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Kids should be part of mom's treatment.

Mothers in therapy for drug and alcohol use recover faster if their children take part in their treatment sessions, relates a study in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Researchers found that women who were in family therapy--which included their eight- to 16-year-old children--showed a quicker decline in alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine use over 18 months compared to mothers who were in individual therapy.

"Interpersonal stress, especially within the family, has been shown to be an important factor in drug and alcohol abuse," says lead author Natasha Slesnick. "So, it makes sense that having mothers and children working together in therapy can help moms with substance use problems do better over time. Family therapy is not generally part of the treatment options for substance-using mothers, but this study suggests it should be."

Results clearly demonstrated that all mothers showed reduced alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine use over time, but moms in family therapy saw their substance use decrease more quickly. The exception involved opioids, such as heroin--mothers reported similar decreases in use after both the individual and family therapies.

"Different drugs affect family dynamics in different ways, and we need more research to determine why opioids respond differently to family therapy," states Slesnick.

Preliminary data from upcoming studies by the researchers suggests that family therapy not only is good for mothers; it helps their children's mental health as well. "Children are usually not included in the treatment plans of their molhers, but they should be since they already have to deal with their mom's substance use in many ways."

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Title Annotation:Substance Abuse
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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