Children of Parents who Struggle with Addiction

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Children of parents who struggle with addiction are at high risk of experiencing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, behavioral problems, and drug or alcohol abuse. Children who grow up with addicts in the family can feel uncertain, unstable, neglected, disorganized, and alone. A chaotic home environment influences a child’s feelings and behavior.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Children of addicted parents can feel guilty about their parents’ substance abuse and can believe they are the cause of it. Alcohol alters a person’s mood and can cause aggressive, abusive, and violent behavior. Alcoholism affects the way a person’s brain functions and can lead to brain damage, stroke, overdose, and death. Addiction is often linked to childhood trauma, affects a child’s development, and destroys family relationships.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that a quarter of children in the U.S. grow up in households where there is substance abuse, and studies from the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggest that children of those who struggle with addiction are eight times more likely to develop an addiction of their own.

If a child grows up in an unstable household, he or she can develop trust issues and behavioral problems. Children of parents with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are at high risk of developing an addiction to substances in adolescence or adulthood. According to John Bachman, a psychologist who specializes in addictive behaviors and disorders, most of his patients suffering from addiction have particularly traumatic pasts. Many cases include coming from a household where a primary caregiver struggled with substance abuse as well. (Lauren Chval, Chicago Tribune, 2018).

Treatment for Addiction and Mental Health

A parent who struggles with addiction should get help and begin the recovery process. When a parent stops their addictive behavior, the family can begin to heal and embrace healthy relationships with each other. Children of addicted parents need professional help to understand and cope with their family’s addiction. A child will need time to heal with intensive therapy for healthy growth and development.

There is no cure for addiction, but it is treatable. Many who go to treatment proceed to live healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and a mental health condition, get help now. Do not let the stigma of addiction and mental health keep you from getting help. Take the first step toward saving your life and get help today.


Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.