Children Growing Up Around Addiction
Posted on 06/28/19: Addiction Treatment
Addiction is scary. This chronic brain disease can happen to anyone. However, what sometimes gets overlooked is the secondary impact this disease can have on children on those suffering. Children rely heavily on their parents in every aspect of their lives. Parents provide their children with basic necessities, model behavior, emotional support, and guidance. Unfortunately, a parent that is suffering from addiction could often limit the child’s development of healthy habits, emotional stability, and the opportunity to just be a child.
Emotional Impact On The Child
Addiction can have a significant emotional impact on a child. During these crucial years of development, it is important that a child as a solid support system at home. As addiction progresses, chemical changes begin taking place in a person’s brain. This causes a person to act irrationally, impulsively, and compulsively. This can lead to those suffering experience emotional and behavioral changes.
These changes can be particularly difficult for a child to watch their parent go through or partake in, as it does not feel like the parent who has raised them thus far. More and more attention is now being focused on the drug, which can lead to neglect of a child. A person suffering from addiction may forego former habits and responsibilities, making a child feel exceptionally vulnerable. This can cause self-esteem issues within the child, as well as make them feel emotionally distant or even affect their performance in school. The actions of their parent may become very confusing, causing the child to experience anxiety or depression.
Children Are Not Responsible For Their Parent
When a child notices a drastic change in their parental figure, they may begin to feel like it is their fault. In this way, they will feel responsible for their parent and take the necessary steps in order to correct the problem. Unfortunately, the problem can only be corrected with proper treatment that the child is unable to provide. However, this may not stop the child from attempting to help their parent. This puts an unneeded amount of stress and pressure on the child, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
A child may feel obligated to cancel plans in order to help clean up after their parent made a mess in the house. They may also get a job in order to make rent for the family or to keep their parent afloat. This level of maturity may be too much for a child when they are reliant on their parent. A child should never be a caretaker of a parent who is suffering from addiction. If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, it is imperative that you seek help immediately to minimize the effects it could have on not only you, but others.
Seeking Help For The Child
If you know a child has a parent who is experiencing addiction, it is important to act immediately. Children with a parent who is suffering from addiction can be malnourished, neglected, isolated, and even exposed to crime. It may be difficult for a child to reach out and get help on their own. For example, their parent may be convincing them that seeking outside help would be betraying them. They could also be suffering from anxiety and depression from taking on more responsibilities due to their parent’s illness which could prevent them from reaching out for help.
If you are aware that a child has a parent who is suffering from addiction, there are steps you can take to help them. First and foremost, allow them to talk to you openly and honestly. Explain to them that it is a good thing to come and talk to you and you will always listen. Give them support where their parent may be lacking or inform them about seeking help from counselors that may be available to them, such as school guidance counselors.
Provide them with a list of emergency numbers that they can refer to in a worst-case scenario. This will help them feel more prepared if they are feeling worried about their safety or the safety of their parent. Remind them that it is not their fault and that addiction is a disease.
The Stigma Surrounding Addiction
If you or a loved one has a child and is struggling with addiction, it is important to know that this does not make them a bad person or a bad parent. The stigma surrounding addiction not only affects those who need help, but also the children of those experiencing addiction. The stigma may discourage both parents and children from reaching out. There are ways to combat the stigma around addiction. If you are a child of someone suffering from addiction, one of the most beneficial things you can do is become educated on the topic.
Ask your primary doctor about addiction and read reputable books and articles on the subject. This will help you develop a better understanding. You may also wish to seek counseling to help you take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself will allow you to stay strong for your parent. If they see you seeking help, they may feel more comfortable doing the same for themselves. The first step towards the road to recovery is recognizing there is a problem and seeking help.
Seek Help for a Loved One Struggling
The best way to help a child in a bad situation when it comes to their parent suffering from addiction is to get the parent to understand that they need treatment. Addiction is a powerful and chronic disease that can not be self-treated and medical professionals must be involved. If you are the child of a parent who is struggling, recognize that their disease is not their fault.
Approaching your parent about seeking help can appear to be intimidating. Some parents are not aware that their disease is affecting their child at all. Journaling about your experiences may be effective. This will also provide you with detailed accounts that you can later present to your parent. If you are planning an intervention, it is important to consult a medical professional before you proceed. Every conversation should be judgment-free, factual, and positive.
Addiction affects millions of lives every day. Children of addiction can face many obstacles, some of which can severely impact their day to day lives. It is important that if you or a loved one is struggling with this chronic disease, you seek help immediately. Sober Living Of Arizona has a dedicated team of health professionals that strive to provide their patients with extraordinary care and a personalized plan. Turn over a new leaf and start your road to recovery today.
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If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact Sober Living of AZ now to get the help you need. Sober Living offers an acclaimed recovery environment that merges upscale and luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare. Call us now at 602-737-2458.