Help for Friends & Family with Behavioral Health or Addiction Issues

Substance abuse, addiction, mental illness, and behavioral health disorders can have a profoundly negative impact on both the substance and quality of an individual’s life. Physical harm, psychological damage, destroyed relationships, financial damage, and loss of independence are just some of the many ways that these challenges can affect an individual.

But the suffering hardly stops there.

When a person has been abusing alcohol or other drugs, or has been struggling with mental or behavioral health issues, he or she is not the only one whose life is disrupted. These challenges can also inflict tremendous harm on family members, close friends, and others who care about and/or depend upon the afflicted individual.

At Acadia Healthcare, we understand the many ways that friends and family members are impacted by the disorders that affect the individuals that we treat. We also appreciate the significant role that friends and family members can play in supporting their loved one’s ongoing recovery. As a result, we are proud to incorporate a variety of family support elements into treatment at programs throughout our international network.

Our commitment to family support begins even before a person enters treatment at one of our programs. Members of our admissions and intake teams are happy to speak with friends and family members who contact our programs to inquire about treatment options for a loved one, or to discuss the various services that we offer. Once the admissions process has begun, we also welcome the involvement of parents, spouses, and others who are significant in the lives of those who are receiving care. Their insights can help us to develop an effective treatment plan, and their presence may have a calming and reassuring effect as their loved one prepares to begin treatment.

Once care has begun at an Acadia-affiliated program, family support may take many forms, including the following:

Parent support: When a child or adolescent enters treatment with us, we work diligently to ensure that parents or guardians retain an active positive presence in their child’s life. Starting with the admission process and continuing through discharge, we want parents to know that they have an essential role to play in their child’s treatment, and we want to equip them with the skills and strategies that will allow them to best support their son or daughter both while he or she is in our care and after he or she has returned home. Parents receive regular updates on their children’s therapeutic and academic progress, and family therapy sessions are incorporated into all treatment plans for children and adolescents. These sessions, which may be conducted in person or over the phone, provide a structured and supportive forum in which parents and children can openly and honestly address the issues that have prevented them from functioning as a healthy family unit and can develop more productive ways of interacting with each other going forward.

Family therapy: Family therapy is not limited to parents who have children or adolescents in treatment at an Acadia center. Adults who are healing with us are also struggling with issues that have impacted and been impacted by the lives of their loved ones, and family therapy can be an essential component of a successful treatment experience. Depending upon the specific relationships of adults in treatment, family therapy sessions may involve their parents, spouses, partners, close friends, and/or children. As is the case with similar sessions for children and adolescents, family therapy for adults and their loved ones is typically designed to achieve three general objectives:

  • To provide a structured and supportive forum in which family members, close friends, and other loved ones can address the way that their lives have been impacted by the actions, behaviors, decisions, and disorder(s) of the individual in treatment
  • To help heal wounds and divisions that may have occurred among the participants, and to help them learn how to function in a healthier, more productive, and unified manner for the benefit of them all as individuals and for the family as a whole
  • To teach loved ones how to provide the support that their loved one will need to successfully pursue long-term recovery after he or she has completed treatment and has returned home.

Family education: Many Acadia programs also offer educational services to improve loved ones’ ability to understand what the individual in treatment has been experiencing, and what they can expect both during and after his or her time in treatment. Family education may be conducted via in-person group sessions, over the phone, or via resource materials that are provided to family members. Examples of topics that may be included in family education sessions include the disease model of addiction, the impact of addiction on the family, and specific information about a particular mental health or behavioral health disorder.

Family support: Just as we understand that treatment is just one component in the long-term recovery process for the afflicted individual, so too do we realize that family members may benefit from ongoing support as they deal both with their own issues and the challenges posed by their loved one’s disorder and recovery. For that reason, many Acadia programs will introduce family members to support organizations and similar community-based resources that are located near where they live. Though these support services may not be affiliated with Acadia Healthcare, we understand the importance of ensuring that family members have access to such resources, and we are proud to provide referrals and similar introductions for the betterment of those we treat and their loved ones.

For more information about how Acadia is uniquely prepared to help friends and family members of individuals who are cared for at our programs, please contact us at your convenience. We look forward to answering all of your questions and helping you determine if an Acadia program is the perfect place for you or for a loved one.

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