Supporting Addiction Affected Families Effectively


Millions of family members over the world are affected by the addictive behaviour (alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc) of a relative, which usually has a highly stressful impact on these affected family members (AFMs – i.e. the parents, spouse, children, etc of these addicted individuals). AFMs experience high levels of physical and mental health symptoms, with knock-on effects on AFMs finances, employment performance, parenting skills, etc. However, as the AFMs are not a group that wield collective power for social change, they have remained under recognised and underserved by health policy-makers.

Using evidence-based interventions, AFMs can be helped to reduce their levels of symptoms, and improve their methods of coping. One such evidence-based intervention is the 5-Step Method which empowers AFMs by exploring concerns, providing relevant information, exploring coping responses, developing greater social support and exploring further needs. Developed in the UK, the 5-Step Method is now being used in a number of developed countries (UK, Italy etc) with studies demonstrating that is has significant positive effects.

SAFE aims to contextually adapt the 5-Step Method using a systematic methodology to make it acceptable, safe and feasible to be delivered by lay health workers (LHW), for AFMs in Goa, India.

SAFE specifically aims to:
1) Adapt the 5-Step Method to make it contextually appropriate;
2) Develop a training, supervision and competence assessment system for the LHWs;
3) Demonstrate that the adapted 5-Step Method is acceptable to AFMs;
4) Demonstrate that the adapted 5-Step Method is feasible and safe to be delivered by LHWs; and
5) Provide preliminary evidence that the adapted 5-Step Method leads to improved psychosocial outcomes in AFMs.


Expected Outcome:
At the end of this process we expect to develop a community approach to support AFMs using low cost human resources. The treatment development process will result in a manual of the adapted 5-Step Method in the vernacular and translated and piloted versions of the Symptom Rating Test, Coping Questionnaire, Social Support Scale and Family Member Impact.