The Discovery House Blog

Adult Children of Alcoholics: A Growing Population

September 15, 2016 Addiction Treatment

Adult children of alcoholics are a growing population and they typically face a wide array of problems in association with their exposure to alcoholism and its far-reaching effects. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that is often progressive in nature. While undeniably challenging for sufferers, alcohol addiction can also profoundly affect the children of alcoholics. Children of an alcoholic parent frequently suffer in silence and their suffering doesn’t always end once they become adults themselves.

Chaos Is Normal

The households of alcoholics are often highly dysfunctional. Children who grow up in a home where chaos occurs on a regular basis may grow up with a warped sense of normalcy. People suffering from alcoholism often face significant relationship problems, career and financial problems, and even legal problems. Chronic drinking may have even altered their mental health, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and other issues that have repercussions on children. Living with dysfunction on a daily basis can impact children in a multitude of negative ways.

Adult Children of Alcoholics: A Growing Population

Prone to Compulsive Behaviors

Alcoholism is associated with an inability to stop a compulsive behavior (i.e. drinking). Children of alcoholics are at risk for developing this same compulsive behavior or other compulsive behaviors. Adult children of alcoholics are at risk for alcoholic abuse and addiction as well as other forms of substance abuse.

Attracted to Compulsive Personalities

Many adult children of alcoholics become involved with partners who are compulsive. Forming a relationship with a compulsive drinker or gambler, for instance, is associated with dysfunction and co-dependency. Mental health therapy and addiction therapy will address these types of relationships in therapy because that can seriously affect well-being. Some adult children of alcoholics find it difficult to leave a negative relationship behind because they suffer from abandonment issues due to the neglect they may have experienced from their alcoholic parent.

Adult Children of Alcoholics: A Growing Population

Anxiety and Depression

The stress of living with an alcoholic can lead to the development of depression or anxiety. Many adult children of alcoholics are sensitive to stress and may require treatment for these mental health issues. Drug and alcohol addiction are closely linked to mental health problems, but usually in reference to the addiction sufferer. Family therapists have begun to address how alcoholism also affects the mental health of close family members like spouses and children.

Help for Adult Children of Alcoholics

The children of alcoholics have lived with complex issues for a long time. By the time they reach adulthood, they may have developed their own coping problems or compulsive behaviors. Addiction treatment at rehab centers can help adult children of alcoholics unravel the issues that affect their grownup lives. Some may require help beating an addiction while others may find that talking to a therapist can help them resolve their trust issues. Whatever the case may be, counseling can work wonders for these long sufferers who truly deserve a life removed from alcoholism.

If you or a loved one is the child of an alcoholic, you might benefit from therapy, especially if you abuse alcohol or drugs or are suffering from a mental health problem. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can successfully combat the issues that continue to make you suffer.

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