Family support is where individuals with common problems associated with drug use or addiction in their families can share their experiences. Family support is a recognised form of support for families experiencing difficulties and stress related to a child, parent, sibling or other family member’s addiction problems. Family support can be offered in peer group setting or one-to-one basis. The model of the family support advocated by Ireland’s National Family Support Network is a peer-led support group model, where individuals can openly share their challenges and perceptions with other people.
An important aspect of family support is the flexibility of the model to support individuals experiencing a range of problems, not just drug and alcohol problems; for example, other challenges can include drug intimidation, bereavement, educational disadvantages and unemployment. The stress of having addiction within the family can have a debilitating effect on individuals resulting in feelings of stress and vulnerability, negative coping withdrawal from family and friends, and in some instances, leading to other forms of addiction. Accessing family support is an appropriate form of support that can help reduce and manage these negative consequences.