Mothers' experiences of their children's detoxification in the home: results from a pilot study

Community Pract. 2012 Jul;85(7):30-3.


Detoxification from alcohol and/or drugs and the achievement of abstinence without formal treatment is often preferred using community-based supports from local GPs and family. Family members are often involved in the sourcing of information on detoxification and treatment options, user advocacy and provision of remedial supports while detoxifying within the family home. The aim of the research was to describe and explore family experiences of self-detoxification processes from the perspectives of mothers in the Mid West of Ireland. A convenience sample of adult mothers who had experienced their child detoxifying in the home (n=9) were interviewed. The findings illustrated varied personal definitions of detoxification. Addiction stigma and costly experiences of treatment and after care pathways facilitated home detoxification attempts. A lack of GP advice, support and information around safe home detoxification was observed to contribute to information and support seeking from friends, family and community members with home detoxification experience. Self-medication of both licit and illicit substances while detoxifying, and relapse cycles were common. The research highlights the need for inclusive health and social supports provided by GPs, community nurses, RGNs and district nurses for families and individuals detoxifying in the home setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rural Population
  • Social Support
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*