Importance of Family Engagement During Substance Use Treatment

Family members play a critical role in the recovery of their loved one. Family engagement in a loved one’s substance abuse treatment and recovery process is a crucial component of comprehensive addiction treatment. Some addiction treatment centers have little to no family component while others have a limited family education piece. In most cases though, family involvement can be a highly advantageous tool to help “break the cycle” of addiction.

Many parents and family members are not aware of the destructive behaviors, such as enabling and codependency, that have contributed to their loved ones’ addiction. It’s important for family members to be provided with information from trained professionals so that they can assess their own role in the patient’s addiction.

Therapists often recommend that families attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon as a way to gain support and education about supporting, not enabling, their loved one. These, and other support groups, are also highly effective ways to help family members learn to set healthy boundaries as well as teach effective methods of holding the patient accountable for past and future actions.

How CaredFor Can Help Engage Families

With an app like CaredFor, treatment facilities can engage a patient’s family, making them part of the treatment plan, which helps them better understand addiction, what their loved one is going through and what their role in the patient’s addiction is. Families can receive coaching from therapists and staff on how to best support their loved one and themselves during treatment, increasing the chances of long-term recovery. This in turn creates a better environment for the patient and allows for a more supportive family structure and overall family healing.

The real-time, private and HIPPA-compliant messaging feature of the CaredFor app creates a strong clinical relationship with a patient’s family by providing instant response to their questions. This is especially helpful with defiant or resistant patients. That clinical/family relationship makes dysfunctional behaviors easier for family members to spot and harder for patients to continue, and patients are more likely to engage in treatment and achieve long-term recovery.

Engaging a patient’s family during treatment is vital and necessary to help the family heal and recover themselves. Many family members do not think that they have a problem or need treatment, but even the healthiest family structure can be affected by years of addiction and dysfunctional behaviors. Emotional strain, anxiety, fear and isolation that families suffer due to dealing with substance use can be overwhelming. The CaredFor app’s “resource” section grants families access to podcasts, articles, links, books, videos and other self-care and wellness resources. Video testimonials and staff interviews also provide educational content for families to continue learning about addiction

Families can also learn healthy behaviors, healthy boundaries and gain support from other families going through similar situations. The “Topics” section of the app provides a space for current families to engage in discussion around a specific subject. For example, “Think about your first visit with your child in treatment, what advice would you give to parents who are about to visit their loved one in treatment?” We see parents offering experience, strength, and hope to newer families by talking about their personal experiences with visitation. We also see newer families sharing their fears and anxieties about the first visit and asking additional questions. The result is a conversation rich with vulnerability that creates a deep sense of community among these families.