Factors influencing relapse in individuals with substance use disorders: views of social workers employed in treatment centres

Ndou, Nobuhle (2019-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Substance abuse is a global problem which has educed considerable concern among patients, families, clinicians, and researchers alike. Despite the various treatment strategies put in place by many countries, including South Africa, relapse remains the most noted outcome following treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs). Previous work on the causes of relapse in SUDs has failed to explore the views of social workers as treatment professionals, but focused mostly on the service user and their significant others. Hence, the goal of this study was to explore the views of social workers employed in treatment centres regarding factors that influence relapse in SUDs. Social workers as treatment professionals are usually the first point of contact with the service user before and after they relapse, which therefore makes it important to explore their views as to why service users are entangled in this vicious circle of recovery and relapse. The study is qualitative in nature and adopted an exploratory research design. The results of the study are based on an empirical investigation conducted with 20 social workers employed in various substance abuse treatment centres in the Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces, respectively. A semi-structured interview guide was used to collect data from the participants through one-on-one and telephonic interviews. Thematic content analysis was used as a form of data analysis. The findings of the study revealed that various factors play a role in the precipitation of relapse at the different levels of the ecological system. It was also found that there are major gaps in the SUD treatment system in South Africa, which further exacerbates the cycle of recovery and relapse. There is a need for more public treatment facilities and the application of more locally-based treatment methodologies if relapse is to be tackled head-on. Recommendations of the study include that service users be enrolled in skills development programmes as part of their treatment to allow them to lead meaningful lives in recovery. Moreover, it is also recommended that the Government allocate more funds towards SUD treatment through adding more public treatment facilities and funding of SUD treatment NGOs. It is envisaged that the findings of the study will contribute to the development of more strategies and programmes to combat relapse as well as help in formulating and augmenting relapse prevention and aftercare programmes best suited for the South African context. Furthermore, the wider social work practice and other professionals globally, especially those in the addictions field, could benefit from such contributions which may enhance the possibility of a substance abuse free society.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Middelmisbruik is 'n wêreldwye probleem waar die pasiënte, gesinne, klinici en navorsers aansienlike kommer ondervind. Ten spyte van die verskillende behandelingstrategieë wat deur baie lande, insluitende Suid-Afrika, in plek gestel is, is terugval in misbruik die mees bekende uitkoms na behandeling vir middelmisbruiksversteurings (MMVs). Vorige werk oor die oorsake van terugval in misbruik in MMV het misluk om die sienings van maatskaplike werkers as behandelingspersoneel te verken, maar het meestal op die diensverbruikers en hul gesinne gefokus. Die doel van hierdie studie was dus om die sienings van maatskaplike werkers in behandelingsentrums te ondersoek rakende faktore wat terugval in misbruik in MMV beïnvloed. Maatskaplike werkers as behandelingspersoneel is gewoonlik die eerste kontakpunt met die diensverbruiker voor en na hulle terugval in misbruik, wat dus sin maak om hul standpunte te verken oor waarom diensverbruikers in hierdie bose kringloop van herstel en terugval in misbruik verstrik word. Die studie is kwalitatief van aard en 'n ondersoekende navorsingsontwerp is gebruik. Die resultate van die studie is gebaseer op 'n empiriese studie wat uitgevoer is met 20 maatskaplike werkers wat onderskeidelik in verskeie dwelmmisbruikbehandelingsentrums in Gauteng, Mpumalanga en Limpopo betrokke was. Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude is gebruik om data van die deelnemers te versamel deur middel van een-tot-een, asook telefoniese onderhoude. Tematiese data-analise is gebruik om die data te analiseer. Die bevindinge van die studie het aan die lig gebring dat ‘n verskeidenheid faktore ‘n rol speel in die bespoediging van terugval op die verskillende vlakke van die ekologiese sisteem. Dit is ook bevind dat daar groot gapings in die MMV behandelingsisteem in Suid-Afrika is wat verder die siklus van herstel en terugval beïnvloed. Daar is ‘n nood vir addisionele publieke behandelingsfasiliteite en die toepassing van meer plaaslik gebaseerde behandelingsmetodologieë indien die kwessie van terugval direk aangespreek moet word. Aanbevelings van die studie sluit in dat diensverbruikers ingeskryf word vir vaardigheidsprogramme as deel van hulle behandeling om hulle in staat te stel om meer betekenisvol in herstel te leef. Dit word ook meerendeels aanbeveel dat die staat meer fondse moet toewys aan MMV Stellenbosch behandeling deur die byvoeging van meer publieke behandelingsfasiliteite, asook befondsing vir NGOs wat MMV behandel. Daar word beoog dat die bevindings van die studie sal bydra tot die ontwikkeling van meer strategieë en programme om terugval in misbruik te bekamp, asook hulp te verleen in die formulering en aanvulling van terugval in misbruikvoorkoming en nasorgprogramme wat geskik is vir die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks. Verder kan die breër maatskaplikewerk-praktyk en ander professionele persone wêreldwyd, veral dié in die verslawingsveld, baat vind by sulke bydraes wat die moontlikheid van ʼn misbruikvrye samelewing, kan verhoog.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107153
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