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The Effects of Alcoholism on the Adult Children of an Alcoholic


Growing up in a home where one or both parents are alcoholic has a strong impact on children and the adults that they will become. Adult children of addicts tend to follow the pattern set for them in their early years, and unfortunately, that makes them more susceptible to alcoholism. Although a family history is thought to be one of the factors that cause an alcohol use disorder, the grown children of alcoholics can break the cycle by first acknowledging that their alcohol use is a problem and then by seeking a rehabilitation facility that can provide them with professional and effective treatment. If you are the adult child of an alcoholic, you can get the personalized help that you need at White Sands Treatment Center. We are an accredited rehab center that employs board-certified physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and counselors who can help you get the support and treatment you need.

In seeking treatment, it helps to understand and confront how adult children continue to suffer from the lasting effects of parental alcohol addiction. Children who are raised by an alcoholic develop certain coping mechanisms that enable them to handle the often turbulent behavior of an intoxicated parent and the resulting dysfunction of their home environment. These mechanisms shape their personalities, the way that they perceive the world, and how they interact with others. For some, alcoholism may have also created a hostile and violent atmosphere within their family unit. Negative experiences can leave a lasting and traumatic impact, whether one grew up in the home of a violent alcoholic or a non-threatening one. As a result of these experiences, varying degrees of psychological and emotional consequences typically linger beyond childhood and the teen years.

Adult children of addicts may continue to have feelings of low self-esteem and guilt. Because lying and secrets are common traits of alcoholism, some may find it difficult to trust the actions or words of others. Adults who lived with violent alcoholics may have trouble managing their anger, or they may have feelings of intense fear when the people around them are angry or agitated. Some may have ongoing fears of being abandoned, or they may feel the need to seek out the approval and acceptance of others. As a child, alcohol-related incidents may have routinely interfered with or overshadowed moments that were meant to be joyous, and as a result, some adult children of alcoholics may be overly serious and have difficulty when it comes to relaxing or having fun. These issues can make it difficult to form or maintain relationships, both socially and romantically. In terms of romantic relationships, grown children of alcoholics may gravitate unwittingly toward partners who abuse alcohol or are alcoholics. And in addition to the increased risk of becoming an alcoholic themselves, they are also at greater risk of other addictions.

If you are the adult child of an alcoholic and are now struggling with alcoholism yourself, help is just a phone call away. At White Sands Treatment Center, we have a number of treatment programs, such as intensive outpatient rehab, inpatient medical detox, and other customized treatments that include behavioral therapy. We are so committed to your rehabilitation and recovery that we also provide family therapy. Having an alcoholic parent during your childhood can also result in mood disorders, particularly depression and anxiety, and if this is the case for you, our dual diagnosis treatment center is the right setting for you to get help. Contact us today to find out more information on how we can help you achieve and maintain sobriety.

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