Substance use disorders (SUDs) are not just impactful for the person using those substances. Rather, the entire family is impacted in various ways. The family unit often plays a role in various parts of the addiction, including how it develops, how it is maintained, and what can negatively or positively impact the treatment of a person with these disorders.
If you or a loved one is battling addiction, it’s critical to understand the role of the family in the individual’s situation. The key here is to learn about the family dynamic because it can ultimately determine the type of treatment a person needs to overcome the addiction, according to studies.
How Family Plays a Role in Addiction
It’s normal for a person with a SUD to feel as though their family is so messed up that there cannot possibly be anyone facing worse. Family is a big contributor to the overall wellbeing of a person with addiction. It’s such a big factor that the family systems theory was developed.
This theory focuses on the fact that a person’s beliefs and behavior patterns are often handed down from other family members. By better understanding how the family operates and how those dynamics within the family system impact you daily, you may have a better understanding of why you struggle with addiction and what it means you do.
With a focus on family theory like this, it’s possible for you to:
- Work to examine how your family dynamic impacts you personally
- Better understand how SUDs form within your family
- Identify your specific issues
- Create a way to work through them through education and therapy
- Resolve and heal those issues to allow you to become your own person
To be clear, you don’t have to walk away from your family, nor do you have to stop loving or honoring them. Rather, it’s about understanding yourself and the impact your family relationships have on you as a whole.
You can’t point fingers at your ancestors and blame them for your addiction. However, you can learn more about the role family relationships played in your specific development of SUD.
Consider a Few Examples
A child growing up in a home where drugs and alcohol are used often and openly is at a higher risk of developing a SUD themselves. This is a learned behavior based on what they saw as they grew up.
Other times, childhood or teen trauma can lead to the onset of mental health disorders, which can trigger addiction as well. For example, a child that’s abused physically, mentally, or sexually could turn to substances as a way to cope with what’s occurring.
How Does Understanding Family Relationships Impact Your Future?
When you work with your drug and alcohol treatment team, you’ll learn a great deal about yourself. How did these past experiences impact your ability, willingness, and even need to use substances? How is that defining who you are as a result?
By working to understand family dynamics, you can learn to set aside what others believe and what you’ve been raised on so that you can focus on yourself and become your own healthy person. Doing this could help contribute to better support systems and, ultimately, encourage sobriety.
Find the Help You Need Through Our Family Therapy Program
America’s Rehab Campuses offers a wide range of drug and alcohol treatment programs to fit your specific needs. We include family therapy as a component of this care. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you.