Psychosocial distress, physical illness, and social behaviour of close relatives to people with substance use disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This study explores how a family member with substance use disorder (SUD) affects the psychosocial, behavioral, and physical states of other family members. Sixteen in-depth interviews with relatives of Icelandic individuals afflicted with SUD were performed. The interviewees were selected from a pool of Icelandic families whose members included one or more chronic SUD users. They represented different relations to the user (spouses, parents, children, and siblings) and both genders. All participants except for siblings expressed that SUD had negatively affected their mental health by inducing depression, anxiety, and stress-related physical illness. All had experienced physical violence, mental abuse and financial loss. Parents indicated that the SUD of the family member had isolating psychosocial impacts on their children and caused a loss of connection among their family members. All participants, except the siblings, regarded their workplace as a shelter. The study’s findings can help social professionals to better understand the effects of SUD on families, family systems, and public health in general.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-154
Number of pages19
JournalJOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE IN THE ADDICTIONS
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed