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Ice Addiction Treatment – The Stress Strain Coping Support model

ice addiction treatment

The Stress Strain Coping Support model as and Ice Addiction Treatment

The below article will explore the Stress Strain Coping Support model as and Ice Addiction Treatment. We will disect each element in detail.


There are significant stresses for families when someone develops a problem with methamphetamine use. Relationships become disrupted if the person using methamphetamine becomes aggressive, isolated or experiences mood changes. Relationships can be affected by conflict over money, uncertainty and worry, and a sense that the home and family life is threatened.

The family can become financially stressed, family atmosphere can deteriorate, marital strain increases, the home becomes an unsafe place, and social life is restricted. If a person who uses methamphetamine in the family displays unpredictable behaviour, such as aggression or psychosis, other family members can find themselves in a state of hypervigilance. Any of these factors can result in families isolating themselves, and previous occasions that created positive memories becoming associated with stressful experiences.


Strain includes personal worry and loss of self-image, health and self-confidence. Family members of someone who uses methamphetamine might question whether they have been a bad parent or sibling. Self-doubt can erode their sense of role in the family. This is a significant factor for many parents for whom being a good mother or father is a crucial part of their identity. It can be challenging to have these conversations with family members but understanding a parent’s self perceived parental failure is often crucial to debunking the idea of “enabling” or “co-dependent” behaviours.


The model considers three ways in which family members cope: ‘put up’, ‘stand up’, or ‘withdraw’. Families’ responses might not fit neatly into these three categories, but it is a useful framework. This actually makes this a successful approach for an ice addiction treatment.

Within this model, the meaning of ‘coping’ is not limited to well thought-out and well-articulated strategies, and can include responses that appear to be ineffective. All forms of coping have pros and cons; there is no universally good or bad coping processes.

Research suggests that certain strategies are usually counter-productive: closely monitoring the person who uses methamphetamine, attempting to confine them, or regularly searching for and destroying drug paraphernalia. 

Asking family members what they are doing to cope often reveals a chaotic jumble of coping strategies: strategies may be counter-productive, or undermined by other family members. Family members often use one strategy and switch to more reactive or punishing strategies when they become exhausted or frustrated. Identifying what is an effective strategy and what is a punishment can improve family functioning.

One important goal of working with families is to help them reduce the chaos to a few consistent options that might work for them.Parents and siblings often have different strategies that are incompatible with each other and create conflict within the family. It is unrealistic to expect all family members to agree on a single response and follow it consistently, but being overt about aims and actions is a helpful start.


Families are often highly distressed and isolated because there is a lot of shame and stigma associated with a family member experiencing problems with methamphetamine and often little support.

Orford’s qualitative research found that families considered that support was best when:

  • the family’s coping efforts are supported rather than criticised. It is generally better to acknowledge the effort and ask whether it is having the desired effect.
  • the people who support the family express positive sentiments about the person experiencing problems with methamphetamine and their chances of recovery

Even when a family member reports difficult behaviour by the person who uses methamphetamine to a professional or friend, they generally resent a response that devalues the person.


These points are helfpul to keep in mind if you are an AOD worker. When considering all these points in your ice addiction treatment plan, you will have more success with providing ice addiction treatment to your patients.

Interested to learn more about ice? Have a look at this article that covers all the basics about methamphetamine.