Parental Substance Abuse Dangerous For Children
With 40 million Americans aged 12 and above meeting the criteria for addiction involving illegal drugs, alcohol or nicotine, the demand for drugs in the country has been skyrocketing over the past several years. At the economic level, substance abuse costs over $600 billion annually to the government through lost productivity and a tremendous burden on state resources. Although certain drugs are more dangerous than others, most of the illicit drugs, invariably, result in health hazards, fatal overdoses, traffic accidents and injuries, claiming the lives of thousands of victims every year.
Drug abusers are often associated with violent crimes that affect every sphere of their lives, as well as the life of their kith and kin. However, children are the worst hit by the substance abuse problem of their parents. Such children face tremendous difficulties in life, apart from sheer neglect, abandonment or even ill-treatment at the hand of such a parent as well as a prolonged exposure to drugs or alcohol. Most of these problems stem from the inability of parents grappling with addiction to provide for their family’s physical and emotional needs, which eventually paves the way for long-lasting drastic effects such as a never-ending vicious cycle of addiction and abuse spanning generations.
Children of substance abusers prone to physical and mental diseases
Children of parents who are battling any kind of addiction are prone to an array of physical and mental issues, such as fear, worry, sadness, aggression, etc. Here are some of the problems faced by children whose parents are hooked on to illegal substances:
Growing confusion and insecurity: Even if one parent at home is in the grip of an addiction, the home is most likely to be in complete disorder and chaos. The parent’s urge to satisfy the drug cravings can cause him or her to compromise on responsibilities whether towards their children or work or home. In such a scenario children often have to deal with a difficult home environment and develop insecurity. The parent’s unpredictable mood swings and absence of household rules can instill a profound sense of low self-esteem and confusion in such children, damaging them psychologically.
Increase in responsibilities: Often, children of drug abusers end up taking on significant responsibilities at home and become self-reliant at a younger age. The older siblings may take up the responsibilities of running the house or cooking and caring for the younger siblings.
Emotional trauma: Children living with parents addicted to substances harbor immense resentment and hatred toward their parents. As a consequence, they go through significant emotional upheaval that leaves an everlasting impact on their immature minds. Moreover, spending extended periods in the absence of parental company makes them feel unwanted and unimportant. Such negative experience can cause anxiety, depression and low self-esteem in their adult lives.
Increased physical health problems: A parent’s alcohol or drug addiction problem can also compromise a child’s physical health and well-being. Children of drug users may develop stress-related health disorders such as gastrointestinal problems, migraines or even asthma, which might cause them to miss school and other outdoor activities. Additionally, the children of parents whose thought processes are impaired by prolonged substance abuse are also vulnerable to physical injuries due to their parent’s poor supervision and childcare.
Recovery road map
Children with parents having a substance abuse problem experience severe mental turmoil, which can lead to the risk of mental, emotional and other disorders. It does not mean that such children are destined to suffer. Thankfully, it is always possible to break the vicious cycle of substance abuse with timely intervention. Fortunately, help is at hand since there are many programs in effect which can help overcome substance abuse.
If you or a loved one is grappling with an addiction to any substance, get in touch with the Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors to know about the best substance abuse treatment centers in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866–300–5857 to speak to our representatives who can guide you to the best comprehensive and long-term substance abuse treatment programs in Colorado.