Addicted Families

Essay by kt0204University, Master'sA-, December 2007

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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 Behavior can range from loving to withdrawn to crazy.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...