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Experience and coping strategies in relatives of addicts

ABSTRACT

Objective:

to understand the experience and coping strategies in relatives of drug addicts.

Method:

a study was developed with 87 relatives of addicts, registered in two Basic Health Units. The focus group was used as the study method, and content analysis was applied.

Results:

four categories were chosen: perception of relatives about the drug addiction of their family members; feelings and attitudes related to being a relative of an addict; difficulties found in the process; and, coping strategies. The findings reflected the difficulty when mentioning the subject, and the need of being cared for. Relatives believed that the addict needs to have the will to get into treatment, and they faced challenges in dealing with sporadic disappearances. They pointed to feelings of pity, impotence, disgust, hate, shame, fear of aggressiveness, and humiliation.

Conclusion:

the biggest difficulties were dealing with relapses, and the lack of public resources. Religiosity and faith, isolation and advice were used as coping strategies; ambivalence in thoughts and attitudes was demonstrated.

Descriptors:
Family; Drug Dependence; Psychological Adaptation; Harm Reduction; Vulnerability

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