An unknown invisible intrusion. Impact of an adult family member’s problematic substance use on family life: a meta-ethnography
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionLindeman, S. K., Titlestad, K. B., Lorås, L., & Bondas, T. (2021). An unknown invisible intrusion. Impact of an adult family member’s problematic substance use on family life: A meta-ethnography. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 1-13. 10.1080/09687637.2021.1943316
Problematic substance use (PSU) has documented consequences for the person using substances and people close to that person. This meta-ethnography aims to provide insight into how families experience family life when adult family members PSU is present. The titles and abstracts of 24,423 retrieved studies were assessed against the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Fifteen qualitative primary articles, including 393 different family members experiences, were included. The included articles described families from different countries with various socioeconomic status. An unknown invisible intrusion was established as the overarching metaphor. This metaphor was accompanied by three main themes: Taking over the family life, Family survival, and An invisible family. The theme Taking over the family life reflects how PSU affected the family structures and how overwhelming the families experienced these problems. The theme Family survival reflects how family members tried to adapt to life with PSU, while An invisible family reflects how families experienced loneliness and lack of help. We suggest that professionals should move from a one-sided focus on PSU to understanding the consequences as a long-lasting intrusion into family life. This includes both disciplinary development and interventions that enhance family relational practices.