Turn back the clock 25 years or so when cigarettes were at their prime. Many people smoked to relieve stress after a long day at work. And while they knew it wasn’t good for them, the small sense of fleeting peace it gave them was enough to keep the habit alive.
As more research was made public, it turned out that secondhand smoke posed serious health risks. Most smokers were not trying to harm others on purpose. They just weren’t thinking about how their behavior affected the world outside of themselves. The same thing is happening for those who are suffering from addiction and have children.
Children of people with substance abuse disorders are often the silent victims of addiction. While it’s not talked about enough, being exposed to substance abuse has a physical, emotional and psychological impact on kids’ lives. In this post, we’re going to shed some light on the often-forgotten group of people that addiction affects.
What’s the Substance Abuse Impact on Children?
The parental drug abuse effects on children is bigger than you may realize. According to SAMHSA, around one in eight children under 17 live in a household where a parent has a substance use disorder. Addiction hurts everyone who is involved. But when it comes to kids, they are often left feeling powerless.
Let’s go through some of the different ways parental substance abuse affects children.
The Psychological Toll
First and foremost, children who grow up with an addicted parent miss out on the structure needed for healthy development. But the negative effects don’t stop when the child isn’t at home.
Children of parents with substance use disorders see the destructive behavior touch other parts of their lives. One of the most common areas that drug addiction affects is school. Kids from homes with substance abuse are more likely to:
• Act out and cause trouble in their classes
• Skip school and have failing grades
• Have more conflicts with other students and teachers
These behaviors oftentimes lead kids down the wrong path and negatively impact their futures. Knowing something you can’t control have such an impact on your future is tough to process no matter your age.
The Physical Effects
When thinking about how your drug abuse may affect your kids, the physical toll might not come to mind right away. The most obvious answer is during pregnancy where many developmental stages take place. But for kids who are already born, it’s common for them to develop:
• Intense stress that can lead to ulcers
• Anxiety and uncertainty that can lead to panic attacks
• Obsessive compulsive disorder ticks or behaviors as a way to cope with the pain and stress of having an addicted parent
Unfortunately, the physical effects don’t stop there. In some cases, adults with a substance use disorder are more likely to physically abuse their children when drunk or high.
The Emotional Impact
When a parent has a substance use disorder, it’s common for their children to be neglected. Neglect takes a heavy toll on kids while they are growing up. Why? Think about all the feelings and emotions you didn’t understand when you were a child.
With a less involved parent, children have much less understanding of what’s happening. This feeling can cause them to feel anger, distrust and apathy towards their parents over time. Substance abuse also makes it much harder for bonding to take place in the home.
By not having an emotional connection with their parents, children can develop trust issues that can haunt them well into adulthood. With an addicted parent, children are sometimes thrown into an adult role in the family. And that early exposure to stress and anxiety increases their risk of developing a substance use disorder of their own later in life, leading to a vicious cycle that’s difficult for families to escape.
It’s Not Just Your Well-Being at Risk
If you’re suffering from a substance use disorder and aren’t sure where to turn, Silver Maple Recovery can help. As a premier drug rehab facility in Cleveland, Ohio, we use evidence-based treatment to help you find hope for lasting recovery. The pain that you’re dealing with isn’t only hurting your future.
Your children are counting on you to find healing, but you don’t have to do it alone. No matter where your addiction has taken you, happiness and recovery are possible. At Silver Maple Recovery, our continuum of care is here to support your journey. From expert detox services to inpatient and outpatient treatment, we give you the tools to be authentic to yourself.
Contact Silver Maple Recovery Today
If you think you need addiction treatment, you do. Our local team is ready to hear your story and help you take the next step in your recovery journey 24/7. Contact us today to discover how you can start rebuilding a sober, fulfilling life for you and your family.