Substance abuse has been a serious menace facing the world as a whole and has proven to a challenge handling it (Lowinson, 2005). It has many adverse effects varying from social, economic and most importantly, physical. The effects are not only experienced by the active user of the substances but also by the family and the community as a whole. For this reason, substance abuse is considered a societal problem which requires combined forces to deal with it accordingly. This paper aims at showing the impacts of substance abuse on the dynamics and functioning of the family as well as showing ways in which family issues can be addressed in the quest for the substance abuse treatment. It also focuses on the association between domestic violence and substance abuse (Lowinson, 2005).
Substance abuse has a significant impact on the dynamics and functioning of a family in that it causes separation of spouses or divorce. This is harnessed by the constant deception, manipulation, and lies of the substance user to his or her family which causes immense hurt to the household members hence making them to grow the desire of cutting tires with them. Sustaining the urge of the abuse of the substances is very expensive based on the fact that these substance abusers may be jobless. It drives the abusers to engage in stealing from the family members and be over-dependent on them. As a result, it causes a financial distress to the family members.
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Family violence is often associated with substance abuse. It can be viewed in two ways: one, the abuse of substances leading to family violence. Two, family violence can result in the involvement in drug misuse by one of the family members. In the first instance, the perpetrators may have impaired judgment among other adverse effects which lead to family violence. On the hand, the constant family disagreements between the parents can result in drug abuse by the dependents or even the spouses (Lowinson, 2005).
Use of the illicit drugs by one of the family members usually leads to codependency, a condition characterized by mutually destructive habits and maladaptive coping strategies. The affected families reward the behaviors of the drug users believing that they might be doing it to help the abuser. Codependency makes the affected people cover up abuses which are as a result of drug addiction. Consequently, they end up placing other people’s needs before theirs which eventually causes them lose touch with who they are and find themselves in the same condition with those they are protecting (Barnard, 2007).
The family is the key role player in the treatment of the substance abuse hence it should adopt some mechanisms to help in the drug abuse treatment. One effective strategy is family therapy. This should be done regularly in the presence of all family members where all the issues concerning the family members can be addressed, and all the needs of the family members met. This mechanism effectively addresses the codependency issue. Sharing of responsibilities among the family members is also a tool that can be adopted so as to relieve pressure on one of them which pushes him or her in substance abuse. Finally, families should have secluded time for family bonding so as they can share among themselves and avoid the feeling of neglect. In particularly for the youths who often fall into drug abuse because of lack of guidance from their parents and the ever present feeling of neglect from the workaholic parents (Barnard, 2007).
Lowinson, J. H. (2005). Substance abuse: A comprehensive textbook . Philadelphia, Penns: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Barnard, M. (2007). Drug addiction and families . Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.