Addiction and Family Systems

Addiction not only negatively impacts the drug or alcohol dependent individual, but it also can have detrimental consequences for the entire family. As long as an addicted person is suffering, their entire family is suffering. Nearly one third of American families have a member with a substance abuse problem, with over one fourth of that population being within the immediate family (such as parent or sibling).  Many addiction professionals consider treatment of the entire family to be a critical and beneficial part of the overall healing process.  At Passages, we understand the damage that addiction can have on family systems, which is why we incorporate marriage and family therapy as a primary part of our treatment program.  In households with either one or more addicted family member, there are more instances of medical problems, depression, anxiety, divorce, domestic violence, and child abuse.  Individuals who are married to an addict are more likely to suffer from stress, depression, anxiety, and more frequently engage in adultery. Children with addicted parents more frequently have behavioral as well as academic problems, and suffer from low self esteem.  These behavioral patterns continue into adulthood, as grown children of addicts often suffer from depression and more frequently have relationship problems and problems with the law.  Once an addicted individual gets into treatment, active participation in family therapy can help the entire family heal and slowly begin to reverse these negative effects.  At Passages Malibu, our marriage and family therapists help individuals rebuild their family systems, as well as provide preventative education, counseling and support to help avoid any more patterns of family substance abuse in the future.