family and children of alcoholics is education. Understanding the individual’s difficulties, they are able to provide an elevated level of support to the patient from home. These kinds of family involved programs can help the children of alcoholics get a better perspective on their parent’s behavior. At the same time, it gives families a chance to heal in tandem with their loved one.
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The Family for the Future
As innovation and education provide lasting results, treatment is beginning to grow in ways that have a stronger impact. Even elected officials and policy makers are now focusing on the impact of the family of the person addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The reality is, every person suffering from addiction issues eventually has to return home. Taking children away from their parents does not solve the issues, because eventually we want the individual to be able to live in their home environment. Recovery is about to reuniting families, not tearing them further apart. A more supportive family environment will go a long way in helping people in recovery maintain lasting sobriety.
This is why welcoming the family is good for the future. Programs like Palm Partners Recovery Center believe in keeping the spouses, parents and children of alcoholics and addicts connected to the person who needs their support the most. Overcoming the isolation and having love and connection in your corner can change the game. So even though National Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week ended, we still want to challenge everyone to bring their kids or their parents closer together.
Thousands of people everywhere are growing and changing their lives through programs of recovery. Along with them, thousands of families are rebuilding and sharing their strength and hope. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call. We want to help. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Learning how to deal with an addict in the family may seem nearly impossible. An addict in the grips of their addiction is not a lovely person in the smallest sense of the word. In fact, many addicts in the grips of their addiction are scary, mean, and not the person you thought you knew and loved.
Many times when an addict goes to rehab their family is still left with the feelings of what it was like when the loved one was in active addiction. They usually don’t know how to deal with an addict in the family, whether that individual is clean and sober or not. Taking that into consideration, here are 7 reasons family therapy is important in rehab.
- Understanding Disease of Addiction
Addiction is far more than a case of bad judgment or running with the wrong crowd. Having an addict in the family means it is important realize that they will keep using drugs, no matter the consequences because of the chemical changes in their brain, not because of poor character.
Family therapy is important in rehab because it educates the family on how addiction affects the individual, so they can better understand that it is a disease, and that an addict in the family doesn’t choose to have an addiction.
- Mastering Emotions
Family Therapy is important in rehab because it teaches both the individual and the family how to communicate with their emotions in a healthy and constructive way. Being in treatment and dealing with the affects addiction has had on the family can be a difficult aspect of early recovery.
Family therapy helps to re-establish connections, while allowing the family to progress as a collective in positive coping strategies. Educating both the family and the addict in new ways to process and share their feelings with one another.
- Helping VS. Enabling
As family, we always want to help the ones we love, especially when they are struggling. Family therapy is important in rehab because it gives the family a better idea as to how to properly provide healthy support.
Enabling is not helping, and it is something anyone with an addict in the family should learn about, because many times when trying to help an addict in the family, parents or siblings end up enabling the addict’s behavior and never directly address the issue. Family therapy is important in rehab because it teaches enablers how to set better boundaries.
- Understanding Treatment Plan
Of course when you or someone you love is in treatment, you want to make sure everyone feels confident and informed as to how that treatment plan has been put in place to provide effective transformation.
Another reason that family therapy is important in rehab is to keep the family members up to speed and involved in how the time spent in rehab is being utilized. The more the family knows about the rehab their loved one is in and the way their treatment is being addressed, the more they will know what to expect in times of transition, and how to give support.
- The Role of the Family in the Healing Process
The healing process does not end once a person has left the treatment facility. Lasting and fulfilled recovery reaches far beyond the walls of any rehab or residential facility. The role of the family is essential not only during the period in rehab, but in continued recovery.
Family therapy is important in rehab because it provides more information in regards to the treatment plan, and gives a deeper look into how the family contributes to the addict’s recovery once they are outside of rehab. Knowing the importance of continuous work in recovery and how the family can help may have an addict set up for success before they ever leave treatment.
- Giving Up Codependency
One part of addiction that many families fail to notice is the problems created by co-dependency, because many family members do not realize that they are in a co-dependent relationship with their addicted loved one, and they get something out of that person’s life-style and behavior.
Sometimes family members don’t realize that an addict’s behavior and need for support can actually provide them with a feeling of being needed or being connected. Depending on someone who desperately depends on us in active addiction can be hard to acknowledge.
Sometimes we feel needed by helping a sick person or by relying on their mood to be happy. Family therapy is important in rehab because it reveals the real dangers behind co-dependency.
- Recovery Programs After Treatment
Sometimes people are able to stay clean and sober for a time after treatment without any drastic issues, but this is most common with people who suffer from physical dependence, and not addiction.
For the ‘real deal’ addicts and alcoholics out there, it is typically more than some time in rehab that supports a serious life change. One more thing that shows that family therapy is important in rehab is that it helps to highlight the different ways an individual can remain clean and sober, and helps the family to become familiar with such fellowships.
There are also fellowships in place to support the families of addicts and alcoholics, whether they are actively recovering or not. These support groups are designed to provide some level of guidance and assistance from peers and other families in the same situation.
