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Families & Friends Of Addicts Information

  • Addiction affects more than just the individual. This community is dedicated to the families and friends of individuals suffering from any form of addiction. Mental health professionals are increasingly considering alcoholism and addiction as diseases that flourish in and are enabled by family systems. Family members react to the addicted person with particular behavioral patterns. They may enable the addiction to continue by shielding the alcoholic from the negative consequences of his actions. Such behaviors are referred to as codependence. In this way, the addicted is said to suffer from the disease of addiction, whereas the family members suffer from the disease of codependence.
  • Alcoholism and addiction are some of the leading causes of family dysfunction. As of 2001, there were an estimated 26.8 million children of alcoholics (COAs) in the United States, with as many as 11 million of them under than age of 18. Children of such mentally ill people have an increased suicide rate and on average have total health care costs 32 percent greater than children of nonalcoholic families.

    Adults from alcoholic families experience higher levels of state and trait anxiety and lower levels of differentiation of self than adults raised in non-alcoholic families. Additionally Adult children of alcoholics have lower self-esteem, excessive feelings of responsibility, difficulties reaching out, higher incidence of depression, and increased likelihood of becoming alcoholics.

    Many organizations exist to help families and friends of addicts, including Al-Anon, Alateen and others.

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Michele Borba
Psychology

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