Addiction is a difficult disease that involves several different factors including biological, psychological and sociological aspects. Anderson (1997) states that substance use refers generally to the ingestion of illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, PCP, amphetamines, etc. The use of illicit drugs, such as alcohol and nicotine, are less frequently included in this definition, despite their widespread use and undisputed potential for harm. Substance abuse, however, is a more value-laden term which implies substance use, probably over time, which is somehow detrimental or harmful. Thus, substance use need not constitute substance abuse, although they often coexist. Wormer, Davis (2010) indicates that addiction is often defined as an illness not just of the individual but of the whole family. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that an estimated 22 million Americans age 12 or older suffered from substance dependence or abuse due to alcohol, illicit drugs or both.
There are many different social aspects for drug use and it presents a challenge to the stability and influence of any family. Wormer Davis (2010) states for every alcoholic, compulsive gambler, and cocaine addict, the lives of at least four other people are consistently altered. These other individuals may be in as much pain as the addict; they may also require help in how to deal with addict or with own powerful feeling. The family is often viewed as the basic source of strength, providing nurturer and support for its individual members as well as ensuring stability and generational continuity for the community and culture.
I believe that social aspects are critical to the client life success. We as rehabilitation counselors have to understand this principle and embrace it with the rehabilitation framework. This can be used as the stepping stone to better understanding the undertaking that the counselor will have to overcome. The social aspect is critical for a number of reasons. One reason is that as the foundation of the disability rights and independent living movement, the individual control has become a major issue. People with alcohol and drug addictions know their situations best and given the proper resources can make the best decisions about they need.
The individual control, however, has been compromised in those situations in which people cannot make the best decision for themselves. In these cases, parents, and relatives have to step in and assume the responsibility. In some situations a medical or clinician has to assume the responsibility concerning the needs to the individual with the alcohol and drug addictions.
The client has to understand that enabling is inherent part of alcohol and drug addictions. The family members that are constantly enabling the client are causing severe problems also.