How Addiction Can Affect Children

Thousands of people across the UK battle with many different forms of addiction. These addictions can include drug addiction, alcohol addiction and sex addiction. An addiction is an illness of the brain that can have detrimental effects on not only the addict but also the addict’s family and friends. It can sometimes be described as a selfish illness, consuming the addict completely. By this statement, we mean that the addicted individual will think of nothing else but their next fix of whatever it is they are addicted to. The affected person will start to forget about responsibilities and relationships, often leaving a trail of hurt and devastation in their wake.

Partners of those suffering from addiction will often find it very difficult to cope, and in many situations, marriages may break down as a result of this. Friends and family may pass comment on how they feel terrible for the spouse because of their partner’s addiction. However, more often than not, it is the children of the addicts that feel the full force of the terrible illness.

Seeing a parent battling addiction can be extremely disturbing and distressing for some children, who may end up feeling neglected as a result. Parental addiction can be very frightening for kids, even going so far as to affect them for the rest of their lives. In many homes that are affected by addiction, the children often do not get the care and support they need. They may be subject to a variety of unpredictable, violent, or aggressive behaviour from their addicted parent, which can obviously be particularly distressing for them. It could even reach a stage where the child may even begin to blame him/herself for the parent’s behaviour, a burden that is often carried on their shoulders well into adulthood.

Possibility of Developing Health Issues in Later Life

Some children of addicts could be totally unaware that their parent is suffering from an addiction, as they may be too young to understand what addiction is. In these instances, the child may start to feel that their parent is acting in the way he/she does because of something they have done. Again, this is something that could affect the child for years.

Quite a few of these kids will go on to develop a host of physical and mental health problems as a result of living with their addicted parent. These same children may also struggle in school due to not receiving the crucial support required from a stable home, which can have an enormous impact on their chances of securing a successful career in adulthood.

Damaging Effects of Addiction on Children

Addiction can often cause the addict to act in a way that is simply unacceptable. The children of these addicts can be left confused by their parent’s constantly changing behaviour, especially if the parent is suffering from mood swings as a side effect of the addiction.

These kids often have to deal with abuse, neglect, trauma and financial hardship. In addition to this, as addiction can often lead to marriage breakdown, they will often have to cope with their parents’ separation or divorce.

Once these children get older, they may begin to understand their parents’ addiction more than they previously did. They could start to feel ashamed or embarrassed of their parent, which could make them afraid or embarrassed to invite friends home. This can lead to them becoming a target for bullies at school.

Another unfortunate fact is that of some of these children turning to drugs or alcohol themselves when they get older because they have grown up with this and may start to see it as “normal”.

Help with an Addiction

If you are reading this and feel that you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and need some help or advice, Blue Skies Recovery can help. Give us a call today for any information that you require on any of our available treatments.

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