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Family Involvement Indispensable in Addiction Treatment

“Approximately 21 million people in the United States have a substance use disorder (SUD); the number of family members impacted by a loved one’s SUD is exponentially greater,” wrote Alicia Ventura, MPH, and Sarah Bagley, MD in the Journal of Addiction Medicine in 2017.

Affected family members of individuals with SUDs are at high risk for developing chronic medical and psychiatric health conditions, are high utilizers of the healthcare system, and have high healthcare expenditures. Family members play a central role in the lives of many individuals with SUDs; information given to family members can have a significant impact on persons with addiction and therefore the SUD treatment that an individual might receive.” 

Evidence-based interventions targeting affected family members have been shown to: 

  • improve health outcomes for all family members 
  • result in better addiction treatment outcomes 
  • prevent adolescent substance use 

“The effects of a substance use disorder (SUD) are felt by the whole family,” wrote Lander, Howsare, and Byrne in their 2013 study on the impact of addiction on families. “Each family and each family member is uniquely affected by the individual using substances… Thus, treating only the individual with the active disease of addiction is limited in effectiveness.”

“Despite the potential for family members to move the needle on the country’s current addiction crisis, they remain an underutilized resource,” concluded Ventura and Bagley. At The Blanchard Institute, family participation in the treatment of the identified patient is far from underutilized, it is central to the recovery process. 

Our family-centered approach is rooted in the belief that sustainable recovery is most effectively achieved when families are actively involved. This approach is based on the understanding that addiction is a systemic issue that influences and is influenced by family dynamics.

Our comprehensive family program is designed to integrate families into the recovery process from the very beginning. We offer a structured blend of therapy sessions, educational workshops, and support groups that involve family members throughout the treatment journey.

“Blanchard offers more than just a treatment experience. It’s a relationship. Patients are with us for several months and families are really required to participate as much as the identified patient. With us, family involvement is more like family restructuring or realignment.” 

Founder and CEO Ward Blanchard.

Most outpatient programs overlook the fact that most clients spend the rest of the day after their treatment sessions in their family’s sphere of influence. “How can you understand a client as a clinician if you don’t understand that environment?” asks Blanchard. “So, we really mandate family involvement.”

Family members need to understand the complexities of addiction and their role in the recovery process. “Family members are trauma survivors,” explains Blanchard. They are encouraged to participate in developing individualized treatment plans, offering insights that might enhance the care provided. This collaboration ensures that the treatment strategies are comprehensive and consider all aspects of the patient’s life, including family relationships.

“We don’t just treat individuals with addiction, we have family success plans,” says Blanchard. 

The Blanchard Institute cultivates a safe, comfortable environment for clients and their families across North Carolina. Our recovery management and alumni programs support a life-long recovery. Your journey to recovery doesn’t end with day or outpatient treatment, once you’re with Blanchard, we’re always there for you.

Our admissions process is discrete, confidential, and non-invasive. Call us at (704)  288-1097—our experienced admissions specialists will guide you through the process and treat you with the dignity and compassion you deserve.

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