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 / Therapies / Family Therapy For Addiction Treatment

Family Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Addiction and associated problems have always been a significant cause of family distress. Early behavioral and stress management helps in recovering from substance abuse. For severe cases of addiction, group therapies are scientifically proven to be quite effective.

What is Substance Use and It's Effects?

Substance use is the addition of medicinal or illegal substances to change mood and reduce depression. Some sleep medications, plant extracts, and synthetic chemicals like heroin and alcohol are most commonly used for addiction.

Substance use disorder describes the harmful effects of addiction on health. It includes mental illnesses, liver and heart diseases, and other serious problems. Not only that, but substance abuse also destroys the family and social life of the addict. For example, statistics from the National Institute of alcohol addiction and alcoholism show that in 2019, 85,688 people aged 12 and older died of liver diseases caused by alcohol alone.


Despite all the above issues, treating and recovering from addiction is not impossible. There are many ways in which an addict can return to everyday social and family life. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, recovery from addiction is possible through psychosocial and medicinal treatment.

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What is Family Therapy?

An important aspect of psychosocial therapy is family group treatment. Group therapies usually include social circles, like friends, families, and peers. Family therapy is being practiced worldwide in addition to the conventional unique therapy method. After all, we all are social beings, and getting support from our loved ones is always encouraging.

Family groups are significant for addicts of all ages to support a steady recovery. In addition, it is an effective way to succeed in substance abuse treatment. According to research, family therapy combined with medicinal treatment showed positive results in three stages; initial, working, and closing.

It is essential to know that family support groups focus on interpersonal relationships, home environment, and mutual understanding for the recovering individual. The word 'family' refers to close parents, siblings, and relatives, but sometimes work colleagues are also involved in family therapy.

Types of Family Group Treatments for Addiction

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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In family group treatment, signing a written contract is an innovative way to stop substance use. The counselor helps write rules for all members to make their home an addiction-free place.


This family group treatment allows the addict and family members to solve their problems. It concentrates less on the issue and more on ways to resolve conflict.



This strategy targets young people with addiction and involves parents. Parents of such family group therapy are asked to pay special attention to the needs of their recovering child.


Families who have previously faced addiction issues with their loved ones meet the recovering family.



For couples with substance users, the therapist provides ways in which one spouse can support the recovery of the other.

Importance of Family Therapy for Treatment

The feeling of closeness to family members during the initial stages of addiction therapy is significant. Some addicts might feel hesitant and unwilling to share personal details with family members, but with the help of a professional counselor, it becomes straightforward.


The counselor decides and directs the number of sessions the family members need. Social community members, like neighbors, religious figures, and teachers, play an essential part in group treatment.


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Benefits of Family Group Therapy

The following are some benefits of family group treatment in substance use:

Awareness About Recovery

It is common for an addict to hide feelings of sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness from family and friends. Family group treatment leads to a better understanding of the family and the patient's situation. In addition, awareness about substance use and associated complications like mental impairment leads to better recovery of the person involved.

The time taken for recovery can substantially decrease when a loved one is part of the therapy. The counselor guides and plans the discussion and activity routine of the addict. Social and Peer groups can also become a part of this process.

Better Communication Skills

Once the family therapy starts, there is a clear improvement in communication among all the people involved. Contact leads to the expression of hidden feelings of anger, regret, or fear. Inevitable financial failures cause people to misuse drugs, and speaking about such losses can be a source of relief. Talking and listening are two essential tools for a complete and stable recovery.

Communication can be direct or indirect; direct contact involves family group discussions, tours, and other physical activities. The indirect method includes letters, voice recordings, and assisted messaging between a family member and the recovering substance user.

Commitment to Recovery

Involvement of family and friends has shown promising results in family group treatment. Commitment to attending group meetings and practicing techniques at home can result in a speedy recovery. Substance abuse can be triggered by loneliness which can be addressed through the direct involvement of all family members, especially parents.


Young substance abusers have shown drastic improvement because they consistently showed up for a specific number of sessions. In addition, friends and peers proved to be a good source of group support for others. Nonetheless, family groups are better for the long-term sobriety of the addict.

Lessons Chances of Relapse

Going back to normal life activities can be overwhelming for the recovered person. In addition, environmental and occupational triggers may cause a relapse, which can be difficult for the family. Therefore, to overcome the chances of a relapse, the recovered person needs the continuous presence of the family or social group.


Planned meetups with friends and family are a good way in this regard. Thus the success of family group therapy depends on making lifestyle changes. A conservative attitude towards self-talk and self-worth should be practiced as part of recovery.

Healthier Lifestyle

Exercise, diet, meditation, and self-appreciation are essential steps in recovery. In addition, drinking water and eating nonfatty foods are reported to have detoxifying effects on the body after substance abuse. A healthier lifestyle also includes having positive people around. Family group therapy helps plan healthy meals together at least once a week.


To sustain a positive attitude, yoga and meditation are very effective. Sports are essential not only for mental health but also for muscle strength and building stamina. Deep breathing is also a good way for a recovering person to calm the nerves.




A connection to spirituality and praying can help in balancing family life. For example, families can pray together or visit some place of worship to bond with the recovering person. In addition, spirituality helps the person to be able to regain trust and start believing in the good of this world.


The bottom line is that family support can be life-changing for an addict who feels hopeless. People have lived healthy and happy lives after recovering from an addiction.


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What is substance abuse and it's effects?
What is family therapy?
Types of family group treatments for addiction
Importance of family therapy for treatment
Benefits of family group therapy
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