Addicted Families Essay

1550 words - 6 pages

Substance Abuse Treatment for Addicted FamiliesSubstance abuse is one of the most widespread disorders that Americans are faced with. It is a disorder that affects people from all walks of life and cuts across all gender, racial, religious and socioeconomic barriers. For so many who suffer from addictions they do not ever get a change to receive the help they want or need. Things like movies, television, the media and celebrities do not help matters by glamorizing addiction. Many times we don't get to see the whole picture, just how devastating an addiction can be not only on the individual but on the family as well.Much of the research on addictions and families centers around how one individuals addiction effects the family system as a whole. While this is important information for those treating addictions to possess the research is lacking in the area of multigenerational substance abuse. More and more we are seeing families as a whole that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. We are plagued by whether this is a biological connection or a learned environmental one. Either way it is important for us as therapists and helping professionals to be prepared to treat addicted families or at least know who can.From prior research we already know just how much addictions can affect the family. Addictions within the family can lead to conflicts, abuse, loss of employment, illegal behaviors, poor parenting, neglect and much more. Family life can be characterized by chaos and unpredictability especially for children. It is estimated that over 300,000 children live with a family member suffering from an addiction (Brancroft et al). Behavior can range from loving to withdrawn to crazy. Structure and rules may be either nonexistent or inconsistent. Children, who may not understand that their parent's behavior and mood is determined by the amount of alcohol or other drugs in their bloodstream, can feel confused and insecure. They love their parents and worry about them, and yet feel angry and hurt that their parents do not love them enough to stop using. The addictions can also cause children to act out, have difficulties in school, feel ashamed, and have peer difficulties. (Rotunda et al). Many kids who grow up in this type of environment blame themselves for their parent's substance abuse. Some children try to control the drinking or drug use by getting all A's, or keeping the house clean, or getting along perfectly with their siblings. Others withdraw, hoping not to create any disturbance that might cause a parent to drink or use. Few realize that children cannot cause a parent to drink or use drugs, nor can they cure a parent's substance problem (Rotunda et al).For some children who grow up in an environment with drugs and alcohol and see the negative effects it is enough for them steer clear as they get older. They understand that this life style is unhealthy and destructive and they want to do better for themselves. But other youth view it differently...

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