Along with the health issues that can arise from it, alcohol abuse can lead to many more issues outside the realm of the abuser’s body. It can affect relationships, it can hurt friendships, and perhaps worst of all, it can seriously hurt marriages and family. This includes how it can lead to lasting effects on children.
Alcohol abuse can lead to conflicts within a marriage. This can manifest in a variety of ways from infidelity, domestic violence, financial issues, and other forms of spousal estrangement. This, in turn, can affect the way that children grow.
In the eyes of the children, they may find themselves not getting the attention they need from their parents because they’re too busy dealing with one another in the midst of alcohol abuse. At other times, it’s the complete opposite, and we hear stories of children receiving the absolute wrong kind of attention in the form of physical and emotional abuse. This often leads to children suffering from emotional problems, possible trauma, and it can linger on with them even as they grow into adulthood. When these children reach adulthood, they may suffer from an increased risk of alcohol abuse, terrible mood swings, and even repeated behaviors that were initially exhibited by their parents who were under the influence of alcohol. In the end, it becomes a cycle of sorts when alcoholism involves the children.
Children suffering in homes of alcoholism may also suffer in other ways. Children may start to fail in school when they may have been doing well before. The stress at home may cause the child to overstress in their school environment, seeking to overachieve in class to somehow alleviate the terrible situation they have at home. Or the child may begin to emulate the parent’s behavior, whether at school or just when around friends, resulting in violent interactions and/or the loss of friends. As the child grows, he/she may begin engaging in riskier behaviors such as drugs or even abusing alcohol like the parent. And last, but not least, the child will likely exhibit signs of growing depression, and suicidal tendencies may even manifest
It is absolutely important that the alcoholic parent, or the child that has begun to engage in alcoholism, seek treatment as soon as possible. The sooner that it can be treated, the sooner that life can return to normal, not just for the child, but for the whole family.