Family history plays a central role in the risk of developing an addiction. In fact, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence ranks it as the most reliable risk indicator for someone developing a substance abuse disorder in their lifetime. A person’s environment certainly plays a role. However, researchers continue to find more and more links in genetics and family history.
Family History and Addiction
Genetics are one element of family history that is relevant to future risks for addiction. Research has pinpointed various genes that are related to the process of addiction. For example, a person’s genes can influence how they metabolize alcohol, predisposing them towards addiction. However, genetics are not the only factor when considering family history and addiction.
Other family history risks include the level of familial dysfunction, mental health disorders among parents, and substance abuse disorders among parents. In addition, the family plays a central role in childhood development and support. Thus, it is essential to widen the net to include related contributors to risk for an individual, such as:
- A lack of social skills
- Minimal or absent support network
- A history of trauma or abuse
- Mental health disorders
- Easy access to drugs or alcohol through family members or relatives
Reducing addiction risk is possible through careful planning and watchfulness. A few strategies to reduce the risk of people in your family developing an addiction are:
- Participating in drug prevention programs through school or the workplace
- Treating mental health seriously and seeking high-quality care when necessary
- Avoiding associating with heavy drinkers or drug users
How Does Family Counseling Work?
Addiction treatment providers view healing and recovery as something best conducted in a community instead of as an isolated endeavor. That’s why so many treatment plans include group therapy and family therapy components. For patients with family histories of addiction, family counseling is often a critical element in recovery.
In contrast to individual therapy, family counseling aims to repair interpersonal damage between family members, open productive lines of communication, and clarify healthy boundaries and roles in the family unit. In the context of addiction treatment, family therapists will target the root causes of addiction within a family. They will seek to unearth how addiction has embedded itself in a family and support each family in developing the tools, skills, and strategies for eliminating addiction from their lives.
Four components make up a productive family counseling experience. Each is explored in brief detail below:
1. Family Engagement
Family engagement is a necessary initial step that tries to ensure equal investment and presence from the family members who have been affected by addiction.
2. Relational Reframing
Relational reframing focuses on moving participants away from blaming individual failings and toward understanding addiction in the context of damaged relationships.
3. Family Behavior Change
Family behavior change attempts to fundamentally alter the habits and behaviors of each family member in ways that promote sobriety and productive cooperation.
4. Family Restructuring
Family restructuring involves changing the underlying beliefs that rule the family unit and clarifying boundaries and family dynamics to promote healing.
Family Addiction Therapy Program
Georgia Addiction Treatment Center’s family addiction therapy program emphasizes family involvement to produce successful outcomes. People struggling with addiction have a better chance of achieving sobriety when people they care about are involved in the process and walk alongside them.
Frequently, addiction treatment aims at producing holistic healing that also targets someone’s mental health. Mental health is greatly influenced by the health and wellness of a family. So undoing addiction’s damage to inter-family relationships can pave the way toward lasting recovery.
Discover healing that touches your entire family by reaching out to 833.641.0661.