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Family Therapy in Arkansas
drug addict

Unless a drug or alcohol addict is living completely isolated from family and friends, their addiction will always affect those closest to them, and family therapy in Arkansas may be needed. Watching addicts gradually deteriorate and their lives descend to a living hell can be devastating for those who love them, and the addict is rarely the only one who needs help.

One of the most telling signs that a person is addicted is a denial that they even have a problem, and this can be extremely frustrating for those around them who can clearly see their problems are real and worsening. Family therapy in Arkansas can help families to cope with the situation better and teaches them how to best respond to the addiction and encourage the addict to accept treatment.


Roles Family Members Play in Addiction

Specialists in family therapy recognize a number of clearly-defined roles family members play when one member becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. These roles develop to help the affected family members cope with the painful conditions at home, but they can also inadvertently enable the addiction to continue. Family therapy in Arkansas helps family members to understand the roles each member is playing in the often complex family relationships. This can ease the anxiety, stress, anger, and guilt each family member may feel, and can also change the family dynamics in a more positive direction for everyone concerned.

One of the most important family roles is that of caretaker. This person takes responsibilities away from the addict, but this has the unwanted side effect of enabling addiction to continue by allowing the addict to avoid their responsibilities. The caretaker often makes excuses for the addict, and may also adopt the part of a “martyr” in the family.

Another role often taken by a family member is that of the lost child. This person withdraws from social interactions and may become lost in a fantasy world or absorbed in video or computer games or television to avoid interacting with others. Another member of the family may take on the role of scapegoat, who becomes angry, hostile, and negative, and who themselves may turn to abuse of alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex, or other dangerous behaviors.

The hero is another role. This person pretends everything is normal at home and that there are no problems. The hero experiences intense feelings of isolation and often deals with them by becoming a “workaholic” or an over-achiever at school or work. The youngest child of the family is often drawn towards the role of mascot. This is the clown of the family, who always makes jokes and tries to defuse the tension in the home and turn attention away from the addict by acting as the family comedian.

Examples of Family Therapy in Arkansas

Many therapies used in addiction are designed specifically for families. Family addiction support includes couples and family addiction counseling in or associated with rehabs or addiction treatment centers, 12-step programs geared to families, such as Alcoholics Anonymous for the families of alcoholics, Narcotics Anonymous for the families of people addicted to narcotics, and many others. 12-step family support groups hold regular meetings in Arkansas, and a list of meetings in the state is kept up-to-date at the ar.al-anon.alateen.org website. Another family therapy support group is SMART Recovery, which hosts regular online meetings and chats for Arkansas families. There is also a face-to-face meeting in Fayetteville for people associated with the University of Arkansas.

Getting Help

Many programs for family therapy in Arkansas encourage and support families of addicts even if the addict is not yet in treatment, but those participating in family therapy are more likely to succeed in persuading their loved one to accept help. To help your loved one, speak to an addiction specialist for more information.