Every parent wants what is best for their child, but when a substance abuse problem develops, it can put their children in jeopardy.
What many people with drug and alcohol problems do not realize is that their substance use affects more than just them. Children are at an impressionable age and a parent’s addiction can lead to lasting damage.
The Effects of Addiction on Children
Your addiction may be causing you distress, but it could be causing even more harm to your children. Our Heartland rehab is going over how addiction affects children both in the short and long term.
Poor Physical Health
Children of addicted parents often have physical health problems that can range from minor to severe. Along with their parents neglecting to take them to routine doctors or dentist appointments, children of addicted parents may struggle with more serious health problems because of their parent’s substance abuse. Expectant mothers who abuse drugs or alcohol while pregnant can lead to serious and lasting birth defects for their children. Some children affected by addiction may also struggle with malnutrition because their parents are more concerned about fueling their addiction than getting healthy food on the table.
Mental Health Problems
Along with physical health problems, many children affected by addiction struggle with poor mental health. They may develop anxiety disorders from worrying about their addicted parent, taking on too much responsibility, or the stress of other people finding out about their parent’s problem. Even if the parent gets drug or alcohol treatment, many children will suffer from a constant fear of their parent relapsing and leaving them to fend for themselves again. Depression is another common mental health problem for children with addicted parents because they may feel lonely, hopeless, and neglected emotionally.
Some children of drug addicted parents develop behavioral issues. They may act out to get attention that they are not getting at home or mimic their addicted parent’s behavior. This type of bad behavior can lead to problems in school or with friends and could develop into bigger issues later that could get them into serious trouble. Setting a good example by getting help like with a partial hospitalization program can show your child that no matter how far someone has fallen, they can still pick themselves back up.
Because of their young age, children are vulnerable and impressionable. Not only can a parent’s addiction cause problems for them now, but also these problems often carry over into adulthood. A common example of this is relationship problems. Kids of addiction often have complicated and unhealthy relationships with their parents. This type of controversial relationship with their primary caregiver can affect their personal relationships in the future. They may develop attachment issues and be more prone to toxic relationships in adulthood.
Exactly how addiction affects children will depend on a variety of factors, but it certainly makes their life harder. Your addiction is not just your problem. If you are struggling to quit for yourself, get sober for your children instead.
At Banyan Heartland, we are here to help. Take the first step to sobriety today by calling 888-280-4763.
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.
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