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Substance Abuse Counseling for Couples by State

Substance Abuse Counseling for Couples by State

Substance Abuse Counseling for Couples in the United States

The overall purpose of couple’s therapy is to improve romantic relationships and resolve interpersonal conflicts between couples. Couple's therapy does have a long history going back to the 1930s, and to this day it is still widely used as part of drug and alcohol treatment. Many people who attend drug treatment in the United States have a significant other that is directly impacted by the other's substance abuse problem. Alcohol and substance abuse disorders will severely take down the strong foundations of a healthy relationship. The spousal relationship is often first to suffer, but fortunately, there are more and more couples and family-based treatment options available throughout the United States. Drug and alcohol addiction affects many families throughout the United States, which does include couples. Roughly 26 million Americans ages 12 and older are struggling with a substance abuse problem. More than 10% of children in the United States live with a parent who has an alcohol problem. Very often, couples who do marry early are more likely to abuse substances or engage in individual substance abuse.

When two people are living together, and one of them has a substance abuse problem; the domestic life will frequently become chaotic, and even dangerous. Living with continuous drug and alcohol abuse will create a variety of negative social, psychological, and physical conditions. For example, when the significant other is using drugs and alcohol, it will wreak havoc on the finances, as all the funds that may be allocated to household expenses become put towards alcohol and substances. The spouse may begin to steal money or sell things, and they may begin to experience problems at work, and eventually lose their job. The same can be said for a couple that is using drugs together, this relationship is only based on convenience for one another, and feeding off each other's addiction. When a spouse is often confronted about the drug or alcohol use, they will tend to become angry and attempt to hide the problem. An argument with a significant other who is using drugs and alcohol will escalate quickly and sometimes will escalate into violence. Many studies and statistics have shown that roughly 25 to even 50% of the domestic violence between couples will be linked to a substance abuse problem.

The other members of the family who live within the household will begin to accommodate the individual’s addiction to avoid conflict. Essentially it can be a form of enabling, not recognizing the addiction, but covering up the tracks of the one who is using drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse among couples often becomes a relationship of co-dependency, with the sober spouse enabling and supporting the addicted spouse. Many couples will find that they will become socially isolated and will create a feeling of loss as their relationship deteriorates. Everyone else around the couple will also begin to suffer, and the addiction increases the burdens placed on other members from the family. Throughout the United States are treatment options for couples who are battling drug and alcohol addiction. There are several proven therapies such as general couple's therapy, and addiction-focused couple's therapy. An addiction-focused couples therapy, such as alcohol behavioral couples therapy, can be an outpatient treatment for individuals with an alcohol use disorder, who are in a relationship. Most therapists will look at the couples’ interactions, which can be triggers for drinking, and positive intimate relationships, which will be important to help motivate someone to change.

There is also behavioral couple's therapy for alcoholism and drug abuse, where the therapist will help the couple understand they can reward each other's abstinence from drugs and alcohol. They can also reduce relationship distress while decreasing the risk for relapse, and in this case, the therapist will often work with both people in the relationship together. Couple's therapy also integrates cognitive-behavioral therapy or integrated behavioral couple's therapy. There is also emotionally focused couple's therapy, which focuses on the emotions as the agent for change, and helps couples identify, experiences, and regulate their individual emotions. Group therapy can also be effective for couples who are struggling with substance abuse. Drug and alcohol addiction within a relationship will be devastating, and it will be important to get the proper help quickly.