The Culture of Substance Use Disorders and its Impact on Families

Tony Polizzi, LPC, LCADC, CCS

Substance use disorders have a unique set of roles, rules, dynamics, and consequences in families. This two-hour workshop will explore family dynamics that contribute to unhealthy homeostasis when SUDs are present, the family rules that reinforce the dysfunctional balance, the impact on all family members in terms of self-esteem, communication patterns, development of trust and abandonment issues, and the increased risk for SUD’s and co-occurring mental disorders for all family members of an individual with a substance use disoder. Participants will explore the perpetuation of generational replication of such patterns despite conscious efforts to `break the cycle’, strategies and interventions for better outcomes for the client with the SUD, as well as paths to recovery for all family members.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify rules (about expressing feelings, speaking of problems, interactions) observed in families where SUDs are present
  • Describe roles frequently adopted by family members in order to get needs for attention/esteem-building met
  • List healthy options for recovery from the impact of unhealthy dynamics for all family members
  • Describe the intergenerational process of perpetuating unhealthy

Culture of SUDs
Rules and roles of family members where SUDs are present
Genogram activity

Intervention strategies and recovery efforts
Outcomes for the SUD individual and other family members Resources and questions

CEs: 2 Clinical
Level: Intermediate

About the Presenter
Anthony Polizzi is a licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC), licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified Supervisor. He has been a clinician and teacher for more than 15 years, and a full-time trainer for the past 12 years. Mr. Polizzi’s area of expertise is working with individuals experiencing symptoms of substance use and other co-occurring mental health disorders, often within specific demographics (adolescents, older adults, criminal justice population, and others).

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