When it comes to substance abuse problems, we often think in terms of individuals. We focus on the physical and health effects that result from addiction. There’s also concern about behavior since people who become addicted to mind-altering, chemical substances quickly behave in ways that are vastly different from how they behaved prior to becoming addicted. People also become emotionally volatile after becoming addicted, having unpredictable outbursts of emotions, happy one moment and then either aggressive or overtly unresponsive the next. As well, many alcoholics and drug addicts seem to have different personality traits; it can even seem that the physical, behavioral, emotional, and personality changes have made them entirely different people altogether.
24 Hour Alcohol Rehab Hotline – Get Help Now
Alcoholics Affect All the People in Their Life
However, addiction isn’t a disease that affects only individuals. Sure, only individuals can abuse and become physically and physiologically dependent on alcohol or drugs, but the plethora of effects that result from an addiction — financial, social, career, and so on — actually affect more than just the addict him or herself. These types of effects extend to virtually everyone in the addict’s life, from romantic partners to children, parents, siblings, close friends, and colleagues. It’s a disease that affects an addict while rippling through basically all the people in his or her life.
In conversations of how addiction affects the people in an addict’s life, there’s often discussion about families. After all, everyone has a family, whether or not we are close with them or remain active participants in one’s family. Therefore, there’s been increasing research on the effects of addiction on families, especially when there are children involved since exposure to addiction during childhood can have ramifications throughout the remainder of an individual’s life. At present, we’re going to be having a brief discussion about the adult children of alcoholics with a focus on how the experience of having an alcoholic parent affects a person in his or her adulthood. Without further ado, let’s get started.
How Alcoholism Affects Families
As we mentioned above, when we think about or discuss addiction we often default to a very individual-centric perspective, but the effects of addiction are far more dire when the stakes are raised and it’s a family unit that’s dealing with the disease. In the case of one or both parents becoming alcoholics, the most obvious effects on the family would be financial as well as social, referring to changes in the family dynamic. Having a drinking problem will inevitably cause financial problems since an alcoholic will have to put a much larger amount of his or her income toward alcohol than he would otherwise want or be able to do; this financial strain is further compounded when both parents are alcoholics.
It could — and often does — result in parents becoming unable to provide for their children in a way that they otherwise would’ve been able to do. And then there’s the family dynamic; the family is spending much less quality time together, and the time that is spent together is surely turbulent since being frequently intoxicated will cause changes in behavior that will result in a deteriorated relationship with one’s children. Of course, there are many other effects of alcoholism in the family unit, but these are a couple of the effects that will have lasting consequences on the adult children of alcoholics.
Are Children of Alcoholics at High Risk of Alcoholism?
Arguably the most-asked question when it comes to alcoholism or drug addiction in the family unit is whether or not having one or both parents with a substance abuse problem makes a person more likely to become an addict him or herself. On the most basic level, the answer would be yes, the children of alcoholics and addicts are more likely to become addicts themselves. The major reason for this is due to the discovery that there are a number of genetic markers that make a person more likely to develop a substance abuse problem than individuals without those genes. In the case of children of alcoholics, the children will have inherited genes from the parents that might have been the cause of their parents’ alcoholism or contributed to their substance abuse. Either way, those genes that are inherited by the children give them a much greater likelihood of becoming alcoholics themselves.
Additionally, there’s a phenomenon in psychology called modeling, or planned behavior, that’s also a factor in the frequency with which the children of alcoholics and addicts become chemically dependent later in life. In short, the idea is that children who are inherently impressionable see frequent alcohol abuse behavior, causing them to “normalize” that behavior — which means to begin believing that the abnormal behavior is actual normal due to the frequency with which they’ve been exposed to the behavior — and become very likely to exhibit that behavior (“modeling”) themselves later in life. The result is that there are more adults becoming alcoholics as a direct result of having, or having had, one or both parents who suffered from alcoholism.
A Support Group for Individuals with Alcoholic Parents
For individuals with one or both alcoholic parents, there are resources available to either help with overcoming addiction or to offer support for coping with the aftermath of growing up in a family that was dysfunctional due to alcoholism. In fact, there’s one resource in particular that can offer support for both: Adult Children of Alcoholics. This is a twelve-step support group for individuals who, as the name suggests, have parents who are or were addicted to alcohol or another substance. Additionally, this program offers support to those who simply come from dysfunctional families, whether the dysfunction was caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, or something else entirely. The idea behind Adult Children of Alcoholics is to help people find others who can relate to their experiences and offer encouragement, device, and support.
24 Hour Substance Abuse Hotline – Get Help Now
Reclaim Your Independence By Calling FindAddictionRehabs.com Today
If you or someone you love would like to discuss addiction treatment options that are currently available, call FindAddictionRehabs.com toll-free at 877-723-7117. Our team of recovery specialists are available anytime, day or night, to help you begin your healing journey.