Too many families are torn apart because of the disease of addiction, and sometimes the family has no idea how they can make an impact that drives improvement. Family therapy is important in rehab because it gives not only the individual addict, but also their loved ones, the resources to change for life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Learning how to deal with an addict in the family may seem nearly impossible. An addict in the grips of their addiction is not a lovely person in the smallest sense of the word. In fact, many addicts in the grips of their addiction are scary, mean, and not the person you thought you knew and loved. Many times when an addict goes to rehab and recover a family is still left with the feelings of what it was like when the addict was in active addiction and they don’t know how to deal with an addict in the family-sober or not. So if you are wondering how to deal with an addict in the family; here are some things for you to look at.
Have an addict in the family? Understand that addiction is a disease.
Addiction can be compared to other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. All of them are chronic illnesses. If you have an addict in the family, you need to realize that they will keep using drugs, no matter the consequences because of the chemical changes in their brain. The addict in the family doesn’t choose to have an addiction just like you wouldn’t choose to have diabetes.
Educate yourself about addiction and the addict in the family.
If you have an addict in the family one of the best things you can do to deal with it is to educate yourself about addiction. Learning about the disease of the addiction will teach you about the addict in the family and it can help ease a lot of the anxiety, social and emotional stress that having an addict in the family can cause. There are even recovery meetings for people who have an addict in the family such as Al-Anon, Alateen, and Nar-Anon.
Don’t enable the addict in the family.
Enabling and detaching are concepts that anyone with an addict in the family should learn about. Many times when trying to deal with an addict in the family, parents or siblings end up enabling the addict’s behavior and never directly talk about the problem or recovery. Detaching is a way to stop enabling the addict in the family and is taught at groups such as Al-Anon.
Attend family therapy or individual therapy for yourself in order to deal with an addict in the family.
Individual therapy for everyone in the family and not just the addict in the family is important for the mental health of the entire family unit. When seeking professional individual therapy about an addict in the family be sure to look for programs or counselors who are accredited or licensed and even have a specialization in addiction. A therapist who specializes in addiction will be especially paramount for the addict in the family because the addict will be able to manipulate someone who doesn’t know about addiction or won’t be able to get any understanding from the therapist. If a family is going to do group therapy to deal with an addict in the family, this is also especially important.
If you or your loved one is in need of treatment for alcohol or drug addiction please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
Alcoholism is a considered a family disease meaning that it does not only affect the alcoholic; it affects the loved ones of the alcoholic. An alcoholic can totally disrupt family life and cause harmful effects that can last a lifetime. According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), seventy six million American adults have been exposed to alcoholism in the family. Alcoholism is responsible for more family problems than any other single cause. One out of every four families has problems with alcohol.
5 Ways Alcoholism is a Family Disease
1. Family Dysfunction – Family dysfunction refers to conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect or abuse that occurs continually and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions. Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such an arrangement is normal and thus perpetuate this family disease when they grow up and have their own families.
2. Financial Woes – Financial stress is the number one cause of arguments and fights amongst couples, in general. Add the cost of supporting a habit such as alcoholism, and the stress factor goes up. Alcoholics need a way to support their alcohol habit. Whether the alcoholic is consuming a lot or a little, it is usually a daily need and that all adds up. Besides directly spending money on alcohol, alcoholism can lead to loss of a job (and therefore the loss of household income) and exorbitant fines for alcohol-related offences such as DUI’s, court costs, lawyer fees, etc. In this way, alcoholism’s effects can be seen as a family disease.
3. Marital problems – Alcoholism as a family disease also manifests as a wedge that forms between partners. Fighting, trust issues, depression, fear (walking on egg shells), anxiety, and codependency are all common to an alcoholic relationship. Codependency is defined as a psychological condition and describes behaviors, thoughts and feelings that go beyond normal kinds of self-sacrifice or caretaking. Statistically, separated and/or divorced men and women were three times as likely as married men and women to say they had been married to an alcoholic.
4. Health – The family disease of alcoholism includes both mental and physical health issues. The latest research supports the heredity of this family disease. Genetics combined with an alcoholic environment leads to an increased risk of alcoholism amongst children of alcoholics (COAs). COAs have been found to have a higher rate of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Some of these symptoms include crying, lack of friends, fear of going to school, nightmares, perfectionism, hoarding, and excessive self-consciousness. Young children affected by this family disease may have frequent nightmares, bed wetting, and crying. This family disease tends to affect older children differently. They may show such depressive symptoms as isolating, hoarding, obsessive perfectionism, or being excessively self-conscious. Furthermore, the family disease of alcoholism correlates with an increased rate of suicide among COAs and, on average, they have total health care costs that are 32% greater than children of non-alcoholic families.
5. Prevalence of abuse – Alcoholism is more strongly correlated to child abuse than depression and other disorders. Studies have found that substance abuse such as alcoholism is a factor in nearly four-fifths of reported cases of domestic abuse and that alcoholism is more prevalent among child-abusing parents. Alcoholism is a family disease because it affects everyone in the family unit. Furthermore, this is a family disease because it is often replicated and perpetuated when the abused COAs start families of their own.
If you or your family have been affected by alcoholism, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.