Abstract : One of the serious and sensitive problems of modern societies is crescive using of narcotic and psychotropic drugs that its fast and rising process cause anxiety of the public and especially statesmen in different countries, the addicts recovery and firmness in non-returning are social phenomenon doesn’t have only one reason but it has compound complexity, and the social support can affect as an obstacle for tending to addiction by strengthening social ties, sense of social dependence and reducing stress. Theoretical approach of social support has an old precedent like classical sociology in relation to social cohesion; nevertheless, there are theories concerning social support and its role about supporting of addicts and in this article mentioned to the theories of Sarason, Koob, Schaefer, Kevin, Lazarus, Kessler, Rattus and Hirschi.
Key words: social support, recovery, addiction, theory, compound complexity.
In modern societies like Iran according to relevant to modern world and performing modernization plans by governments, the old social capital was eroded and new capital isn’t formed, as a result we deal with chaos in micro and macro levels that introducing the origin of social interruptions and faults and the source of genesis and increase of social problems (Abdullahi and Mousavi, 1386: 196). One of the serious and sensitive problems of modern societies is crescive using of narcotic and psychotropic drugs that its fast and rising process cause anxiety of the public and especially statesmen in different countries; the most important of these anxieties are manpower annihilation and its financial outgrowth, in fact the drug using not only causes mentioned cases but also causes poverty, crime, anti-social behavior, weakness of job abilities, weakening of family foundations. In this way after spending days and years with narcotic there are persons have definitely decided to reduce and then withdraw drug using and in this case we need a conception like social support. The social support is one the consequences and outputs of social capital including support by kinsmen, friends and neighbors and three dimensions of objective or implemental, emotional and informative aid. The objective or implemental support implies on the existence of physical support. In this kind of support, the peoples who help are intimate friends. The informative support means helping to understand a problem. This type of support implies the information can be used by the person against environmental and personal problems. Emotional support is the resources relevant to persons that a recovered addict can refer to them for comfort and feel of confident. A person who has sufficient emotional resources typically he can refer to his friends when dealing with problems (Fleming and Moum quoted from Varmazyar, 1387: 78-79).
The social support can affect as an obstacle for tending to addiction by strengthening social ties, sense of social dependence and reducing stress.
The theories related to social support and recovered addicts
Theoretical approach of social support has an old precedent like classical sociology. By propounding the conception of social correlation indirectly, Durkheim attends to social support as an output caused by social relations. Though for the first time he propounded the effect of social relations network and the supports concluded from this network in pathology. But social support is considered less in pathological analysis. Nevertheless, there are theories concerning social support and its role about supporting of addicts that it is mentioned here:
Sarason and the others define the social support as enjoyment of love, companionship and care of family members, friends and other people. Some knows the social supports as social reality and caused by one’s perception (Alipour: 1380 quoted from Delpasand and others, 1391). The real support is the type and plenty of the specific supportive interactions that someone receives the implemental, emotional and informative aids from the others in social relations. Individuals use supportive resources for removing their requirements on the basis of social relations, so that broader social relations causes availability of social support more and probably these resources reduce negative events of life and act as a protection against life stressors; and at the end it can be deduced from Sarason viewpoint that the social support reduces reconversion to addiction by reducing failures and strengthening positive self-concept. Koob has defined the social support as a set of information leads one to believe that he can be attended by others in this communication network and he is valuable and respectable and he can feel belonging to this network (Rastgar Khaled: 1384: 136). With emphasis on one’s mind perceptions, Schaefer, Kevin and Lazarus found the social support including evaluation or assessment of a person and to what extent an interaction or interactions pattern or relations are useful.
Kessler and his colleagues distinguish between two types of social support: structural social support and functional social support. Structural social support implies structural aspects of the social relations. These aspects completely include arrangement and life program and it means the person lives lonely or not, plenty of social interactions, participation in social activities, or involvement in social networks (it is possible that a group of people has various levels of contact with each other). The functional social support basically indicates preparing numerous functions by support. This kind of support contains expressing a positive mental state or emotional support, agreement with one’s opinions or feelings, expressing a sense of encouraging and other functions such as providing consultation, information and informational help (Kessler and et al, 1985: 542).
