It is estimated that over 30 million Americans struggle with substance abuse or alcoholism daily. It is a bit shocking to think that a large percentage of those people are also parents. Children of addicts often suffer in tandem with their parents. If not in utero, kids suffer from the neglect that almost always comes hand in hand with parental addiction.
Though there is no miracle solution to the struggle, educating the masses can help to reduce the damage caused by this terrible epidemic. Treatment does save lives. Take a moment to review this short overview of some of the most common issues faced by children with parents struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction.
Unborn children and babies are at risk
It is a well-known fact that whatever the mother takes into her body is transferred (to some degree) to her unborn or breastfeeding child. Unfortunately, women who are deep in the throes of addiction do not typically stop using when they discover that they are pregnant, and babies are born addicted every day.
An unborn child subjected to such harsh chemicals can suffer some very real repercussions. Drug use can damage the child’s central nervous system, cause heart malformations, and raise the risk of developmental disabilities. The damage caused by prenatal drug use does not stop once the child is born.
Chemical dependency and childhood neglect
Parents who are deep in the realm of drug use and abuse are almost always guilty of child neglect. It is simply too a daunting task to properly tend to small children and be high at the same time. Most addicts prefer the getting high over changing diapers and packing lunches.
Addicted parents typically fall short on maintaining their own personal hygiene, much less the cleanliness of the children. Their homes are commonly unkempt and disheveled. Children either have no boundaries or they are set to respect some very strict and unrealistic expectations.
Developmental and mental health issues
Children who live in a home with constant drug use and alcohol abuse are more likely to have developmental issues. They will most likely have behavioral troubles in school, and have trouble building healthy relationships. There is also a higher rate of mental illness in children of addicts. They are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Foster care and misplaced children
Sadly, drug use can lead to jail or even prison time, leaving children without a guardian. Meth users are the worst for this, as in many states, methamphetamine possession is an instant separation of children from their parents.
Generational substance abuse problems
As children grow and learn the ways of their parents, they become more susceptible to carrying on the tradition of drug use in their own lives. Addiction is too often a generational curse.