April 25, 2023

Addiction is routinely referred to as a ‘family disease’ because the ramifications are very seldomly felt solely by the individual; it touches the lives of everyone, especially the children of parents who are struggling.

Recovery First Treatment Center’s Addictionologist, Dr. Charles Smith, recently penned an op-ed for the Sun-Sentinel on the far-reaching effects that this disease can have on children, and those effects take place long before adulthood.

Aside from genetic factors, a child who grows up in a home where one or both parents misuse substances is twice as likely as their peers to become addicted to alcohol or substances by the time they reach adulthood. This is evidenced by many who struggle with addiction now – many of those who seek treatment often grew up with addicted parents.

Mental health conditions are also prevalent results from growing up in this environment as depression and anxiety are more likely to be experienced.

It would be easy to assume that when a parent seeks treatment that many of these adverse effects would reverse, but as Dr. Smith explains in his article, this is not always the case.

‘Early recovery can be just as disruptive as addiction and kids may feel the ‘trauma of recovery’ as their parents prioritize sobriety over their child’s needs,” said Dr. Smith. “Neglect and emotional abandonment are not uncommon experiences for children during this period.”

The rest of Dr. Smith’s article can be read at Sun-Sentinel.