When you accept that substance abuse is an illness, it makes sense that the condition has a cause, possible contributing factors, and one or more symptoms. Since addiction doesn’t take place in a vacuum, the family of a person struggling with drugs feels the effects of the illness in a myriad of ways. Not surprisingly, effective relapse prevention frequently calls for the integration of family therapy.
Understanding the Problem of Relapse
Within many other branches of medicine, clinicians understand a relapse to be something that is beyond the control of a patient. When the focus shifts to a disease that features not just a health factor but also behavioral aspects, the understanding of what a setback means changes, too. No matter which condition a physician treats, relapse prevention is part of the protocol. If it does occur, however, the doctor doesn’t stop treating the disorder.
The same is true for addiction. Because the National Institute on Drug Abuse defines the struggle with addiction as a chronic disease, it also factors in the chance of a setback. In short, don’t see your or a loved one’s brief return to a drug as a signal of treatment failure. Instead, consider it an opportunity to tweak the therapy or approach the condition from a different angle.
Incorporating the Understanding of Trauma in Relapse Prevention Efforts
Of course, the best defense is still a good offense. It can be tremendously helpful for the clinician to work on dealing with trauma-related causes of addiction, which helps you or a family member to face the cause of the struggle with substance abuse. For example, if you’ve used alcohol to deal with work-related stress, a reason for the pressure may be performance anxiety. But unless you know what causes the fear and deal with it, peeling away only one layer of the problem doesn’t offer full relapse prevention.
How Does Family Therapy Fit In?
Incorporating a family program into the mix is another excellent method for setback proofing a person struggling with addiction. As we’ve noted already, addictive behaviors happen with other people, usually family members, around. That said, it’s noteworthy that dealing with trauma also happens within the confines of the family unit. When you combine these two treatment aspects, you’ve just added another dimension to relapse prevention.
- Addressing the root problem. When you know what’s at the source of any substance abuse problem, supporting the person struggling with the addiction becomes more action-oriented. Family members no longer feel helpless and afraid that something they say or do may cause a setback.
- Factoring in family trauma. Trauma intervention doesn’t just benefit the client. Her/His family members also suffered from trauma while dealing with the substance abuse and the personal, behavioral, and possibly legal troubles it brought on.
- Working through hurts and rejections. It’s impossible to address relapse prevention fully until we help heal the environment to which the person struggling with the addiction returns. If there are toxic relationships or enabling patterns of behavior, they quickly derail plans for continued sober living.
Relapse Prevention as a Concerted Action
If a loved one’s drug abuse affected you, you know that you cannot provide the nurture and care for the individual until you’ve had some time to heal as well. In the same way, the person working hard at overcoming an addiction realizes that actions and reactions have caused damage within a family structure that now needs repairs. When both the family and the individual work with the help of therapists to address trauma, handle grievances and chart a course for the future, you have a much better chance of avoiding a setback.
Finding Help is as Easy as Making a Call Today!
Healing Springs Ranch puts you in the unique position of addressing your abuse problem from the ground up. By incorporating multiple modalities, you receive support, encouragement, treatment, and assistance with coping mechanisms that aim for relapse prevention. You learn your limits, understand how to prevent falling back into destructive habits, and develop healthy habits to supplant bad ones.
But it all starts with a call to 866-656-8384. Don’t allow addiction to rob you and your family of another great day together. When you call us, we partner with you to give you a firm footing on the road to healing.