Exploring the lived experiences of individuals in a substance abuse treatment programme in Cape Town
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Substance use is a worldwide health concern that has received significant attention as it is often related to deleterious outcomes. Various treatment programmes have been made available to assist people and their families who misuse substances, to aid rehabilitation and equip people with the necessary tools with the aim of preventing possible relapse. The Western Cape Province has been identified as experiencing the highest increase of substance use, with Cape Town being disproportionately affected. Substance use treatment and prevention programmes are therefore an increasingly important means of addressing substance use and related harms. This study aimed to explore the lived experiences of individuals in relation to the treatment they received at a treatment facility in the Cape Town area. As such, the researcher made use of the phenomenological approach as a theoretical framework as it aims to describe the lived experiences of individuals in relation to a particular phenomenon. Furthermore, a qualitative methodological framework was utilised to explore the experiences of individuals who received substance use treatment. Ten participants were purposively selected from an outpatient substance use treatment facility in Cape Town. Focus group discussions were used to collect data and the data were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Findings suggest that there were various reasons participants sought treatment. This includes the challenges they experienced in both their personal and occupational lives as well as the realization of the negative effects substance use had on them physiologically. Findings also revealed that the environmental setting individuals were in fostered their treatment; the various aspects of the programme provided by the treatment facility had a significant contribution to their recovery and improved relationships with others; receiving support from family and friends were important in service providers treatment retention as well as individuals ability to identify the changes within themselves since receiving treatment. Overall, results indicate that the treatment programme helped participants in their recovery and enhanced personal relationships, self-perception as well as personal and occupational growth. Findings suggest that there are various reasons as to why people seek treatment and although this may differ, the treatment modality they were provided with contributed substantially to their recovery. Furthermore, this study will contribute to the literature and understanding the ways in which treatment fosters recovery, personal growth and relationships.