Alcohol Use Disorder and Families – The Hard Truth

Updated on February 27, 2024

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic condition that makes you unable to control your alcohol consumption. People who struggle with AUD will continue to drink despite the physical, mental, and social consequences.

AUD can have a profound impact on your loved ones and lead to:

  • Relationship problems
  • Financial issues
  • Legal troubles
  • Family dysfunction

Children are especially affected by close family members with AUD. This can put them at risk of mental health issues and substance use disorders (SUD).

How Many Kids Are Living with an Alcoholic Parent?

Sadly, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 10% of children in the U.S. live with an alcoholic parent. These kids are four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. 

They may also struggle with life-long mental health issues, like:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic disorders

The Effects on Children

Children of alcoholics often experience trust issues, low self-esteem, and social problems. They may also engage in risky behaviors and have issues expressing their emotions.

These children often find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships, leading to intimacy problems later in life. This is mainly due to the instability in the family.

The problems caused by an alcoholic parent can also affect their social life and academic performance. They may also experience behavioral issues that require professional counseling, like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Aggression 
  • Mood swings

Spotting When a Parent Needs Help

The early warning signs of a parent struggling with alcoholism includes:

  • Secretive behavior about drinking
  • Irritabilty and mood swings
  • Memory lapses or blackouts
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Slurred speech and poor coordination
  • Increased alcohol tolerance

If you start seeing any of these signs consider seeking professional support.

Counselors as Crucial Allies for Children

School counselors can help identify and support children affected by parental alcohol abuse. They can recognize signs of distress in ther behavior and academic performance.

Counselors can provide support to lessen the impact of an alcoholic parent’s behavior. They can offer support and guidance to help a child’s well being.

Providing Care and Compassion to Hurt Kids

School counselors create a safe and compassionate space for students living with alcoholic parents. They offer resources and understanding to help them build trust and resilience.

Counselors can also facilitate peer support groups, individual therapy, and other interventions. These can help kids overcome trauma and prossess their emotions. Ongoing support is crucial for students to succeed academically and socially, despite the difficulties they face at home.

Road Map to Family Healing and Sobriety

There are various treatment options that can help your parents overcome alcohol addiction. These include:

  • Detoxification
  • Outpatient Programs
  • Inpatient Programs
  • Behavioral therapies
  • Family counseling
  • Aftercare

These programs provide skills and coping techniques to support long-term sobriety. Family counseling also mends strained relationships and provides education about addiction.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.