From the perspective of Rattus can be argued that the social support acts as a deterrent factor support by reducing the pressure sources and adjusting them. Rattus believes that the social support adjusts stress through following processes:
1. Emotional attention: listening to people’s problems and expressing empathy, caring, understanding and encouragement
2. Assistance: providing support and assistance that leads to adaptive behavior
3. Information: Providing guidance and advice to enhance one’s coping ability
4. Evaluation: providing feedback from the others in the field of the function leading to the function adjusting
5. Sociability: receiving social support is usually given by the socialization; as a result, beneficial consequences would be obtained (Bakhshi pour and et al: 1384, 146-147)
Hirschi’s theory of social control is one of control theory that it considers both of interior and exterior control. Inspired by Durkheim, Hirschi believes that the deviational behavior is as a result of weak relations with normal society (Mohseni Tabrizi, 1383: 89). In Hirschi’s theory, four elements have been normal for connecting a person to the society or the others:
1. Attachment: the person sensitivity and attention to the others and their views and expectations
2. Commitment: the Social rewards and punishments associated with peoples’ normal and abnormal behavior
3. Involvement: the amount of time a person spends in normal social activities
4. Believing: the validity of social norms for the person with the internalization of social norms (Meshkati: 1384, 43)
Every element of a segment is a relationship between the person and the society, as long as the person has relationship with normal groups of society he follows society norms but if one or several communication segments being weak, the possibility of deviation would increased (Momtaz: 1380, 120-123).
The social support and recovered addicts
Since the addicts’ recovery and firmness in non-returning are a social phenomenon and it doesn’t have only one reason but it has compound complexity, releasing from narcotics depends on numerous personal, family and social factors. Personal factors like physical, mental and economic status … family factors like relationship between the family members, responsibility … and in the society the structures are effective on a person having a determinative role. One of the factors can be effective, the effect of social support on this process. The social support can be a strong and useful reinforcer in returning process and addict recovery. The social support can be effective in this process i.e.:
*feeling of belonging
*feeling of security and being safe
*reducing stress, isolation and loneliness
*hope increasing and being optimist about future
*chance escaping from a small world and its anxieties
*the social support can overcome the feeling of shame and hide
The social support can help recovered addicts in different forms:
1. Preparing the valuable information i.e. introducing databases concerning addiction, describing personal experiences in recovery process, sharing the techniques and methods can be helpful for management addiction tendency.
2. Providing the beneficial and necessary resources, for example presenting the information for job interview or a book about recovery and its effective ways, lending a car
3. The real and noticeable help like associating with a person for going to a clinic, caring their children, helping to find a suitable house
4. Emotional support: active listening, encouragement, feeling of being understood, compassion, solving the problems together
Undoubtedly, there are persons who recover without attention to social support; nevertheless surveys indicate there is a direct relationship between those having social-group support and their recoveries (Atkins & Hawdon, 2007; Humphreys, 2011).
In fact the social support in recovery is very determinative that even in addiction treatment, several approaches focus on social support (Miller, Forchimes & Zweben, 2011).
Nevertheless the role of social support is more important criterion in recovery of those treated by natural procedures.
Conclusion and proposal
Recovered addicts especially those in their first months of returning and withdrawal are vulnerable ones in the society that the possibility of drug reusing will increase in the absence of attention and reduction the amount of social support, for this reason awareness in the society, families and individuals can help vulnerability and reducing the stress of recovered persons by proper management and integrated planning and regarding the concepts such as social protection and social capital to feel confident and gain more stability as if they are responsible for controlling the situation after drugs withdrawal.
According to the presentation it can be offered cases to increase dramatically the social support of recovered addicts day by day:
Signing a contract among organizations is performed with the aim of giving services to recovered persons according to their character, family, social and local culture traits. It must be taken into account the emphasis on the problems difference of one province with other provinces to form a common program. Also these provincial patterns are applied in planning and reducing risk factors about returning of recovered persons.
Setting up social supports network causes increasing of services quality by organizations through encouraging active NGOs.
NGOs’ workshops concerning the mechanism of social support formation.
The role of the family in the stability process of recovered persons is more prominent than the therapeutic and supportive institutions because the support in these institutions is disjointed. for this reason paying special attention to the role of the family can accelerate the recovery process beside synergy and other institutions partnership, agencies and NGOs.
Sajjad Majidi Parast
Research Manager of Hana Social Work Clinic
“Master of Social Work at University of Allameh Tabatabai”
“Iranian social worker’s media campaign on social protection of recovered”