One of the most difficult concepts for an addict to grasp is that his or her actions with drugs and alcohol are harming other people. You may believe otherwise, but evidence and countless studies prove that substance abuse is harmful to loved ones, friends, employers, the general public, and particularly children.
SAMHSA reports that roughly 1 in 8 children in the U.S. are currently living in a household with at least one parent who has a substance use disorder. While the effects of this can be devastating, there are some substance abuse resources that these youth can access for support. Parents can also attend drug rehab to break free from addiction and find recovery.
The Issues Facing Children of Addicted Parents
Living with an addicted parent can be a harrowing experience for a child of any age. There is a profound and lasting effect of parental drug addiction on children that can range from neglect to chronic and severe physical and emotional abuse.
Infants born to mothers who abused drugs or alcohol while pregnant could suffer from mental and physical birth defects. Children of alcoholics and addicts also struggle more in school and have more behavioral problems than their peers.
Children who live and grow up in these households run the risk of developing mental health disorders as well as a substance use disorder. Children of alcoholics have a four times greater chance than other children of developing an alcohol use disorder. While there is a genetic component to this risk, the home environment also plays a role in the child’s outcome.
Ways to Support Children of Addicted Parents
While these environments are less than ideal, there are some substance abuse resources available for children who are living in a home with an addicted parent. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics states that it is essential that children in these situations understand that they are not alone and that addiction is a disease.
The four ways that children of addicted parents can find support include:
- Support Groups. Alateen and Alatot are the versions of Al-Anon for children. These are 12-step programs that provide support for loved ones of alcoholics.
- D.A.R.E. (Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education). This is a resource that can be found in many schools, which can provide education and support to children in these situations.
- Call for Help. If a child needs help, they should never be afraid to ask. Letting a responsible adult know what is going on in the home is the best choice. Children can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE.
- Stay Informed. Children can learn about addiction and its effects. This can help a child understand what is going on in the home and help break the cycle.
These substance abuse resources can help children understand that they are not the cause of a parent’s addiction nor can they control the circumstances at home. Children may also learn some valuable coping skills and strategies for self-care. While a child finds the support he or she needs, parents who are addicted can do the same by seeking help at a drug rehab center.
Where Parents Can Find Effective Drug Rehab
One of the greatest gifts that a parent can give a child is being completely present for them as they grow up. Unfortunately, substance abuse robs parents of the ability to do this for a child, and that theft is subtle. If you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, there is caring and compassionate help available.
At The Recovery Village, our goal is to help you break free from the bonds of addiction so that you can be present for your children. Addiction is a powerful disease and one that is only going to worsen with time. The sooner you address substance abuse issues, the more sober time you will have with your growing children. Contact us now to find out how one of our treatment programs can suit your needs.