The Family’s Role in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

How families play a role in substance use disorder treatment

Addiction rarely affects an individual in isolation. When one family member has a substance abuse disorder, the consequences are felt throughout the entire family. In fact, researchers have learned a great deal not only about how addiction impacts the family but also how the family constellation can affect the development and maintenance of substance abuse behavior.

It is a widely held belief among treatment experts that treating only the individual who is experiencing an addiction problem can limit the scope of healing. Mental health and social work professionals know that treating only the addict without the participation of his or her significant others can severely limit treatment efficacy for two major reasons.

Support is Necessary for Recovery 

First, addressing an addiction problem in isolation overlooks the devastating effect that substance use has on the family unit as a whole. Second, not involving family members ignores a tremendous and valuable source of healing and support.

Underpinning these beliefs is the fact that both environmental and genetic factors have a role to play in the development of substance abuse disorders. Thus it stands to reason that one’s family has a vital role to play in therapy.

In addition to genetics, family member beliefs and attitudes can be very influential factors in how one approaches treatment and sobriety. The beliefs that family members have about addiction often influence individuals as they try to get sober, and can ultimately influence the efficacy of treatment interventions. For example, the family may view addiction as a moral failing and advocate that “will power” be used to get clean.

More Than a Disorder or Illness

Modern medicine views addiction as a disease to be treated, not a vice to be eradicated. Thus, if a significant other is at odds with an individual’s treatment philosophy and goals, it is a situation that the therapist needs to be aware of. In such cases, it is important for the entire family to be educated about the development and course of substance abuse as well as on proper treatment methods.

Recovery is possible—recover your unique, purposeful, sober life by reaching out to the dedicated experts at Cumberland Heights.

Addiction is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. For over 50 years we have carefully provided the highest quality of care for adults, adolescents and families who suffer from, or are affected by this devastating disease.

Our nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center is located on a peaceful, pastoral 177-acre campus on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. We provide a continuum of services through two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes.

At Cumberland Heights, we always put the patient first, and value the importance of family participation in the recovery process. Take the first step toward healing by calling us at (866) 899-5231 today.