As with most unpleasant subjects, humans don’t want to think about the effects of their alcoholism or drug abuse on young children. We’re guilty of thinking children are resilient and will outgrow the trauma they suffered as a result of living with addicted parents. However, experts now agree that parental drug or alcohol abuse has lifelong effects on many kids. Let’s look at how growing up as children of alcoholics or drug addicts can affect a person even into adulthood.
Children of Alcoholics Can be Affected for a Lifetime
Some alcoholics and drug addicts are in denial about how their addiction affects others. They claim that it’s their business what they do with their lives and that they are only hurting themselves. In truth, addiction is not simply a personal problem. It is a family issue that can also extend to affect friends, employers, and communities.
A young child or teenager suffers from their parents’ substance-abusing behavior while living in the same home. But, many of these individuals continue to suffer the effects long into adulthood.
Characteristics Common to the Adult Child of an Addict
Often are more concerned for others than for themselves due to an overdeveloped sense of responsibility.
Children of alcoholics or drug addicts never know what to expect from one day to the next. Arguments, unreliability, inconsistency, and unpredictability are not unusual in their lives. Their emotional or physical needs are not met. Sadly, these children who grew up lacking positive foundational relationships find it difficult to develop healthy interpersonal relationships later in life. They also have poor problem-solving skills and struggle with erratic coping skills.
How to Take Back Control of the Life They Deserve
Fortunately, these individuals don’t have to continue suffering the effects of being children of alcoholics or drug addicts. Professional help is available to help them learn how to express their needs and handle conflict in more effective ways. Gaining insight into their behaviors, struggles, and feelings will help them understand how their childhood may have affected their adulthood.
Of course, the first step is for a person to recognize the fact that growing up in a dysfunctional home with alcoholics and addicts has had an impact on their adult life. If you are one of these adults, a support group is a good place to begin. It is also helpful to try these things as well: