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Incorporating family into addictions treatment

"Addiction is a family disease. One person may 'use' but the whole family suffers." This well-known quote rings true for households the world over.

Many of the Addiction Treatment Programmes offered at Priory incorporate a Family Programme as part of the therapeutic recovery process.

Angie Cullen, Family Programme Manager, set up this service at The Manor Clinic in Southampton five years ago, alongside Hospital Director Jane Willett.

"It is never just one person impacted by addiction - we feel that our Family Programme can help the healing process for our patients' families, which in turn can help to repair relationships and support networks for our patients," Angie explains.

The Manor Clinic runs their Family Therapy Programme fortnightly; they also provide 24/7 phone support to loved ones.

"It's really important to many family members that they are involved in the treatment process - it can help them to understand what their loved ones are going through," Angie said.

The majority of patients at The Manor Clinic have family, friends, or employers who attend the Family Therapy Programme.

"The patients themselves don't attend. The purpose of the group is mainly to educate, inform and support loved ones.

"We discuss the disease concept of addiction, The Minnesota Model of treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Step Programme."

The programme also outlines what patients do in treatment and what they need to do upon discharge, and offers relapse prevention advice including how to cope if their family member does relapse.

The Manor Clinic's Family Therapy Programme is well established and helps to solidify strong links with programme co-ordinators, and the alumni and their family. Many of these bonds between staff and ex-patients are long standing, particularly as they offer an Aftercare Programme to all patients for life.

Read more to gain further advice on the first steps of helping a loved one with an addiction, methods of intervention and how to start the conversation about addictions treatment with family members.

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