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Addiction: A Family Disease

An addiction not only has the ability to impact an individual, but the entire family as well. Substance Use Disorders (SUD) can be classified as a “family disease”- while it is easy to identify the effect it has on the addict, family members will not understand their roles in the situation. The key to a successful recovery is acceptance. Once this is established, both the addict and their family members can focus on mending their bond.

An effective treatment centre will incorporate the loved ones of an individual in treatment. Why? Although rehabilitation is an individual process, it is more successful with family cooperation.  The treatment facility will have a group of trained professionals who work in unison to help family members understand their impact on the addict’s life. Once they establish a good understanding of their behavioural implications, they can apply this knowledge in effectively supporting the individual in long-term recovery.

In order to foster peace among all family members, it is recommended that all of those affected attend group counselling sessions. The treatment facility should provide consistent and ongoing opportunities that will educate participants on acceptable approaches to the recovery process. If this is done successfully, the substance user will likely be given the support they need to live a sober life.

People commonly suffer from addictions as a way of coping with a traumatic experience or negative emotions. The first step to recovery is addressing the issue- what is causing the SUD? The treatment facility will then help the patient manage the source and find better methods to cope with the negative thoughts they may be experiencing.

It is important to remember that addiction is a disease and there is no one way to cure it. Often times, close friends or family will act as the biggest support system to a substance abuser. As a result, they should know how to work with them. Staying consistent throughout the recovery process is key to maintaining sobriety. Be sure to encourage your loved one to reach their goals and remind them to reflect on their progress.

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