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Is Addiction A Family Disease?

Is addiction a family disease? Substance use disorders do not happen in a vacuum, which means they often directly impact entire families. When someone struggles with addiction to drugs or alcohol, the effect may be felt by their children, parents, siblings, and other family members. In order to provide full treatment for the individual with an addiction, it’s important to include the family. That’s why Buckhead Behavioral Health offers family therapy in our treatment programs. We help bring people together so that each family member’s concerns along with their own maladaptive behaviors are addressed, and the loved one can become sober with their full understanding and support. 

Is Addiction a Family Disease?

Is addiction a family disease? Absolutely. When someone struggles with a substance use disorder, it will impact their entire family in one way or another. If a mother or father tries hard to hide their condition from their kids, they are fooling themselves that this is possible. In hindsight, children and other family members may develop their own set of behaviors to learn how to cope with uncomfortable feelings. They may try to make excuses for their parents of children’s behavior or bail them out when they fall into trouble. In addition, addiction affects children, especially. The National Association for Children of Addiction reports some staggering statistics about how addiction affects children. These include:

  • 1 in 4 children lives with a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol 
  • There are 18 million children of alcoholics
  • 2 babies are born to addicted parents every second per day
  • Non-fatal maltreatment associated with parental drug and alcohol addiction costs 32 billion dollars per year

When a parent has a substance use disorder, they should seek help in order not only to heal themselves but help their kids. Unfortunately, addiction often becomes a family legacy. Too often, children inherit the genetic predisposition for addiction, but growing up around someone with this disease drastically increases their chances of following in a parent’s footsteps.

What To Do If Your Family Member Has An Addiction

Is addiction a family disease? Yes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t methods to help loved ones deal with the situation. Therapists and physicians recommend some basic ways to approach the issue of a family member who experiences addiction. First, keep in mind that addiction is a legitimate disease and not a lack of willpower or morals. People do not stop abusing drugs or alcohol by white-knuckling through their days and hoping the disease goes away. They need professional treatment from a medical program and therapeutic staff.

At the same time, each person with an addiction is ultimately responsible for making the choice to get help. Family members have the right to establish boundaries and let their loved ones know they cannot continue to drink or use drugs without being held accountable for their actions.

Families often find success when they present a united front when addressing their loved ones. It might be a conversation or series of talks among the family or they might use the services of an intervention expert. Too often, addicts try to take advantage of sympathy from family members in order to avoid responsibility for getting help. They may also play one person against another. It proves helpful for families to work as a team in asking their loved ones to get help and even presenting ideas for where to go. Once the person is in treatment, they can continue to work together as a unit to support their recovery. 

Many families benefit from attending family therapy, either with or without the person with the addiction. This can help them process their own emotions and frustrations while learning to take care of themselves on a daily basis. 

How Is Addiction Treated?

Someone with addiction needs thorough and effective treatment. They should attend a detox program in order to begin the process of getting well. From there, a residential program can provide the constant care they need from living in a facility. 

Alternatively, many people benefit from attending outpatient programs. These range from regular outpatient care to intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs. Each one provides a specific level of care designed to meet a person where they are in terms of the assistance they require. Most outpatient programs take place during the day, but evening sessions are also available. This, along with virtual sessions, allows people to include much-needed treatment along with still meeting responsibilities in their personal lives. 

Addiction care includes medical support to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and symptoms of emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression. As well, it includes a vast offering of different therapy modalities. Each one is proven to help with at least one aspect of addiction.

Finding Help For Addiction Treatment Today in Atlanta

Now that you know the answer to “Is addiction a family disease?” is yes, you may wonder where to turn for help. Buckhead Behavioral Health understands how to reunite families. We provide several types of outpatient treatment for people who have substance use disorders. We help them come to terms with their disease and learn to overcome it. We include their loved ones in the process with our family therapy program and offer family services that helps improve family communication and renew bonds broken by addiction.

If you would like to talk about getting help for addiction for yourself or someone else, visit our admissions page now. We can answer your questions and give you hope for a healthier future.

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