Children face tremendous risk in living with an alcoholic parent because they can be both emotionally and physically hurt, the scars of which can last for years. One in five children have grown up in a household with an alcoholic parent, which is a scary thought because children of alcoholics are four times more likely to become one themselves.
If you have a problem with alcohol or know someone that is creating a toxic environment due to their alcoholism, it's time to speak up. Here are some of the emotional states a child who is raised in an alcoholic environment may develop in life:
A 2003 study found that when a parent induces guilt upon their child, he or she internalizes those problems. This sense of guilt can often develop into disorders like depression or anxiety later in life. While it's never the child's fault, they usually don't understand this. Instead, they blame themselves for many of the problems a parent or loved one is facing because of their alcoholism.
As a child grows older, he or she becomes more aware of the toxic situation they're a part of. They start to worry about their safety or the safety of others around them. They may also agonize over the possibility that the alcoholic parent will injure themselves. The emotional scarring developed by this traumatic event often stays with them through adulthood.
When a child is young, they may not completely understand the impact the alcoholic parent is having on them or others. However, as that child grows older, they begin to understand, which makes them feel ashamed to invite friends over or ask professionals like law enforcement or doctors for help. As a result of the embarrassment, the subsequent guilt trip and lack of reaching out for help, the child becomes entrapped in their own vicious cycle.
A child may blame themselves or the parent for the alcoholic parent's behavior. In either case, they're likely to become angry. The child may resent their parent's lack of judgment and poor nurturing.
If you've grown up with a loved one struggling with alcoholism and need help in getting them the treatment they need, contact Fairwinds Treatment Center. Founded 25 years ago by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, Fairwinds Treatment Center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism. Our full-time psychiatrists, nursing professionals and licensed therapists use a dual diagnosis process to treat the disease and address the underlying causes for the disorder. In doing so, they can better ensure patients recover and don't relapse during their recovery.
If you are interested in learning more or would like to set up an appointment, please contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today.