can strike at a young age. Earlier this month the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an alarming study- that in the past decade there has been a threefold increase in the number of babies born addicted to prescription drugs.
Babies born with drug addiction are often underweight, have difficulty eating and gaining weight, and suffer from tremors or seizures. Birth it seems is the equivalent of going through withdrawal.
Let’s take a look at drug addiction, how it affects families and the link to family therapy.
Drug Addiction: The Impact on Families
Drug addiction has a significant effect on a family. Parents who suffer from drug abuse may feel deficient as parents, while children may feel abandoned or resent the addiction and disorder. It is not uncommon for drug addiction to cause a user to withdraw from normal associations and events. Parents who use alcohol and drugs may be unable to appropriately supervise their children, protect them from harm or be emotionally available to help their children mature.
Drug addiction studies have shown a direct link between parental substance use and use by children. This research has led to a rise in recovery programs that include family therapy. Young children who are raised in an environment with substance abuse are at higher risk for developing substance abuse issues later in life, perhaps because they are brought up with the understanding that substance abuse is a way to cope with problems. The same goes for women. Drug addiction rates in women who suffered early-life family conflict are higher, making it abundantly clear that family therapy is an important step in relapse prevention and initial use.
The negative effects of drug addiction often extend beyond a nuclear family. Extended family members and even close friends may feel helpless, concerned, guilty, anxious or even embarrassed by the substance abuse. Unfortunately the unhealthy behaviors that result from substance abuse often have long term effects. Family therapy is a treatment method to help an individual, in this case perhaps a parent, recover from drug addiction, while helping to heal the negative consequences of drug addiction on the other family members and their relationships.
Family Therapy and Drug Addiction- A Link
Family therapy depends on the individual suffering from substance abuse and the willingness of the family to heal the wounds of drug addiction. Whether the user is a child, a parent or even a grandparent, family therapy will include multiple generations and sometimes even branches of the family. The goal of family therapy is to create a familiar net of love and support around the suffering parent to aid in his or her recovery. This is done by fostering an understanding of the issues and challenges that a user, his or her family and his or her community faces in coping with drug addiction.
The dramatic rise of drug addicted newborns is alarming, but underscores the difficulty in dealing with drug addiction. Drug addiction is not a personal disease, it is a disease felt by an entire family or community. If you or someone you love is suffering from drug addiction or could benefit from family therapy to cope with the consequences of drug addiction, please call us today at 1-866-808-7111. Destination Hope: The Women’s Program
is a full service drug addiction treatment facility in Florida for women and their families who are struggling with women’s health and substance abuse issues.
Photo Credits: Photo 1, by Flickr user photon_de is licensed by a creative commons attribution license. Photo 2, by Flickr user keoni101 is licensed by a creative commons attribution license.