Treating Alcohol and Drug Addiction in the Family

A number of families and individuals in the modern society are struggling with the problem of substance abuse. Addiction, which is the dependence on a particular drug, is today regarded as one of the most complex areas in mental health (Montvilo, 2013). A number of theoretical concepts and therapeutic procedures have been devised by professionals in this field to deal with the problem. However, in spite of all these efforts, it is still difficult to treat addiction.

A number of factors contribute to these difficulties. They include denial on the part of the individual affected and a culture that promotes the abuse of drugs. In addition, it is difficult to provide an exact definition of excessive consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Different people hold varying views in relation to the concept. For example, some individuals regard abuse and addiction as the recurrent use of substances. On the other hand, some consider abuse to be the use of any illegal drug or alcohol with the intent of intoxication (Fisher, 2009).

In this paper, the author will develop a case study of addiction to marijuana and alcohol in a family. The study will evaluate the best treatment and intervention measures to help client X overcome the problem. The systems family theory will be used to analyze the appropriate intervention to deal with the problem presented by the client. To this end, the author will use the solution focused brief family therapy to deal with the patient and his family. The love first approach is the intervention that will be used to support the selected model.

Treatment of Addiction to Alcohol and Marijuana: A Case Study of Client X

Client Identifying Information

The family member struggling with the problem of drug and substance abuse is client X. The patient is a White American male aged 24 years. Currently, the individual is enrolled in a college in New Orleans. Client X comes from a Christian background.

The presenting problem in the case of client X is his inability to cope with his addiction to alcohol and bhang. He keeps experimenting with these substances. From the time the individual became a chronic substance user, he has been acting in a different manner. The aspects which have changed include his appearance, behavior, and moods. In addition, the intellectual, emotional, and motivation levels have also been altered. With regards to appearance, client X is no longer concerned with his hygiene and how he looks to his peers and friends. The client has also become hostile and aggressive towards other people.

Other changes include persistent mood swings, which are characterized by phases of depression and withdrawal. In addition, the intellectual level of client X has reduced. He is always forgetful and his college grades continue to drop. The patient has also lost motivation in life (Jay & Jay, 2008). At the moment, client X is suffering from depression and psychosocial dysfunctions. Due to the deteriorating mental state and physical health, the client has been on constant medication and treatment. Some of the drugs used include antidepressants, antipsychotics, and stimulants.

The client has a long history of substance abuse. He started smoking marijuana and consuming alcoholic drinks at the age of 17. At the time, he was in his senior year in high school. Upon joining college, he considered partying to be more important than studying. His parents tried to plead with him to change his ways (Montvilo, 2013). In spite of these please, he continued consuming alcohol and using marijuana.

With regards to his legal history, client X has been reported to engage in several arguments and altercations with figures of authority in the society. In addition, the patient has spent nights behind bars for driving under the influence of drugs. Due to the constant arrests, he has lost his license. At the moment, client X is facing charges of assault. All his legal problems emanate from his association with drugs (Jay & Jay, 2008).

In relation to his treatment and social service history, client X has been hospitalized several times in the past. At one time, X was admitted for two weeks after being involved in a road accident, which nearly claimed his life. Client X has also been involved in different out-patient programs, such as residential treatment for psychiatric and substance abuse problems. However, none of the measures have worked to help him deal with the problem.

The reason behind this is because X is never committed to the programs. Some of the mandated treatments that the client has undergone in the past include psychosocial rehabilitation. In addition, X has taken part in various community based counseling and social programs provided by family preservation agencies to overcome addiction (Rasheed & Rasheed, 2011). According to Fisher (2009), drug and abuse lead to strained relationships. The changes in the behavior of client X have affected his relationship with his friends, partner, siblings, and parents. Since addiction became a major problem, he no longer has respect for anyone. The problems caused by the client within the family have affected the health of the members. For example, the father was diagnosed with anger issues and the mother suffers from depression.

In relation to the physical environment, the client is from a middle income family. In line with this, he asks for small sums of money from his family members on a regular basis. He shows no indication of repaying the debts. The money is mean to finance his drug habits (Stanton, 2004). Client X problem continues to be influenced by a wide range of features which include the spirituality, Neighborhood, and culture.

The patient resides in a neighborhood full of delinquent peers. Due to this, he interacts with friends who encourage the use of marijuana and other substances. In addition, the culture of the peers deems people who do not use alcohol or marijuana as not trendy. To fit in their groups, one has to be using a particular drug. Religion plays a key role in shaping youths behavior (Rasheed & Rasheed, 2011). In client X and his peers’ case, the individuals do not value any creed. Due to this, they even fail to associate themselves with believers.

Client X’s Family Genogram

A genogram is a pictorial representation which helps a person to understand the family relations and patterns (Jay & Jay, 2008). In client X family, the members have different repetitive behaviors such as anger problems and personality disorders. In addition, the problem of alcoholism runs within the family. Due to this, client X alcoholic problem can be considered to be hereditary. In addition, X just like his father is faced with anger management issues. Family sessions planned to come up with a solution to help X turn out to be hostile (Jay & Jay, 2008). The client and his father engage in outbursts and fail to agree on anything.

Client X’s Family Ecogram

Ecograms reveal the nature of relationships between individuals within the family and the social community (Fisher, 2009). Due to the persistent abuse of marijuana and alcohol, client X has developed a strained relationship with both his parents. The wrangles within the family have caused a detachment between X and his and his anxious, depressive mother. In addition, X and his father can no longer sit on the same table without engaging in an aggressive argument. The client has strong relations with his addict peers only. The bond is caused by the feeling that they share the same goals and they understand each other. In addition, X tends to have conflicts with a majority of his close relatives. Inconsistencies tend to erupt the moment they question his behavior and way of life.

