Family Illness Concept

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Running head: CODEPENDENCY AND THE FAMILY ILLNESS CONCEPT OF ADDICTION 1

The Family Illness Concept
Josie L. Fludd, CHD275 - Lesson 4
Advanced Theory and Techniques
In the Treatment of the Chemical Dependent

CODEPENDENCY AND THE FAMILY ILLNESS CONCEPT OF ADDICTION 2

After reading the assigned chapters, I learned that the relationship between alcohol/drug abuse and family dynamics is both extremely complex and poorly understood. A conservative estimate suggests that at least 4-5 people are hurt for every person with a substance use disorder (SUD) (Capretto, 2007). Alcohol and drug addiction is a family disease that includes codependency, enabling behavior, and marital discord, where the family is centrally organized around the addict’s behavior. A family system is made up of individual members and the ways they relate to each other. As a general rule, people tend to marry those who have achieved similar levels of “differentiation of self” (Bowen, 1985, p. 263). Addiction is a family problem; it impacts the stability of the home, the family’s unity, mental and physical health, and the overall family dynamic. When a family member has a drug/alcohol addiction, the whole family usually develops ways of coping with the problems associated with it. From my own personal experience, I know how damaging drugs and/or alcohol affect the whole family. At the time I figured I was just going through a phase, I was recently divorced, had no children, and didn’t think I was hurting anyone but myself. I can recall the exact day I realized that my family was also suffering. During the height of my addiction, I had quit coming home (unless I needed money or a change of clothes) and practically begun living in the “Hood”. I have six brothers and four sisters, and one day I was sitting in a field getting high (smoking crack), and seen three car loads of people drive up; it was my entire family (five from out-of-state)....
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