How Therapy Could Help Couples Impacted By Addiction

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If one partner is abusing or addicted to alcohol or other drugs, it may be true that your spouse isn’t the one in rehab, but chances are that the addiction has impacted your relationship and made it unhealthy in one or more ways. It has long been known that healthy relationships and substance abuse do not mix. Having a partner who consumes alcohol too much or uses other drugs is very much like throwing a stone into a still pond. Couples are frequently more miserable than partners who don’t have problems with alcohol or other narcotics, but who seek guidance for marital problems which may have a great deal of struggle in the relationship in the form of frequent arguments.

Partners impacted by substance abuse often experience:

  • Problems with confidence and sexual function in the relationship
  • Lack of interpersonal interaction
  • Increase in physical violence and verbal abuse
  • A lack of honesty or trust in the relationship
  • A parent who abuses alcohol and other drugs is 3 times more likely to sexually or physically abuse their kids
  • Abusing drug and alcohol has been found to co-occur in 40-60% of close partner violence conflicts crossed multiple studies.
  • Pattern of codependency
  • Economic problem

There are various fields of mental health, addiction therapy, couples counseling, and integrating modern research findings with knowledge from substance abuse counselors. There are a number of therapies that have been proven to be helpful and available for couples and their families who are dealing with an addiction.

“When you feel yourself becoming angry, resentful, or exhausted, pay attention to where you haven’t set a healthy boundary.” –Crystal Andrus                                                       

They can be classified into different categories:

1. Individual therapy

2. Family therapy

3. Addiction-focused couples therapy

Individual therapy

Individual therapy is often important for people with particular needs, especially helpful if there is a dual-diagnosis like co-occurring addiction, depression, social anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance use, and mental health problems will help from working long-term with an individual therapist. 

There are different types of individual therapy:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: 

This form of treatment helps a person to understand the behaviors connected with their addiction and show that destructive ideas can trigger the dependence. This therapy can aid to undermine healthy relationships and decision-making. By identifying these issues, the victim can also learn to avoid them or to prevent thoughts from turning into harmful behaviors.

2. Motivational Interviewing: 

This involves a structured interaction between the therapist and client. It is an empathetic, realistic, and short-term process that takes into consideration how difficult it is to change their behavior. This treatment is designed to help the victim understand how their addiction and  behaviors change how they are living right now; then, the therapist asks their patient to choose how they want to live in the future and, understanding themselves, express a responsibility out loud that has been shown to help develop a client’s ability to actually make those changes.

3. Psychodynamic therapy:

The techniques and theories that distinguish psychodynamic treatment from other types of therapy which include a focus on recognizing past experiences, unconscious feelings and beliefs, understanding, interpersonal interaction styles that shape behaviors, overcoming negative and repressed emotions in order to improve the patient’s communication between relationships.

Family therapy

Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy which discusses the behaviors of all family members and the way these behaviors influence not only individual family members but also ties between family members and the entire family. This therapy can aid family members to develop interpersonal interaction and resolve conflicts.

There are different types of Family therapy:

1. Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT):

BSFT is a family-based intervention, to prevent and treat child and adolescent drug use accompanied by other behavioral problems that change the family members’ behaviors that are associated with both risk and protective factors related to substance abuse.

• Joining—Assembles a  process of emotional and psychological healing with all family members

 The therapeutic method uses techniques of:

• Restructuring—It is the process of changing the family intercommunications that are directly linked to problem behaviors.

• Diagnosis—It identifies interactional patterns which allow or support problematic adolescent behavior.

2. Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT)

The CRAFT aims are to teach you how to encourage your substance client to overcome use and to enter into therapy. And, assisting them in improving strategies for their exchanges with that person; for example, helping them to communicate or to set up rewards for positive behavior. These techniques are proving beneficial for couples.

3. Matrix Model:

This treatment was introduced in the 1980’s and has seen widespread success. It designed to help in recovery from drug addiction like methamphetamine and cocaine. Since the therapy techniques of the Matrix Model are integrative, it utilizes specific perspectives of various beneficial therapy techniques including:

  • Motivational Enhancement
  • Couples, group, and individual  therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Supportive/ person-centered therapy
  • 12 steps program
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Relapse prevention

These are the therapies to learn about the processes that the brain reacts to substances and withdrawals, support in community-based interactive help groups and improvement of coping skills. 

Addiction-Focused Couples Therapy

Abusing drug and alcohol is negatively impacting family relationships and couple functioning. Problems presented by addiction can be aggravated by other issues present in a couple’s relationship. This tools therapy is to integrate an attachment-based focus towards dependence treatment at all stages from pre-contemplation where victims and their families often live on the addiction, through the contemplation state where one sees unhealthy protective mechanisms such as rejection and blame, and into the action of cleaning up or decreasing use while reengaging with loved ones. 

There are different types of Addiction-Focused Couples Therapy:

1. Alcohol Behavioral Couples Therapy (ABCT):

Outpatient therapy for people with substance use disorders and their loving partners. ABCT based on three techniques:

  • Couple conversation can be triggers for consuming alcohol
  • Reducing relationship anxiety lessens the risk for relapse
  • Positive close relationships are key to improving motivation to change from substance abuse behavior.

2. Behavioral Couples Therapy for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (BCT):

BCT develops relationship factors conducive to abstinence. A behavioral approach estimates that family members can reward sobriety and that alcohol- and drug-abusing patients can be happier with better interaction and can reduce the risk of relapse. BCT is based on the assumptions:

  • Improving couples-based methods when both partners use 
  • Reducing relationship distress decreases the risk for relapse
  • Adding parent skills practice to BCT
  • Exploring techniques of dissemination

Bottom line

These therapies are designed to discuss the specific issues family members and loved ones of the addicted person face and these treatments provide client’s programs to facilitate the rehabilitation process and address problematic behaviors affected by the addiction. You can implement those techniques or even can try some of the drug rehabilitation centers to win the battle of addiction. Also, couple’s mutual dedication to treatment helps to begin the healing process needed when dealing with abusing alcohol or other substance abuse disorders.

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