Special Considerations for Client X

Socio cultural beliefs tend to influence the behavior and approach towards substance abuse (Stanton, 2004). Alcohol and illegal drugs utilization rates differ across different ethnic groups. In addition, gender plays a primary role in influencing drug abuse and treatment. Client X neighborhood is dominated by the African American community. Individuals from the ethnic group are associated with criminality and violent acts. In addition, the media portrays the Black Americans lifestyle of drugs, music, and crime as stylish. The elements played a key role in influencing X to start using marijuana and alcohol at a young age. Being a white kid in a Black neighborhood, he wanted to fit in the group of his delinquent Black American peers.

Intervention for Client X’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Dealing with the problem of alcohol and drug abuse, as family, addict or friend can be a challenging and trying task (Titelman, 2008). In this modern era, different intervention programs have been developed to help substance abusers. Despite of the wide range of approaches, the National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses no one intervention measure is effective for every client. The reason behind this is because each addict has unique needs and causes of the problem.

The best intervention model for client X case is Love First approach. The model was developed by Jeff and Debra Jay. According to the love model, coming up with an intervention entails persuading an addict to enter into a treatment program. Family members with or without the help of trained interventionist should talk to the client (Montvilo, 2013). The members are required to inform him that they are no longer willing to put up with his habit of alcohol and drug abuse. Family and friends are advised to stop sympathizing or venting anger at the client. The primary goal of the model is make the addict get familiar with the fact that the family is aware of the problem (Jay & Jay, 2008). From this, they let the client understand the importance of immediate treatment. In client X case, the family and friends should quit ignoring the problem. In addition, the model advises concerned members to stop supporting the addict until the moment he or she agrees to get essential support.

Love first model is the preferred approach due to a wide range of reasons. To begin with, the approach defines the right moment for family members to seek intervention. Friends and family should seek help when they observe their loved one is repeating negative behavior in spite of the consequences (Jay & Jay, 2008). In addition, the model advices affected families on the best way to prepare an intervention. When addicts are well approached, they tend to come out of their denial zone.

Treatment Therapy for Client X

Alcohol and drug addicts can be treated by use of various therapeutic models. The treatment chosen for client X is solution focused brief family therapy. The model is a short-term treatment approach which focuses on creating solutions to peoples problems. To help drug and substance abuse clients, the therapy utilizes specialized interviewing techniques. The primary purpose of the dialogue is to discuss treatment goals and the manner in which they lead to efficient and effective treatment (Fisher, 2009). The targets are required to be small and not large. In addition, they should be realistic and achievable by the client. Through the use of this model, Client x can be helped to set and accomplish different goals essential to stopping the addiction.

According to the solution focused brief therapy, all people have the skills needed to create change in their lives. In addition, a number of drug and substance abusers are familiar with the fact that they need some level of change (Rasheed & Rasheed, 2011). However, these addicts require help to identify the abilities they posses. Through the use of the therapy, Client X will be aided to reflect on how his life was before he began using marijuana and alcoholic drinks. The process will help him to analyze the benefits of living as an addict and those of staying without using the drugs. Towards the end of the procedure, client X will discover the advantages of living a drugs free life.

The model is preferred as the best treatment for client X due various reasons. To begin with, solution focused brief family therapy is considered by different scholars and clinicians as one of the most useful models for dealing with alcoholics and substance abusers (Fisher, 2009). In this case, client X suffers from alcoholism and illegal substance addiction. In addition, the therapy consists of simple plans and processes easy to be followed by patients. Complex procedures result to clients quitting before procedure is complete (Stanton, 2004). The concepts of the model are also designed to aid drug addicts utilize their own resources and strengths to resolve the problem affecting them.


Alcohol and drug abuse is a major concern for a majority of families globally. The problem affects both the rich and poor individuals in the society. To help counter addiction issues, individuals should not be studied in isolation from one another. They should be examined as part of their family. The reason behind this is because the family is an emotional unit. In addition, causes behind drug and substance abuse can be influenced by different aspects within the family. Addicts should not be neglected or considered to be bad influence to others in the society. They should be helped through different programs to drop the habit and be productive.


Fisher, G. (2009). Encyclopedia of substance abuse prevention, treatment, & recovery. Los Angeles: SAGE. Web.

Jay, J., & Jay, D. (2008). Love first: A family’s guide to intervention (2nd ed.). Center City, Minn.: Hazelden. Web.

Montvilo, R. (2013). Addictions and substance abuse. Ipswich, Mass.: Salem Press. Web.

Rasheed, J., & Rasheed, M. (2011). Family therapy: Models and techniques. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications. Web.

Stanton, M. (2004). Getting reluctant substance abusers to engage in treatment/self help: A review of outcomes and clinical options. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30(2), 165-182. Web.

Titelman, P. (2008). Triangles: Bowen family systems theory perspectives. New York: Haworth Press. Web.

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Premium Papers. 2023. "Treating Alcohol and Drug Addiction in the Family." January 4, 2023.

1. Premium Papers. "Treating Alcohol and Drug Addiction in the Family." January 4, 2023.


Premium Papers. "Treating Alcohol and Drug Addiction in the Family." January 4, 2023.