Rehab Clinics Group is committed to making sure that anyone across the UK has access to affordable professional drug and alcohol addiction treatment which can not only get you clean but help you to forge a successful life of sobriety after you leave our care.
One of the ways that our quality of addiction treatment is so effective is that we are aware of, and consider carefully, all aspects of addiction — including the physical effects, the psychological effects, as well as the emotional effects of drug addiction and/or alcohol addiction.
However, when you are suffering from addiction, a lot of people can be blind to the effects that addiction has on those around you, be them friends, co-workers, or family members.
The impact of substance abuse on families and children, in particular the ways that parents’ addiction can affect children’s education and lead to teenage addiction, is of paramount importance when it comes to understanding and treating addiction.
How addiction affect children of all ages can take a variety of forms, none of which are good. It is vitally important to be aware of the toll that addiction may be taking on your children or children around you regardless of whether you are struggling with an addiction yourself, someone close to you is struggling with addiction, or even whether you think that you may be developing addictive tendencies.
Being aware of how addiction impacts young children can not only help you to realise the destructive tendencies that you are developing and hopefully avoid them, but, most importantly, also help protect vulnerable children in your life.
How Addiction Takes A Toll On Your Relationships
Addiction, be it substance abuse or alcoholism, destroys countless lives each year — and also has a terribly adverse effect on families as a whole. People struggling with an addiction will commonly become increasingly selfish and self-absorbed as their focus becomes solely on the act/substance around which their addiction is centred.
As a consequence, relationships and responsibilities that were once at the forefront their mind become lost to the pursuit of their addiction, which often has a catastrophic impact on everyone near and dear to them.
Due to the fact that it can be incredibly difficult to approach an addict about their illness, and get them the help they need, marriages can frequently break down as a result. Although, in a lot of cases, the children of people who are struggling with the illness can often become forgotten victims as well.
As an addict becomes more distant and self-absorbed, this can lead to children feeling abandoned and neglected by their parents, which has disastrous consequences on a child’s mental state and development.
Furthermore, the neglect that addicts can inflict upon their children can take more physical manifestations, with children of addicted parents not receiving the basic care they require, as well as being on the receiving end of constant unpredictable behaviour/actions from their addicted parent.
The physical and/or mental trauma that children can experience at the hands of an addict will likely go on to affect them in later life, and when children internalise their feelings of fear and stress this can only further the damage in the long-term as well.
One of the consequences of children seeing a parent fall prey to the destructive and erratic effects of addiction can also be that they come to blame for themselves for their parent developing this addiction and negative behaviours. It is unlikely that young children will be able to understand the nuances of addiction and the complexities of this tragic illness, and this is when they can begin to blame themselves and bring about long-lasting mental distress upon themselves.
The Effects Addiction Takes On Children
Due to the volatile and neglectful behaviour that an addicted parent can exhibit, children can experience a whole host of negative repercussions. The daily stress of seeing a parent struggle and lash out can lead to them develop feelings of anxiety and depression, and they may also begin to lash out both at home and at school as a result of this neglect.
However, all children are different, and other young children in the same conditions may instead begin to withdraw into themselves and stop engaging with others and essentially repress all of their emotions as a way to cope with their current situation. This behaviour, if untreated, can lead to catastrophic damage in later life in a child’s ability to forge meaningful relationships with others, and develop a support network to cope through difficult periods.
This emotional repression and not being able to trust other people can also lead to children of addicts developing their own dependencies/addictions as a way to deal with issues which they do not feel that they are able to share with others.
While there is a lot of work done into the idea of addiction being a genetic trait, there is no concrete evidence as such of this correlation; however, there is a lot of research which shows that children of addicts can exhibit similar behaviours as they parents in order to cope with their problems. And, without addressing this issue, the children pf addicts will carry these unhealthy behaviours and repressions into later life, when it will be harder for them to break out of their negative practices.
It Is Crucial To Understand The Impact That Your Addiction Has On Your Family
Understanding the long-lasting damage of how substance use affects children can be a cornerstone of a lot of addict’s recovery. In fact, one 2013 study published in the National Library Of Medicine into the impact of substance abuse on family dynamics found that “Individuals with SUDs cannot be understood and treated effectively without considering the impact on the whole family.
All persons influence their social environment and in turn are influenced by it. The family system must be factored into the understanding of the disease development and maintenance as well as be included in the efforts necessary for successful ongoing treatment.”
Furthermore, the study also noted that, “The earlier we can intervene in the progression of an SUD, the better the outcomes for all family members.”
This conclusion not only tangibly confirms the detrimental effect of substance abuse and alcoholism on families as a whole, but it also shows that getting professional help with overcoming an addiction as soon as possible can not only help the individual addict but it is also everyone around them.