How to deal with a parent’s alcohol abuse

May 6, 2014

This video has been circulating around the web recently and it presents a very powerful message. While the post below was scheduled for today, I thought I’d share this amazing video with you so…I’d like to invite you to watch this video and consider the impact addiction has not just on the individual but entire family. Help spread this powerful message by sharing this video.

Experiencing a parent who drinks

Many children are first exposed to alcohol through their parents, who may enjoy a glass of wine at dinner or a beer after work. For some families, alcohol is just a way to relax at the end of the day, but when one or both parents begin to drink heavily and habitually, children may be more affected than most people think, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry explained.

Because most children see their parents as a source of support and stability, unpredictable behaviors caused by alcohol abuse leave many adolescents with nowhere to turn for help. They may feel that they are somehow the cause of their parents’ actions, which could give rise to intense feelings of guilt and anxiety. Children may also be reluctant to bring friends to their house, as they may be embarrassed or ashamed of the state of their family.

Later in life, the AACAP said that children might have difficulty maintaining close relationships due to repeated breaches of trust between parent and child. This may also result in long-term anger and depression issues, along with other difficulties in school or with friends.

Reaching out for help

Even though the picture may seem bleak, children of parents with substance abuse issues are not completely bereft of options. In fact, much like those who struggle with drug addiction themselves, seeking professional help is the best way to start the recovery process.

Psych Central explained that while children may feel uncomfortable going above their parents for help, specialists at alcohol treatment programs across the country can take over the difficult issue of broaching treatment and recovery to a parent. With a professional involved, children should feel more comfortable knowing that their parents are in good hands.

Also, children with parents who struggle with alcohol abuse should not attempt to keep their parents’ issues a secret from the world. This does not mean that they need to publicize the fact that a parent is struggling with alcohol, but they should not actively hide it from friends and other family members. This is nothing more than avoiding a serious issue that needs attention. Children can acknowledge that their parent needs help by discussing their situation with close friends, teachers, school counselors or their coaches for sports teams.

Children who grew up in an environment of alcohol abuse are also more susceptible to develop dangerous habits with the substance later in life, TeensHealth explained. When those children mature, they should be aware that their genetics could make them predisposed to a dependence or addiction to alcohol.

The most important thing for children of parents with a history of substance abuse to understand is that the loved one they know is only temporarily affected by alcohol. If the parent receives proper treatment, children can get their real parents back.

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