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Introduction to Chemical Dependency Essay


Dependency is a state where an entity relies on another individual deemed as superior. Thus, the superior entity controls, and dictates the subject. Medically, dependency refers to a range of attachments that involve psychological, physical, and behavioral addiction. In this case, chemical dependency implies overreliance of a person on chemical substances.

Chemical dependency changes a habit into a character due to addiction. Addiction implies that a person cannot live comfortably without a given chemical substance. Dependence on chemicals as alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs has great dangers to mental and physical health of individuals. Therefore, the essay examines the effect of chemical dependency on family members and families.

Uses of Screening Tests, their Strengths, and Weaknesses

Psychologists use screening tests in the identification of drug abuse and other disorders in individuals. Using signs and symptoms of a condition, screening tests aim to identify whether there is evidence to ascertain presence or absence of a condition in people. Some of the tests used by psychologists in screening alcoholism among individuals include PAT and AUDIT (Kinney 2011). Paddington alcohol test (PAT) is a screening test used on emergency patients who experience accidents and falls.

PAT administers a set of three questions to identify the presence of alcoholism in a person. However, since the test asks the amount of alcohol consumed, victims reduce or deny consumption of the drug. AUDIT, which is alcohol use disorders identification test, is very important in screening gender and cultural groups. Eight positives imply the presence of a problem. AUDIT has a weakness that concerns the amount of questions and the length of time taken during administration.

Importance of Roles and Rules in the Addicted Family

A family is composed of individuals who have different virtual rules that define their roles. According to Kinney (2011), these roles and rules are very important as they help the family maintain its status quo. They define the roles played by every member and provide a set of rules that each one has to follow.

Furthermore, roles and rules enable the family to progress and achieve their objectives. Though the roles and regulations are unrecorded, members know and understand their application. Thus, individuals perform their roles and follow the rules irrespective of the challenges that they may encounter. Therefore, roles and rules help sustain families even during the time when one of the members is addicted.

Joan Jackson’s Seven-Stage Theory about Family and Addiction

Joan Jackson states that the process of addiction goes through seven stages. In her assertion, the first stage involves rare incidences of extreme drinking, which influence the relationship between spouses. The second stage initiates emotional expressions from children, disrupts the family structure from frequent excessive drinking, and creates tension.

The second stage also incorporates feelings like carelessness and self-pity from spouses who struggle to maintain family structure. The third stage ends the social support that the addict receives from the family during the recovery. The contentment of the addict’s behavior is evident in the fourth stage. Family members adopt a new structure that includes the addict. At this stage, the sober partner takes full control of the family (Kinney 2011). The strong protective feelings replace self-pity and resentment.

Separation takes place in the fifth stage if the abstemious spouse cannot solve the problem of addiction. In the sixth stage, family members reorganize themselves after excluding the addict. The seventh stage comprises of soberness from the addict who starts reorganizing himself to reinstate the former personality.

The role of Homeostasis in the Family System

Homeostasis is a concept that is applicable in an equilibrium state of a family system. According to the concept, family members have certain set of roles and rules that the family defines. Homeostasis and equilibrium play a very vital role in maintaining stability and the status quo of a family. Kinney (2011) argues that members struggle to maintain structure and balance of a family using homeostasis and equilibrium.

Though unwritten, members know the prototype, and so, each one sticks to the conditions defined by the pattern. Thus, the presence of these roles and rules help in the maintenance of the family model and balance. Homeostasis and equilibrium involve all family members who fulfill this concept through their participation in the roles and rules. In their quest to retain homeostasis and equilibrium, family members try to prevent any changes in a family structure.

Anonymity and Humility in the 12 Step Program

Anonymity and humility are vital in the 12 steps of recovery from addiction. Anonymity employs confidentiality of victims while humility uses humbleness to help victims recover. Anonymity refers to the privacy and confidentiality held by stakeholders involved in the recovery process. Anonymity implies the secrecy that people use when dealing with the12 steps. Additionally, secrecy applies to respecting, valuing, and treating others in a free and fair manner.

According to Kinney (2011), victims use first names to protect their identities. Humility is the seventh in the 12 stages of recovery from alcohol addiction. In the stage, subjects accept that addiction is the problem affecting their health and development. In this level, individuals humbly consent to the fact that they have a problem of addiction to drugs like alcohol. Although this stage may be tough and difficult to undertake, it is very important that people go through because it involves acceptance of the problem at hand and pursuit for a solution.

Impact of Addicted Parents on Child’s Development (Using Erikson’s Model)

Addicted parents have a negative influence on the development of children, as they are the first people that define their lifestyles. Erikson’s model of human development states that, as people grow, they resolve psychosocial crises. The first stage, which spans from birth to 18 months, children try to resolve the psychosocial crisis of trust versus mistrust (Kinney 2011).

Addicted parents are unable to provide love, protection, and care, and thus make their children develop mistrust. Furthermore, children who have 2 to 3 years struggle to resolve the crisis of independence versus uncertainty and shame. In this view, the addicted parents compel their children to develop an attitude of failure, shame, and embarrassment. The preschool crisis is between guilty versus initiative.

The addicted parents do not support their children as they disapprove them, and thus make them feel guilty. Industry versus inferiority is the crisis that children with age 6-11 years experience. At this stage of development, addicted parents do not support their children to struggle hard; hence, the children feel inferior. Teenagers struggle to resolve the crisis of identity versus role confusion. Instead of assisting their children to identify their roles, addicted parents neglect and make them confuse their roles

Challenges that Special Populations Face in Recovery

Some of the challenges that special populations such as teenagers, seniors, and women face during recovery from addiction relate to factors like denial, low self-esteem, and poor health. Teenagers with the ages 12-19 years majorly purchase drugs from streets because they are cheap and easily accessible.

The purchase of cheap and accessible makes it complex to identify the abusers and rehabilitate them. In addition, teenagers consume the drugs in secret places, therefore, it becomes challenging for the counselors, and other stakeholders to identify and help these teens recover from addiction.

The senior members of the society face various challenges in recovery from addiction because they can easily access pharmaceutical drugs over the counter and alcoholic drinks in restaurants (Kinney 2011). Women are more susceptible to addiction disorders than men are; hence, it they take longer time to recover than men do. Moreover, as opposed to men, women live in denial because they fear stigmatization from the society.


Dependency on chemical substances is a major challenge facing many families in the present world. Addiction or dependency on drugs subjects all family members to stress, anxiety, tension, and emotional disturbance. In extreme cases, spouses separate, a factor that increases the amount of suffering that young members of the family experience.

During substance abuse, an individual goes through seven stages, which lead to addiction. The essay highlights the importance of rules and roles in retaining equilibrium and homeostasis in a family. Furthermore, the essay demonstrates the importance of the 12-step program, and the effect of addicted parents on the development of children. Thus, the essay examined the effect of addiction on families.


Kinney, J. (2011). Loosening the Grip: A Handbook of Alcohol Information, London: McGraw-Hill.

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"Introduction to Chemical Dependency." IvyPanda, 8 Feb. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/introduction-to-chemical-dependency/.

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IvyPanda. "Introduction to Chemical Dependency." February 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/introduction-to-chemical-dependency/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Introduction to Chemical Dependency." February 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/introduction-to-chemical-dependency/.


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