How Substance Abuse in Parents Affects Children

How Substance Abuse in Parents Affects Children

When parents have an addiction problem, their children are going to feel the effects of addiction in just about all areas of their lives. Getting drug or alcohol treatment for parents is just one of the steps towards helping the family heal as a whole.

The Effects of Addiction on Children

Children have a keen sense of their environment, and they are likely aware of the signs of addiction in parents. Children of addicted parents often display unique signs that can lead to a lifetime of difficulty, if they are not afforded the time and tools to help them heal. These signs include the following:

  • Depression. Children of addicted parents often suffer from depression.
  • Low self-esteem. Children of addicted parents are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and a sense of worthlessness.
  • Negative attention seeking behavior. Children of addicted parents are likely to display negative attention seeking behaviors that could include running away, acting out, stealing or self-harming.
  • Poor educational performance. Children of addicted parents are likely to struggle with their school work. Without a positive parental influence encouraging them to succeed with their studies, kids find it difficult to focus.

Children of parents with addiction problems may also display subtle signs of living with an addict. This could include lack of proper nutrition, lack of clean clothes or signs of abuse.

Treating Parents and Children Affected by Addiction

A portion of your addiction treatment and addiction recovery will be focused on mending broken relationships with your family, including the children who may have been directly impacted by your addiction, behaviors and actions. Rehab for parents should include family addiction counseling that will allow the addicted parents to see the full effects of addiction on their children.

It is important to find a residential rehab program that encourages family weekends and include family counseling. Rehab programs offer a safe environment for children to express their feelings and their desires for healthy parents. Drug treatment for parents doesn’t just include getting the addiction help that they need, as it should also include the tools for talking to kids about addiction and rehab.