The Effects of Alcoholism on Families and Children


When a loved one develops an addiction to any drug, including alcohol, more often than not, it affects more than just themselves. The effects of alcoholism on families are not only numerous but also potentially harmful to all involved. When a family member is addicted to alcohol, counseling and therapy will be necessary in order to achieve a full and lasting recovery. The trained staff at White Sands Treatment Center specialize in personalized rehab programs that are designed to help our clients not only overcome their dependency but also find and address factors that could encourage future relapses.

Alcohol dependency is a widespread disease that affects more than 17 million Americans. While the focus is typically placed on the individuals who have the drinking problem, the effects of alcoholism on families are often overlooked and easy to underestimate. The actions of an alcoholic often put the family in an undesirable position. For instance, if a person with alcoholism loses their job, this can make it difficult or impossible for a family to pay bills, buy food, or otherwise make ends meet. Alcoholism can lead a person to commit crimes, such as driving under the influence. Drunk driving sets a bad example for kids and can result in an accident that may injury or even kill family members. The effects of alcoholism on children can be especially traumatic as an alcoholic parent may become verbally or physically abusive toward them or toward their other parent in front of them.

Because alcoholism often negatively impacts relationships, a couple may separate or divorce, which can be particularly hard on children. Some children may begin to feel that they are somehow at fault, which may have a profoundly negative effect on their self-esteem or their relationships with their peers. They may suffer from feelings of guilt, embarrassment, anxiety, or anger. In some cases, children of alcoholics may also developĀ behavioral problems. Ultimately, children exposed to alcoholism also run the risk of abusing or becoming addicted to alcohol themselves as teens or adults. To understand the true danger of the effects of alcoholism on children, it is necessary to know how many children are affected. As many as one in four children know of or are living with a family member who has a problem with alcohol addiction. When someone has a problem with alcoholism, effects on family members are also likely to worsen over time along with the person’s addiction.

Family influences may also impact a person’s ability to stay sober after their rehabilitation. If a spouse has a problem with alcoholism, it will be necessary for the other spouse to abstain from drinking in their presence and to encourage abstinence in order to reduce the risk of a relapse. A strong family support network reduces the likelihood of a person becoming dependent again. When it comes to alcoholism, effects on family members necessitate that everyone works together to ensure a lasting recovery.

The staff at White Sands Treatment Center includes board-certified medical professionals including counselors, doctors, nurses, and psychiatrists, and while there is no outright cure for alcohol dependency, we are dedicated to helping our clients achieve a successful and lasting recovery. Our medical professionals are trained to develop individualized approaches that concentrate on each person’s specific needs and circumstances, and our programs evolve as clients’ situations change. As alcoholism affects more than just the individual, we also offer family therapy programs to provide support and aid the healing process. If you or a loved one suffers from alcohol dependency, don’t wait until the situation gets out of hand. Call, email, or chat online with one of our counselors and get a free clinical assessment today.