How Family Education Can Influence Addiction Recovery

How Family Education Can Influence Addiction RecoveryWatching your child succumb to addiction is heartbreaking. Whether your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the end result is the same: Your loved one is held hostage by a substance that threatens his or her relationships, finances, health and future. Understandably, many parents feel helpless as they watch the tragedy unfold; however, the truth is that parents are extremely helpful. In the battle against addiction, parents stand in a powerful position to fight for their children if they arm themselves with the facts about the dangers of drug abuse and options for recovery.

Family Bonds: The Addiction Antidote

The connection between family relationships and substance abuse has been well documented. According to a study published by the Drug and Alcohol Review, parents play a key part in both preventing and intervening with substance abuse. Specific findings include the following:

  • The closeness of a parent-child bond discourages drug use both directly and through impact on choice of non-using friends
  • Quality family cohesion suppresses initial levels of use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana
  • Consistent child-management practices (e.g. rewards and punishments) increase family attachment and decrease delinquent behaviors among children
  • Parental supervision can delay or prevent the onset of drug use

For many parents, a child’s addiction is a wake-up call that reveals family problems they had previously not recognized. National Institute on Drug Abuse research findings about the value of family education are particularly hopeful for this group. In a study of several types of family-based prevention approaches, including in-home family support, behavioral parenting training, family skills training, family education and family therapy, the authors found that family-centered approaches had an effect two to nine times greater than approaches that were solely child focused.

A similar study conducted by Great Britain’s National Criminal Justice Reference Service found that effective prevention work equipped families in the following three ways:

  • Boosting skills needed to develop family cohesion, clear communication patterns, high-quality supervision and conflict resolution
  • Substance related skills to inform parents about modeling correct behaviors and attitudes
  • Confidence building skills to enable parents to communicate effectively about drugs

One protective factor that has been shown to positively impact a child’s use patterns is help-seeking behavior. Families that seek assistance from recovery centers teach their children valuable lessons about the importance of reaching out in times of crisis.

Resources: Connecting Families to Recovery Communities

One empowering step parents can take is to utilize available resources. Connecting with outside groups and organizations not only expands opportunities for your child to get help but also widens your parental base of support. Several options to consider include the following:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides locations of residential, outpatient and hospital inpatient treatment programs for drug addiction and alcoholism throughout the country. This information is also accessible by calling 1-800-662-HELP.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) offers help with a host of issues, including drug and alcohol abuse, and can connect individuals with a nearby professional.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America are alliances of nonprofit, self-help support organizations for patients and families dealing with a variety of mental disorders.
  • Faces & Voices of Recovery is an advocacy organization for individuals in long-term recovery that strategically plans ways to reach out to the medical, public health, criminal justice, and other communities to promote and celebrate recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs
  • The Partnership at Drugfree.org is an organization that provides information and resources on teen drug use and addiction for parents in order to help them prevent and intervene in their children’s drug use or find treatment for a child who needs it. They offer a toll-free helpline for parents (1-855-378-4373).
  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine is a society of physicians aimed at increasing access to addiction treatment. Their website has a nationwide directory of addiction medicine professionals.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s DrugPubs Research Dissemination Center provides booklets, pamphlets, fact sheets and other informational resources on drugs, drug abuse and treatment.

Connecting to a recovery community can make facing a child’s drug or alcohol problem feel less overwhelming. Breaking isolation by reaching out is a powerful tool to help every person whose life has been touched by addiction.

Siblings: An Important Part of the Equation

Although the family member involved in active addiction often receives the most parental focus, it is important to remember that substance abuse affects everyone, not just the person who uses. In fact, modeling of drug use by siblings is a better predictor of a younger child’s drug use than parental use.

Taking the time to educate siblings who may be observing a brother or sister’s crisis may help them see addiction as a warning sign for their own lives. Important topics to address with sisters and brothers include the following:

  • Basic concepts of substance abuse
  • Effects of substance abuse
  • What to expect as their sibling recovers
  • How the family can help by avoiding enabling behaviors
  • How family members can heal by joining support groups such as Al-Anon

Addiction recovery is stronger when every family member is involved.

Help for Addiction

If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery counselors are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to guide you to wellness. They can discuss your options with you and help you explore affordable, effective treatment plans. Don’t go it alone when support is just one phone call away. Start your recovery now.

Are you ready to seek treatment?

If you are ready to beat a Xanax addiction and start a new life in recovery then we can help. We have admission counselors standing by 24 hours a day to take your email, live chat request, or phone call to get you in the addiction treatment center that best fits your unique & specific needs.