Mental health of the family and the problem of addictions in the modern world

In an effort to broaden scientific knowledge in the field of psychiatry and narcology, Russian Academy of Sciences academician, Nikolay Bokhan, presented a talk titled Mental health of the family and the problem of addictions in the modern world in mid-December 2019. The lecture was aimed at interested youth, including students, residents, young scientists and specialists of the Mental Health Research Institute of Tomsk National Research Medical Center at the Siberian State Medical University.




Highlights of the public lecture included:


A discussion of the most important trends in the development of human capital for Russia, such as -

  • growth of socially significant diseases;

  • deterioration in the quality of education;

  • the need for a modern system of professional and general adult education.


An overview of the key factors in the development of medicine:

  • population aging;

  • the growth of socially significant diseases (oncological, cardiovascular, mental and infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, brain pathology);

  • related mortality rates.


A review of the ways in which the "carrier of maladaptive behavior" can appear in disharmonious families:


  • They ignore the problem at the system level, refuse to share responsibility for the symptom.

  • The closed nature of disharmonious families limits the interaction of family members with other support systems - disallowing assistance from outside resources to solve problems, and thereby blocking the growth and development of the family system itself. Diffused boundaries between subsystems stimulate the process of "chronic helplessness" in all family members.

  • Blocking negative interactions between family members in disharmonious families creates a situation of tension, the carrier of the symptom involuntarily "pulls" the energy to itself.

  • Behavioral disorders are a sure marker of family dysfunction.

  • Deviant behavior helps maintain family homeostasis ("positive treatment of the symptom") and sometimes serves as a way to reconcile divorcing parents.

  • A teenager with impaired behavior reinforces the parental need for control.


The psychological risk factors of addiction:


  • The presence of emotional stress and, above all, anxiety arising as a result of a chronic violation of the processes of self-actualization, socially learned helplessness and loss of a sense of internal control.

  • Stages of empty psychological tension, anxiety, frustration, and low mood are most often the result of long-term unmet needs.

  • Chronic emotional stress induces a person to actions aimed at eliminating feelings of mental discomfort.

  • The illusory imagination of satisfying real existing needs, easily achievable with the help of narcotic substances, the transition of episodic intake in the addictive pathology.


Nikolay Bokhan finished his lecture with words of Dr. Edward Buck that behind all our diseases are our fears, anxieties, greed, our grievances and our antipathies. Get rid of them - and with them the diseases that we suffer will go away.


Svetlana Vladimirova, Secretary of the International Association of Ethnopsychologists and Ethnopsychotherapists, Tomsk, Russia

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