Perception of Addiction Treatment Specialists about Alcohol’s Harm to Others: The Case of Lithuania
Keywords: addiction treatment centre, social services, relatives of alcohol addicts, harm of alcohol to others, Lithuania
AbstractThe main aim of this article is to reveal the experiences of specialists working in Lithuanian addiction treatment centres on supporting relatives of alcohol addicts and providing help. This study consisted of thematic analysis of interviews with 11 specialists from five addiction treatment centres (ATC) in Lithuania. The development of services in Lithuania is inadequate with the existing evidence of alcohol-related harm to others (AHTO). The ATC specialists’ perception about AHTO is drinker-centred, medically oriented and not based on family approach. We found that the relatives of alcohol addicts are seen more as resources for treatment of alcohol addicts but not as a separate target group with their personal needs and problems and who need services and help. Without systematic changes there is no place for relatives in the current addiction treatment system in Lithuania. Because of work overloads, ethical dilemmas raising from confidentiality issues, specialized professionals working with relatives (including children) are needed. Also, it is important to strengthen the specialists’ knowledge and possibilities to recognize AHTO. Finally, the state must take over the individualized responsibility to the collective level providing assistance both to alcohol addicts and their relatives.