There is evidence that drug and alcohol addiction runs in the family, and children who are exposed to drugs or alcohol run a higher risk of becoming an addict themselves.
There are many other examples to support the idea that children of addicts are affected in a negative way.
Addiction’s Impact on Your Child
Drug and alcohol addiction affects all aspects of life and family. It affects relationships in the home, as well as their stability. Children are affected in many ways when they watch their parents abusing drugs or alcohol.
Children need food, shelter, and nurturing. Often parents cannot meet their children’s basic needs when they are totally immersed in their drug or alcohol addiction.
Children can witness a parent having bouts of rage, exhibiting physical or even sexual abuse. Children with a parent that suffers from drug or alcohol addiction can have a tendency to emotionally withdraw and even become addicts themselves.
Children of addicts often follow the pattern of abusing alcohol or drugs. The earlier a child starts drinking or doing drugs, the more likely it is that they will have a problem with dependence when they reach adulthood.
Children are also affected when a parent spends all of their money on drugs or alcohol and neglects to take care of their child properly. Some families lose their homes or can’t pay the bills. In extreme situations, the parent may be arrested or even thrown in jail for drug-related charges.
Once the parent finds themselves in financial trouble, the children are often the ones who pay the highest price. They may be forced to go without food or the proper clothing due to the parent’s addiction. It is not uncommon for the Department of Human Services to step in and remove the children from the home due to drug or alcohol addiction.
Risk of Addiction
People who are genetically disposed to addiction run a higher risk of becoming an addict themselves. They have seen their parents abuse drugs or alcohol and have learned this behavior simply by watching them.
As a result, it is likely children will develop very unhealthy ways of coping with stress and relating to other people. Children of alcoholics or drug addicts are also more likely to marry someone who also abuses drugs or alcohol.
However, growing up with an addicted parent can affect children in one very different way. A child who witnessed his father drinking heavily or beating up his mother may decide never to drink a drop of alcohol. The pain and suffering that his addicted father inflicted on the family may have been very painful and emotionally draining.
The emotional pain and suffering a child may experience from dealing with an addicted parent can drive them to protect themselves at all costs and stay away from drugs and alcohol forever. It may be for this very reason that when the child grows up and has children of their own, they choose to remain sober and raise their children very differently.
Get Needed Addiction Treatment
Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease that gets worse without addiction treatment and needs lifelong attention to overcome. If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, don’t let it affect your child one more day. Call an addiction treatment center near you to get the help you need.
If you are concerned about your addiction’s impact on your child, contact Alateen to get them needed support.