Family Treatment Shows Promise in Stopping Chain of Addiction

New research suggests that a family-treatment approach may be effective in preventing children of addicted parents from becoming addicts themselves.

In a collaborative study, researchers from the School of Social Work and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Canada evaluated more than 600 families from New York’s Buffalo-Niagara region and Canada’s southern Ontario area who participated in the Families Working Together program.

The program targets families with a child between the ages of 9 and 12 who has or had a parent with an alcohol problem. The families were selected to either receive an informational booklet on preventing addiction or participate in weekly sessions focusing on family relationships, parenting skills, and children’s coping and competency skills.

The study found that the family-treatment approach, which emphasized communication and skill-building, was effective in preventing children from falling into the same negative patterns that led their parents to alcohol and other drug use.

“Children of alcoholics are at higher risk of certain negative outcomes, including alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety,” said Andrew Safyer, interim dean of the School of Social Work and a co-investigator on the project. “Studies show that programs that target parents, children and the family itself are more effective in preventing further substance abuse.”
Source:University of Buffalo Reporter, March 2004

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