The effects of addiction often extend past the user.
Children of drug-addicted parents are often heavily affected. While they may not always be able to grasp the details of the problem, they may realize that something is wrong. Because addiction is a chronic and obsessive disease, individuals who suffer from drug or alcohol abuse tend to prioritize their habits over their kids. As a center for addiction treatment in Stuart, we understand how children of drug-addicted parents are impacted and the struggles they may face as a result.
Effects of Addiction on Children
So many things go into the relationship between addicted parents and their kids. The effects of parental drug addiction on children are often evident in their physical, mental, and emotional development. While many kids succeed despite their parent’s addiction, the underlying damage is often rooted too deeply to ignore.
How children of drug-addicted parents are impacted physically often begins even before their birth. Unfortunately, there are many pregnant women who have drug or alcohol addictions. The physical effects of drug use on children often include fetal alcohol syndrome, cognitive impairment, physical disability, brain damage, and drug or alcohol abuse.
A family dynamic involving an addicted parent is often chaotic and unpredictable. Not only can prenatal exposure cause physical disabilities, but kids in these situations often end up requiring drug or alcohol addiction treatment themselves.
Higher Risk of Abuse
Children of addicts are more likely to experience verbal, physical, and mental abuse. Drugs and alcohol are known for affecting behavior and often cause users to act out aggressively. To cope with the negative symptoms of substance abuse, parents will lash out at their children in heartbreaking ways.
In addition to witnessing their parent’s struggle with addiction, children may also develop mental disorders as a result of any trauma or abuse they experienced. Disorders like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are common amongst children who suffered at the hands of an addicted parent. These mental disorders may even stem from the child’s infancy. For example, children who received inconsistent care and nurturing from a parent with a drug or alcohol addiction may experience difficulties in emotional development in the future.
Many children with addicted parents are bounced around from home to home because of their parent’s financial instability. Drug addicts often spend most of their finances on their habits, leaving the bills unpaid. Moving to different places is a common aspect of this type of home life. This can greatly affect a child’s feelings of security regarding their parents. They may also resort to illegal activity to make money.
Many addicted parents are eventually unable to properly care for their children. These kids are moved into the foster care system or sent to live with other relatives. This can have a great emotional and mental impact, especially regarding their relationship with their parents.