When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can be hard for them to see how their addiction affects anyone besides themselves. However, the disease of addiction affects everyone involved in the addicts’ life, and especially their children.
When a parent is addicted to a substance, they throw the household into chaos. Kids have little structure or routine to follow, and they may have to do the bulk of the housework, like cleaning up, cooking meals, and caring for younger siblings. With such an erratic environment, kids don’t get the care they need. In addition, when one spouse is an addict, this can cause tension in the marriage, leading to fighting, separation, or divorce, and ultimately, increased instability for kids. In worst-case scenarios, parents can be incarcerated or even die, leaving their children to navigate life without their help and influence. An addiction recovery center may be the best option for parents who want to break their addiction and restore stability to their children’s lives.
Unfortunately, in some cases, parental addiction causes neglect. Because the drug takes priority in the parent’s life, they don’t care for their kids. Neglect results in bad hygiene, malnutrition, and greater physical problems, and the child’s health and overall well-being suffers. Addiction can also cause mood swings and depression, causing addicts to lash out at their children. According to the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, most cases of child abuse involve a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Children of addicts also suffer adverse mental health issues in much higher numbers than children of non-addicted parents. Because they are left alone for long periods of time, kids of addicts feel unloved, uncared for, or resentful. These feelings can develop into tremendous anger or sadness, leading to more serious mental health problems such as anxiety or depression in the future. Children also have to deal with misplaced, indirect guilt for their parents’ addiction, which takes a terrible toll on their mental health. For their children’s sake, any parent addicted to drugs or alcohol should find a drug rehab center to prevent lasting psychological consequences.
Overall, due to genetics and environment, children of addicts are predisposed to have much more difficult lives than their peers. Children of addicts are more likely to do poorly in school, have behavior issues, and be involved in crime later in life. Because of their parent’s influence, they’re also more likely to abuse drugs at a young age themselves, and they often become addicted as well, creating a vicious cycle that spans generations and can only be broken by entering a drug rehab program. Tragically, kids of addicts are more likely to be abused by their parents and have symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Addiction is a disease that has terrible consequences for everyone in the family. Take action now. If you are concerned about the effects of an addiction on family members, please contact our understanding representatives to find an addiction treatment facility that’s right for your individual needs.