Families are not tools in the treatment process

Prioritising the needs and wellbeing of families impacted by drug and alcohol addiction.
Written by Diane Sharples

Prioritising the needs and wellbeing of families impacted by drug and alcohol addiction.

A recent article in The Guardian discussed the well-known importance of ongoing support from family and professionals in the recovery of people who relapse during drug and alcohol treatment. Individuals benefit hugely from family involvement, but we also understand the huge toll on the health and wellbeing of families who care for loved ones with addictions.

The benefits of family support

Government strategies and agendas recognise the part families play in encouraging and maintaining engagement in treatment and services. This family care is estimated to amount to some £750,000,000 in economic savings that would otherwise fall on the health and social care sector.

The support of family members improves recovery outcomes, reduces the likelihood of involvement in criminal and anti-social behaviours and cuts mortality risk. This has far-reaching benefits for individuals and communities and reduces the burden on services such as the NHS, social services and policing.

The negative impact on families

Family members are usually primarily focused on supporting their loved one’s treatment and recovery. They are often significantly negatively impacted by their situations but typically put their own needs last. Family members report experiencing stigma and isolation. They also report disruption to their daily lives, a decline in mental and physical health, financial struggles and childcare issues as a consequence of their loved one’s behaviours.

Advocating for families

At Emerging Futures, we understand the importance of placing family members at the centre of their loved one’s care, however, we aim to encourage families to put themselves first, as we recognise the impact this has on their own health and wellbeing. We provide professional, compassionate support that helps families build their resilience and develop new ways of coping with their challenges. Our family coaching model, led by a team of Family Coaches with lived experiences, encourages families to gain new perspectives, exercise choice and feel more in control.

Ultimately this leads to the same outcomes for the individual in treatment, but prioritising family care means we can ensure family members leave us feeling like individuals deserving of support and not just tools in the treatment process.

If you enjoyed this article, read more about how Emerging Futures approach family support here