Children of Alcoholics: An Overview

Children of Alcoholics: An Overview

The Facts

Alcoholism and drug abuse affects the entire family.

Children of alcoholics:

  • are at greater risk for alcoholism and other drug abuse when compared to children of nonalcoholics,
  • face greater physical and mental health concerns (specifically depression and anxiety) than children of non-alcoholics;
  • have greater difficulty in school; and
  • have greater difficulty with abstract and conceptual reasoning

Know the Following Signs

Guilt: may feel like they are the reason for parents’ alcohol/drug use

Anxiety: fear of arguments and/or uncertainty creates constant worry and emotional hyper vigilance.

Embarrassment: may feel ashamed of the family “secret” which may cause them to withdraw from others

Confusion: unpredictability in the family life causes uncertainty in other situations

Inability to trust: repeated disappointments and broken promises make it difficult to trust and develop close bonds with others

Anger: may be a result of resentment toward the drinking parent. Most often anger is projected on to innocent people

Depression: feelings of loneliness and helplessness are common

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