Treatment of substance abuse is a complex process that involves research and proper knowledge of the subject or victim of drug abuse. Reflectively, the process is intrinsic of background research, establishing current dynamics, and designing the right treatment.
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Thus, this reflective treatise attempts to explicitly explore on the importance of examining family history in prescribing treatment for substance addiction. Besides, the paper explores the effects of addiction on development of children.
In addition, the treatise offers a comparison between the behavior of ‘a child of an addict’ and ‘an adult child of an addict’ in order to establish appropriate approaches for offering counseling for each of these cases.
Importance of Family History/Dynamics in Treatment of an Addiction
Human beings function on thoughts, behavior, and feelings which are part of the building blocks of a family.
Every substance addict belongs to a family. In order to offer a comprehensive family therapy treatment of a substance addict, it is important to establish the state and history of the family, so validate the possible effects of disorders such as social stigma, parent neglect, and general misunderstandings which push a member to resort to substance abuse.
For instance, domineering mothers or despondent guardian are likely to create an environment of anxiety and low self esteem among their children and eventually dispose them to substance abuse.
Besides, a long history of overindulgence in alcoholism, crime, and aggressiveness in parents is likely to motivate low tolerance to distracters and frustrations among children.
As a result, the children may become poor in stress management, communication, and easily influenced by peers into substance abuse (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress 2010). When this is unchecked, addiction may take control of the life of such an individual.
Family dynamics are critical in understanding the origin and persistence of an addiction to substance such as alcohol and other drugs. Thus, understanding these dynamics may facilitate prescription of the right treatment for an addiction within the most appropriate method.
For instance, in a family that is a victim of alcohol addiction, issues such as lack of support from either of the partners and personality variances are mostly blamed for the addiction (Craig 2004).
In most instances, a father addicted to alcohol blames the nagging or abusive nature of the wife as the sole instigator of his addiction. On the other hand, the wife would portion blame to irresponsibility, insensitivity, lack of support, and indecisiveness.
As opined by Savage and White (2001), “neurotic, sexually repressed, dependent, man-hating, domineering, mothering, guilty and masochistic, and/or hostile and nagging” (2001) partner would likely influence an addiction as a coping strategy.
Thus, by offering treatment that incorporate counseling of such a family will facilitate quick recovery. Before administering a treatment, the counselor will have a clear picture of the situation rather than making assumptions that may not hold (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress 2010).
Understanding these psychopathologies of a family may facilitate establishment of the reasons for certain behavior of an addict in order to design a well research treatment that not only help the addict but also offer coping strategies for the affected family (Craig 2004).
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How an Addiction Interrupts Development of Children
Child development depends on several factors. These factors include love, caring, provision of basic needs, and security.
Reflectively, an addiction of a parent or guardian is likely to put children at a glaring risk of total behavioral, emotional, mental, and social development of child physical and psychological aspects of growth (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress 2010).
More often, these children are exposed to physical violence and they witness abuse of a spouse which expose then to trauma. Thus, “despite the fact that friends can be a buffer for the problems at home, some COAs/COSAs have a limited social life.
They may avoid bringing home friends, or going out in public with their parents. They may even shy away from making friends, because they lack basic social skills or out of a profound fear that someone will find out the truth” (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, 2010, par. 6).
Children exposed to an addicted parent, guardian, or relative are likely to become victims of sexual abuse and may be obliged to coping strategies such as fear, lack of confidence, and trauma that have negative effects on their growth.
Moreover, most of these children are vulnerable to depression, eating disorders, and even unending anxiety that is associated with “advanced opposition defiant disorder (ODD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)” (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress 2010, par. 9) which is associated with poor physical and psychological development of children.
Comparison Between “A Child of an Addict” and “An Adult Child of an Addict”
There are similarities and differences in response to an addiction for a child of an addict and an adult child of an addict as indicated below.
|Child of an addict||Adult child of an Addict|
|Poor physical health||Poor physical and psychological health|
|Always anxious, indifferent and weak||Traumatized, fearful and irresponsive among peers|
|Depression and eating disorders that may lead to allergies and other dietary complications||Violent and often have series of unbecoming behaviors such as rudeness, un-accommodative, and dismissive|
|Prone to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in classroom and other social places (ICF International 2009)||Prone to advanced opposition defiant disorder (ODD) characterized by rebellion without justifiable reasons|
|Very secretive and constant low mood due to fear of rejection in self expression||Have a lot of hatred and seclusion in intellectual discourse due to fear of having a divergent opinion from peers (ICF International 2009)|
Approaches of Working with these Children
|Child of an addict||Adult child of an Addict|
|Offering incentives such as rewards and constant motivation to the child in all activities to restore confidence in the child (ICF International 2009)||Offering guidance on technical activities and initiating discussions with the aim of sharing with other children on challenges that face them in their families|
|Offering activities and lessons that aim to restore confidence in the child, and offering protection in addition to listening to his or her demands and problems||Registering the child to anger, stress, anxiety management classes or any other necessary that aim at internalizing coping strategies|
|Offering constant parental care that the child may be lacking||Offering psychological support through initiating interesting topics that relaxes the mind of such a child (ICF International 2009)|
The Poor Child Case Study
This family is faced with the issue of alcoholism. Josh and the mother have to live with depression due to alcoholism. Despite being successful, the father is a non-supportive alcoholic person.
The risk factors Josh face include threat of psychological torture, broken communication and possible neglect by the father. If Josh’s mother approaches me for a therapy, I will subject her to proactive counseling.
If I am approached to help Josh, I will endeavor to offer him learning and coping skills that are geared towards improving self esteem. In order to change the dynamics of this family, I will apply collective counseling since alcoholism strains is affecting the whole family.
American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. (2010). Effects of Parental Substance Abuse on Children and Families. Web.
Craig, R. (2004). Counseling the Alcohol and Drug Dependent Client: A Practical Approach. New York: Prentice Hall.
ICF International. (2009). Protecting Children in Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders. Web.
White, W., & Savage, B. (2001). All in the Family: Addiction, Recovery, and Advocacy. Web.