While addiction treatment is usually an individual process, couples rehab can be effective for couples deeply committed to their relationship and their recovery. Therapies like behavioral couples therapy (BCT) attempt to restructure any dysfunctional interactions within the relationship to reduce bad habits and behaviors that lead to drug or alcohol abuse.
Couples And Addiction Treatment
Some addiction treatment facilities may offer rehab programs for couples or allow couples to enter treatment together. When both partners suffer from addiction and are committed to each other, couples rehab can be beneficial. Most treatment plans are highly individualized, so if it’s in both parties’ best interest to undergo treatment together, many rehab centers may be willing to accommodate.
In some cases, one partner may suffer from addiction while the other does not. Family, friends, and significant others play crucial roles in motivating their loved ones to enter addiction treatment. When a significant other becomes involved in their loved one’s treatment plan, treatment can be stronger and more effective in the long-term.
Whether both partners are addicted, or just one, couples rehab may or may not be a good idea.
Is Couples Rehab A Good Idea?
There can be drawbacks to couples rehab, and whether it’s a good idea depends on a variety of factors. Consider the following risks:
- Addiction treatment is a highly individualized process: Even if the couple is initially committed to each other and the idea of entering treatment together, they may progress differently, fall out of sync, or break up. This jeopardizes both partners’ chances of completing treatment and sustaining recovery.
- History of physical abuse or aggression: In these cases, it’s probably clear the couple needs help, but going to a rehab center together is not the solution. A likely better option is to refer an abusive partner to domestic violence treatment, while the partner suffering from addiction goes to a drug or alcohol rehab center on their own.
- One partner isn’t serious about treatment: Another risk of couples rehab is one partner triggering a relapse for the other. If one partner uses drugs or alcohol, it could negate any progress the other has made and increase the risk of relapse.
- Unhealthy or codependent relationship: One partner may be too passive to fully engage in treatment. They may be too focused on their partner’s recovery and not focused on themselves enough to be successful.
Because of these risks, many experts recommend individual treatment. However, if you and your loved one are committed to each other and want to engage in treatment together, some rehab facilities may accept couples.
Going To Rehab Together — How Does It Work?
Couples rehab is designed to treat substance abuse and addiction for married couples or committed couples living together. The course of treatment will depend on whether both individuals or just one are suffering from addiction. When both individuals suffering from addiction, they will likely begin treatment with a medically-supervised detox program.
While the specific steps of treatment will depend on both the couple and the rehab center, couples will likely have to undergo detox separately. A detox program ensures safety and comfort during withdrawal, can alleviate symptoms, and prepares a person for further addiction treatment.
After detox, and depending on the treatment center, couples will either share a room or stay in separate quarters. Most inpatient rehab centers offer short-term stays (30 days or less) or long-term stays (60 days, 90 days, 120 days, or longer). While more research is needed in this area, couples rehab can result in healthier relationships, prolonged abstinence, and a greater likelihood to finish and engage in treatment.
Treatment Methods For Couples
The most common form of addiction treatment is behavioral therapy, and the same is true for couples addiction treatment. For some addictions, like addiction to opioids or alcohol, medications can be used to lessen dependence and reduce cravings. Any medications a couple receives will likely be based on individual plans and individual needs. Therapy, however, can involve both partners and may occur 2-on-1 with a therapist, 1-on-1 separately, or together in group sessions.
Generally, there are a few therapies that may be used at couples rehab, including:
- Alcohol Behavioral Couples Therapy (ABCT): For people with an alcohol use disorder, ABCT assumes alcohol has directly damaged the relationship and this conflict has led to further alcohol use. ABCT uses problem-solving, communication, self-control, and a reward system to promote healthy lifestyles and help individuals remain alcohol-free in the relationship.
- Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT): BCT aims to reduce substance abuse by reworking dysfunctional interactions and helping the couple sustain healthy patterns long-term. This therapy can improve a couple’s relationship while also making efforts to change destructive patterns and behaviors that lead to substance abuse. BCT has shown to be more effective, for some couples, than individual or group counseling.
- Family Therapy: Similar to BCT, family therapy acknowledges that substance abuse affects every member of a relationship or family. When only one person is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, family therapy can help each partner, and any children, recover, heal, and make positive changes.
- Recovering Couples Anonymous (RCA) and other support groups: Support groups are likely offered in inpatient rehab programs as part of the therapeutic process, and RCA may be included. RCA is for couples in recovery and is based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. These support groups can be crucial for remaining sober and healthy after treatment.
Ongoing Care And Support
After treatment, maintaining ongoing support within the relationship can be the difference between remaining sober or falling victim to relapse. Through therapy, rehab centers for couples can help teach people how to be supportive, maximizing their chances of living a balanced and fulfilling life together in recovery.
Contact us today for more information on drug and alcohol rehab centers for couples.
DrugRehab.org—Couples Rehab: Benefits and Drawbacks
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—Alcohol Behavioral Couple Therapy, Family Therapy Can Help
U.S. National Library of Medicine—Behavioral Couples Therapies for Substance Abuse