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The Impact Of Suicide And Drug Related Deaths On The Family

1901 words - 8 pages

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2011, the age adjusted death rate for the United States was 740.6 per 100,000 of the population. Presumably, some may consider this a problem when considering the impact on the bereaved. In particular, I wanted to look at families whose loss was contributed to suicide or a drug related death. The CDC also states, with approximately 4600 adolescent suicides each year in the United States, it is the third leading cause of death for that age range. Drug Overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2010, with it causing more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes (CDC Website). Families, who experience the loss of a loved one by suicide or death related to drugs, may feel stigmatized, blame themselves, or experience great grief and depression (Jordan, McIntosh, 2012). According to Webster, bereavement is described as being the entire experience of family members and friends in the anticipation, death and subsequent adjustment to living following the death of a loved one. When a family is in a period of bereavement, problems can arise in adaptation, individual experiences of grief, as well as alterations in relationships and living arrangements.

Bowen Family Systems Theory
As learned in class, Murray Bowen was a psychiatrist who studied the connection between families and their children with schizophrenia. His phrase “family emotional-system” describes a “guidance-system” that is the foundation for behavior. Bowen’s Theory helps to clarify past effects and how they impact a family’s life today. One key idea is that there are generational patterns that must be investigated and corrected; otherwise they are likely to occur in and will be second hand to future generations. His theory proposes that there are two life forces, togetherness and individuality, that atone for one another. These two forces determine how a person relates to each family member and how they contribute to the system. How families defuse the chronic “anxiety” that occurs with daily life would describe Bowen’s main focus. The Major Concepts covered in class were Triangles, Differentiation of Self, the Nuclear Family Emotional System, Emotional Cutoff, Family Projection Process, and Multigenerational Emotional Processes. Triangles can be defined as an emotional response to some type of anxiety between two people that causes them to reach out to a third party. This third entity is there to provide sympathy and to defuse the anxiety experienced between the other two parties or individuals. In addition to Triangles, “Differentiation of Self” is another key concept in Bowen’s Theory. This is when an individual has the ability to separate themselves in two ways, intellectually and emotionally. People who have differentiated themselves from his or her family of origin, reacts to situations intellectually instead of emotionally. Multigenerational Emotional Processes, originally called undifferentiated...

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