Where is the Family in Young Adult Substance Use Treatment? The Case for Systemic Family Therapy for Young Adults with Substance Use Disorders

Rachel R. Tambling, Beth Russell, Carissa D’Aniello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the prevalence of SUDs, many individuals remain untreated (Grant et al., JAMA Psychiatry, 73(1), 39-45, 2016). Substance use disorders (SUDs) in young adults present unique challenges and stressors to parents of these individuals (D’Aniello et al., American Journal of Family Therapy, 2020; Kaur et al., International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, 5(6), 2380-2383, 2018; Shumway et al., Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 37(1), 75-98, 2019). Parents and caregivers often facilitate their children’s care and provide pragmatic and emotional support to their children; this high level of care is challenging to maintain, as with any chronic, relapsing condition. In the case of SUDs, the challenges caregivers face may be exacerbated by the stigma and the blame associated with parents in the development and maintenance of children’s SUDs, and the strains that come with navigating barriers related to accessing treatment in the USA. Estimates suggest that healthcare spending for substance use treatment is relatively low and few utilize therapeutic family treatment. This disconnect between widespread SUD prevalence, and service underutilization, indicates that families who need treatment are not accessing it. The present paper synthesizes the extant literature on the role of family members in SUD treatment, as families are a primary context of care for their children’s treatment across many chronic, relapsing conditions. Finally, we identify the utility of family therapy in addressing family member’s unique needs related to their loved one with a SUD, in the family and in a treatment context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Caregivers
  • Family therapy
  • Substance use disorders
  • Treatment

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Where is the Family in Young Adult Substance Use Treatment? The Case for Systemic Family Therapy for Young Adults with Substance Use Disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this