Examining the family dynamics in addiction: Inputs for treatment intervention in the Philippine setting

2017 IJRSP – Volume 6 Issue 1


Abulon, Edna Luz*
Philippine Normal University, Philippines (abulon.elv@pnu.edu.ph)

Pandan, Winona A.
The Colombo Plan, Sri Lanka (winona.pandan@colomboplan.org)


Substance abuse is a social problem that pervades many societies worldwide. Although a lot of research has been done on this topic, little is known about the family dynamics of the drug addicts which could provide vital inputs to the intervention programs conducted in treatment centers in the Philippines. This research attempts to describe and analyze the family dynamics in addiction through qualitative research approach. Ten (10) male drug addicts confined in a rehabilitation center with their two family members were involved in the study. In-depth interviews generated rich narratives which were later subjected to content analysis. The study revealed that the drug addicts were mostly the middle child in their families, and had good relationships with their parents. Most of them are already “fathers”. Upon being addicted to drugs, they were perceived negatively by their family members and it was their siblings and spouses who took courage to report them and send them to the rehabilitation center. The drug addicts and their families had relationship and communication patterns that can be described as both positive and negative. Positive patterns focused on openness and problem receptivity. While negative patterns focused on upholding the family’s reputation and denying the presence of the drug problem; parents as enablers; fault finding; removal of support groups; denial and avoidance of significant other; and restrained relationships. Coping patterns revolved around those that enhance productive behaviors and change and those that do not. Positive and healthier coping patterns include taking an active role in solving the problem; engineering their social environment; enriching their spirituality; being provided with more support by family members; being aware of the existence of the problem and do something about it; asking for forgiveness; and being provided with a second chance. However, counterproductive coping styles include keeping the family secret; selecting problems that should be solved; hurting oneself or others; and withdrawing from the problem. The importance of family involvement in the treatment process is highlighted in the study.

Keywords: drug addiction; family dynamics; communication pattern; coping; family counseling


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsp.2017.1710

*Corresponding Author