How the family system can make or break recovery

Karen Khaleghi, PhD, explains how family dynamics affect the recovery of drug and alcohol-addicted teens
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How the family system can make or break recovery

One of the most important parts about sustaining recovery within a family, is understanding the family system, the family's way of operating and relating to each other. Most frequently over time, if you've had a child who has deveoped a problem with drugs or alcohol, they have become what we call the Identified Patient. All of the negative energy, all of the angst, the anger, the resentment, the regret, is all focused on that one person within that family. And when they become clean and sober, which is the goal, suddenly there's a change in dynamics, and there can be a big pressure within the family to have that person continue to be the identified patient even after they have maintained sobriety. And that's a very strong pull. We want them to continue to be that same person because that's where the family lets off steam. That's where the family has directed their anger and angst. So it really takes through the process of recovery for that family to understand what that dynamic is and how they can integrate that person back into the famly in a healthful way. How can that person no longer be the identified patient? The same is true of a spouse. If that spouse has been the one that's always drunk at party functions, there's going to be a desire to have them pull off that same drunken state because that's what we're used to. So we have to really look at the family dynamic and help them to come back in, in a healthy state.

Karen Khaleghi, PhD, explains how family dynamics affect the recovery of drug and alcohol-addicted teens


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Karen Khaleghi, PhD

Co-founder of Creative Care Malibu

Dr. Karen Khaleghi is a pioneer in the field of dual diagnosis, or co-occurring drug and alcohol addiction along with mental health disorders. As one of the co-founders of Creative Care in Malibu and co-author of The Anatomy of Addiction, Dr. Karen speaks to parents and organizations about the formation of addiction, the critical aspects of nature and nurture and the resulting disconnection between emotions and behavior as well as the genesis of addiction and the path to recovery, a process she calls "connecting the dots." 

There are many things that set Dr. Karen Khaleghi apart from others including her individualized treatment approaches and excellent treatment facility Creative Care which is filled with clinical staff comprised of professionals that offer the highest standard of care in the industry. Karen graduated from California Graduate Institute with her Ph.D in 1989 and lives in Los Angeles, CA with her loving husband and children. Dr. Karen Khaleghi has been featured on The Today Show, KCAL 9, Dr. Phil and many others!


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