Family therapy for addiction is one of the important treatment programs for you to achieve sobriety. There is no denying the strong association between mental health and addiction/substance use disorders. For this piece, addiction and substance use disorders will be used interchangeably. When a person experiences both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, it is called a co-occurring disorder. If left untreated, co-occurring disorders can have a detrimental impact on a person’s life and can negatively influence how they function across many facets of life. For example, family functioning is an area of life that is negatively impacted by mental health and substance use disorders. Additionally, underlying family dynamics can inadvertently reinforce and maintain addiction and mental health problems. Therefore, incorporating family therapy is essential and why many treatment programs like Camelback Recovery offer family therapy for addiction in their treatment programs.

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Defining Co-Occurring Disorders

A co-occurring disorder is a mental health and substance use disorder diagnosis that exists simultaneously; this is also referred to as a dual diagnosis. A substance use disorder is a mental disorder that impacts an individual’s behavior and the brain, resulting in an inability to control their use of drugs (legal and illegal), alcohol, and medication. Symptoms can range in severity from mild or severe, and they can be effectively treated.

Mental health disorders, or mental illness, affect a person’s thinking, mood, behavior, and feelings. As substance use disorders, the impact of mental illness can be mild, moderate, or severe, and symptoms can be treated effectively by licensed mental health professionals.

Prevalence of Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders

Millions of people across the country experience both addiction and mental illness. Nearly 9.2 million people have a co-occurring disorder. You can experience a substance use disorder without having a diagnosable mental illness, just as you can be diagnosed with a mental illness and never develop an addiction. However, if you are diagnosed with a substance use disorder, there is a strong possibility that you may have a mental health disorder, and the reverse is true. If you are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, there is a strong possibility that you could develop a substance use problem. Researchers have found that half of the people who develop a substance use disorder will also develop a mental illness and vice-versa.

Common Types of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Mental health disorders that commonly occur alongside substance use disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Common substance use disorders that co-occur with mental illness include:

  • Opioids
  • Alcohol
  • Stimulants
  • Prescription medication
  • Hallucinogens
  • Marijuana

The Impact of Mental Illness and Addiction on the Family

The impact of both mental illness and addiction can be significant, negatively impacting the individual’s family and the person. A dual diagnosis can affect a person’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings and can be detrimental to the family system.

Family members of loved ones with a mental illness or addiction problem are impacted in various ways. Family members:

  • Often feel ashamed or embarrassed by the behavior and actions of their loved one
  • Harbor self-blame and feelings of guilt for the challenges their loved one is facing
  • Have to adjust their expectations regarding the future and the future of the family as a whole
  • Experience feelings of grief
  • May have to take on more responsibilities because the family member is incapable of doing so
  • May find themselves having to take a caregiver role within the family because of the disorder

Why Family Therapy for Addiction

Challenges related to mental health and addiction don’t just impact the individual with the disorder, it affects the entire family system. Family therapy has a long history of use in treating mental health disorders. However, it has only been within the last several decades that family therapy has been included in the treatment of addiction and substance abuse. There are several different family therapy interventions with the same goal: to reduce conflict and distress by improving the interactions and communication among family members. Family therapy is vital in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. Family therapy helps the family unit respond to a family member experiencing a crisis and/or struggling with mental health, addiction, or medical problem.

Goals of Family Therapy

As previously stated, the overall goal of family therapy is to improve interactions and reduce distress in the family unit. Additional objectives for family therapy include:

  • Activating the family’s internal resources and strengths
  • Improving the family’s ability to problem solve and increase problem-solving behaviors
  • Restructure the negative interactions and communication within the family
  • Explore the interactions and underlying family dynamics and their relationship to mental health and addiction

Treatment Options

Family therapy is one component of a successful treatment plan. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental illness or addiction, help is readily available. Studies continuously show that therapy is effective in treating co-occurring disorders. More specifically, treatment helps individuals counteract the powerful effects of addiction and mental illness on their brains and behavior and helps them re-establish control over their lives.

At Camelback Recovery, we offer a variety of mental health and addiction treatment options to help you achieve your recovery goals. We offer programs for mental health, substance use, and dual diagnosis disorders. At Camelback Recovery, you can choose from a variety of treatment options, including:

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Sober living

Aside from medical detox, family therapy can be included in any treatment programs available as part of your treatment plan. You will work with trained mental and addiction professionals who can help you develop a treatment plan specific to you, your needs, and your treatment goals. You and your family don’t have to suffer any longer. Don’t wait to start your road to recovery. Compassionate admissions specialists are available to assist you right now. Call (833) -988-4025 today and begin your recovery journey.

Sources:

    1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/substance-use-and-mental-health
    2. https://medlineplus.gov/mentaldisorders.html
    3. https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions/co-occurring-disorders
    4. https://www.apa.org/topics/mental-health/serious-mental-illness
    5. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED491568.pdf
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7001353/
    7. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-effective-drug-addiction-treatment

Testimonials

Camelback Recovery’s mental health clinic and addiction treatment center provides treatment to residents across the state of Arizona and the greater Phoenix area which includes Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, and Glendale. Click the button below to read more testimonials from our happy and sober alumni.

Camelback recovery is amazing. The environment is great and welcoming. I highly recommend this place to anybody who is looking to better their life.

Joseph C

It was a really good experience! I made some stable friendships, had a lot of fun, and got to reside in an absolutely beautiful house.

Allie H