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Family therapy expedites recovery from substance abuse

04-10 | By CSAA Team

Family therapy expedites recovery from substance abuse

With home being the safest haven, family is the basic support for any individual. However, the need of affectionate loved ones intensifies when someone is dealing with stressful times. Similarly, when it comes to addiction, in which a person lacks the ability to remain physically or mentally healthy and functional, family support comes as a great rescue.

Addiction is considered as a taboo in many societies. Hence, a person addicted to illegal substances is perceived as a criminal and anticipated to conduct malpractices in the society. In such tough times, the family becomes a protective shield for a person fighting substance abuse, by not only protecting the person from the harshness of the world, but also encouraging him or her to recover from the addiction.

Interestingly, family is the first to get affected if a member develops any kind of addiction, but it never judges the person based on his or her addictive behavior, rather it acts as a great support and gives a chance to the loved one to get sober. In fact, the unconditional love and support of the kith and kin make the path to recovery much easier. Since recovery from an addiction is a life-long journey, family plays the most important role in assuring the required life-long commitment, as per the experts.

Taking cue from the above observation, a first-of-its-kind study by the Ohio State University published in the November 2016 issue of the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors suggested that a mother battling substance abuse tends to recover faster when she is treated in front of her children. According to the study, when children are a part of the treatment plan, the mother shows a speedy recovery, as compared to the mother who receives an individual therapy.

Effect of family therapy

According to the study, women who were involved in family therapy, which included their children aged between 8 years and 16 years, reported a faster reduction in alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine use over 18 months, as compared to mothers who received individual therapy. According to the researchers, family conflicts and differences play an important role in the development of addiction in an individual. People often view addictive substances as an escape route from the everyday family problems and issues. As a result, when the entire family comes together to fight a member’s addiction problem, it has a higher impact on the abuser, thereby resulting in quick recovery.

As part of the study, the researchers evaluated 183 mothers seeking outpatient treatment for alcohol or drug abuse. All of them had at least one biological child aged between eight and 16 years. The mothers were divided into two group, with the first group put on a treatment plan known as Ecologically Based Family Therapy, comprising 12-sessions focused on improving social interactions, emotional connectedness and problem resolution skills among the family members and the second group receiving an individual therapy program known as Women’s Health Education. All the participants were assessed at the beginning of the study and then, after three, six, 12, and 18 months. While mothers belonging to both the groups reported a reduction in their use of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine, the recovery was rapid in case of mothers who received family therapy.

Leading a drug-free life is possible

Currently, children are strictly kept out of treatment programs catering to substance abuse. Hence, family therapy, instead of being applied as a full-fledged therapy, is opted just as a part of the program. However, treatment modalities should be comprehensive that help people recover from various kinds of addictions, including drugs and alcohol. Including family as a part of the comprehensive treatment program helps a person recover well and sustain abstinence to substances in the long run.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact the Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors for information about state-of-the-art substance abuse treatment centers in Colorado. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-300-5857 or chat online with our representatives for further information about evidence-based substance abuse treatment programs in Colorado.


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