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Role of the family in treatment of mental health and co-occurring substance use
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Friday, August 31, 2018

Many children suffer from mental health issues and substance use disorder. While their treatment is essential, it should not be done in isolation. Community-based treatments that involve the family should be used. What is the role of the family? Why does the role of the family matter? Read ahead to find out.

What is the role of the family?

The individual does not exist in isolation. Their condition stems from multiple reasons and has an impact on multiple people — including their family. Families that participate in counseling as a whole, benefit as they can provide the support that is needed by the child to recover. When a suffering person understands that they are not alone, they get the strength to get better.

A family that attends therapy sessions also benefits by understanding what the patient is going through. Understanding the mental illness of a loved one can lead to better care for them. Without understanding the illness, a family member might be tempted to say things like “toughen up” or “snap out it,” which might lead to negative consequences for the individual.

Therapy sessions with families can teach the family as a whole how to communicate. Therapists take it upon themselves to teach family members about the loved one’s illness, its triggers, and its treatment.

The key to mental illness and addiction is management; when they are in an environment where they can manage themselves, they can enjoy a sense of wellbeing—which will increase the wellbeing of the entire families.

Families also help the therapist understand the problems at hand. The people who are the closest to the individual are the family members. Family members know how the patient feels after waking up, before sleeping, before eating, after eating, etc. They know their habits and their trigger points. They can give insight into their behavior, which can help the therapist understand the patient’s illness.

Why is the role of the family important?

Research has started highlighting the benefits of including family members in the treatment of substance use disorders with co-occurring mental illness. A study, published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, highlighted that when family or close friends are included in therapy, the risk of relapse decreases and the process of recovery is faster.

Because of the evidence that supports the role of family members in treatment, we provide family counseling for children who have mental illness with co-occurring substance use disorder. We opt for the STAR model as it increases the likelihood of long-term recovery.

For more information about our treatment programs for children and their families, calls us at 513.272.2800, or email us at childrenshome@tchcincy.org.



 
 

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