Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

substance misuse of meeting the needs of families and carers

substance misuse of meeting the needs of families and carers

Despite the breakdown in relationships which can be associated with substance misuse many users do live with a partner, family or friends. This can often be a confusing and distressing experience for them. Some of these people will be actively involved in the care and treatment of the user and need specific knowledge for taking on this responsibility.

Substance misuse services have not traditionally seen work with families as a core part of their remit, but even if clients do not want their family involved in their care and treatment, information can be provided (for example, about substances, their effects and complications, and the nature of care and treatment) without compromising the nurse–client relationship. Information should also be given about national organizations which are specifically set up to provide family and carer support. These organizations provide telephone helplines and some hold local meetings.

Al-Anon and Al-Ateen  work with people in contact with problem drinkers, the latter is targeted at teenagers, and Families Anonymous  focuses on people in contact with drug users. The NSF for Mental Health makes it clear that services involved with people with serious mental illness must attend to the needs of carers. If the person they are caring for has a substance misuse problem this includes meeting needs associated with this.

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