Alcoholism in Families: 20% Grow Up with an Alcoholic
Children who are raised with one or both parents with alcoholism are at increased risk of developing life-long emotional problems.
In addition, research sponsored by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse reveals that children of alcoholic parents, especially sons of alcoholic fathers, are four to nine times more likely to have problems with alcohol than children of non-alcoholic parents.
The American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry reported that most children of alcoholics also have experienced some form of parental neglect or abuse attributed to the disease.
Children of alcoholics are impacted with one or more of the following problems:
Children of alcoholics often try to hide the fact that one or both parents is alcohol dependent. For those close to the child, there are a number of indicators that suggest a drinking or other drug-related problem may exist at home. These include:
According to a November 2002 article published by the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, alcoholism in families causes some children to act like responsible "parents" within the family and among friends.
They may cope with the alcoholism by becoming controlled, successful overachievers throughout school, and at the same time be emotionally isolated from other children and teachers. Their emotional problems may show only when they become adults.
Children in alcoholic households need to receive professional treatment and support as early as possible to help avert life-long emotional issues and trauma.
Through counseling and peer-support group involvement with organizations like Al-Anon and Alateen, children can learn to cope with their environment and the negative consequences associated with alcoholism in families.
Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
Children Of Alcoholics, American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, No. 17; Updated November 2002