Addiction Dilemmas: Family Experiences from Literature and Research and Their Challenges for Practice

Addiction Dilemmas: Family Experiences from Literature and Research and Their Challenges for Practice

Addiction Dilemmas: Family Experiences from Literature and Research and Their Challenges for Practice

Addiction Dilemmas: Family Experiences from Literature and Research and Their Challenges for Practice

Synopsis

Addiction Dilemmas explores the impact of addiction on those closest to the individuals affected and their families. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the book discusses the stresses and strains that family members are subjected to, the dilemmas that they face, and the coping strategies that they have found useful.
  • Draws on a unique breadth of material to illustrate the dilemmas faced by family members in coping with a close relative's addiction
  • Raises questions and points to controversies rather than dispensing prescriptive "one size fits all" advice
  • Brings together accounts from research interviews, biography, autobiography and relevant fiction in a creative and original way
  • Tackles common misunderstandings at public, practitioner, scholarly and policy levels about the predicaments that family members commonly find themselves in
  • Each chapter closes with a commentary, questions and exercises designed to further develop understanding for professionals and students

Excerpt

Addiction, in its various forms, is unfortunately extremely common. Because people who are themselves addicted usually experience a mixture of confusion, guilt, shame and depression about their addiction, and because they are often ambivalent about seeking help and changing, the problem is in large part a hidden one. The availability of treatment is at best patchy and in many parts of the world is virtually or completely absent. The hidden nature of the problem is further compounded when it comes to family members who are affected by the addiction of a close relative. It is those family members – the partners, parents, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, grandmothers and others – who are the principal protagonists of the chapters of this book. Their problems come to light only with great difficulty. For them the barriers that stand in the way of obtaining help are multiplied by many factors. The latter include lack of awareness of any help that might be available to them, the sense of shame at having such a problem in the family, a fear of gossip, ridicule or criticism by others, a belief that such problems should be dealt with within the family, and a lack of trust in the services that do exist.

That fear of criticism and lack of trust in services may, sadly, have been well placed in the past. Even when services have been alert and responsive to problems of addiction they have tended to ignore the fact that addiction often profoundly affects the lives and health of close family members. Family members have mostly been on the periphery in addiction treatment services. Even worse, when professional attention has focused at all on . . .

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