Children who grow up with one or more addicted parents may not be sure how they can help. Remember, there are several rehabilitation programs that specialize in treating parents with substance abuse disorders. If you are dealing with an addicted parent or parents at home, there is help available.
Drug Addicted Parents and Their Effects on Children
Regardless of age, children are profoundly influenced by the adults who raise them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one in four American children grow up in households where one or more people abuse substances. In homes in which at least one adult abuses alcohol or drugs, children are twice as likely to experience addictive disorders themselves.
Children of drug or alcohol addicts are more likely to experience:
- Low self-esteem
- A sense of guilt and dread
- Higher risk of developing anxiety or depression
- Higher risk of abuse, malnutrition and crime
- Emotional and behavioral issues
- A hindrance in proper brain development
- Inability to form healthy bonds with others
- Earlier onset of experimentation with drugs or alcohol
Sometimes, children of addicted parents can take on the role of the caregiver. These children may try to provide comfort, protection and stability to their parents and siblings — a role reversal called co-dependency.
How to Deal With Drug Addicted Parents
If your parents struggle with addiction, take these steps:
- Make a list of emergency phone numbers. If things get out of control or you feel scared, call one of the numbers.
- Spend time with friends you trust and confide in them about what’s happening at home.
- Find an activity that makes you feel good or brings a sense of peace, like painting, drawing, writing, listening to music or playing a sport.
- Confide in at least one adult you trust.
- Write down your feelings.
Confronting an addicted parent is often easier in adulthood. Although every situation is different, honesty can go a long way in helping an addicted parent get help or become aware of how their actions are affecting the people around them.
If you’re struggling with how to deal with an addicted mother, father or other family member, try letting them know that you want to help and that you’re not there to judge. Provide an example of how their addiction has impacted your life and ask someone close to you to lend support.
Get Help With Life-Saving Treatment at Gateway
It’s never too late to seek help for an addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, Gateway is here. We can help you work through the emotional problems associated with substance abuse and co-dependency.
For over 50 years, our caring and knowledgeable staff members have helped individuals get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety. We are considered a preferred or in-network provider for a variety of insurances, and pride ourselves on providing quality treatment that works! Contact Gateway today to start your recovery journey.