Family Members of Alcoholics

Family Members of AlcoholicsAlcoholism Is A Cultural Problem

Alcoholism is not an individual, personal problem – it’s a cultural, societal, and familial problem that is one of the most significant public health threats of modern times.  In fact, alcohol related diseases kill more than 23,000 people in the United States alone each year. (1)  And because everyone who suffers from alcoholism has family, the true reach and impact of this disease is practically incalculable.  Family members generally suffer the consequences of alcoholism as much and in some cases more than the alcoholics do themselves, and many families have been fragmented and completely ruined by the effects of alcoholism.  Understanding how this disease affects those who are not even afflicted with it is critical for people attempting to get help for alcoholism.

Alcoholism Is Responsible For More Family Problems Than Any Other Single Cause

According to AllPsych Online, “Alcoholism is responsible for more family problems than any other single cause” (2) For some people this trouble can begin before they are even born.  While in the womb, a fetus being carried by an alcoholic mother can suffer from a dangerous condition known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS.  This disease is caused by the mother’s alcohol use and often creates strong physical dependence in the child both in vitro and upon birth.  Thousands of children die each year as a result of these complications, and tens of thousands more suffer severe, lifelong disabilities and malformations.

Children of alcoholic parents are generally raised in less than favorable conditions that often result in psychological damage such as an impaired sense of self esteem, shyness and anxiety issues, difficulties adjusting socially, behavioral impairments and unreasonable fears that cause erratic, unusual behaviors.  And because alcohol is closely associated with violence in the home and child abuse, many of these children will become physically and emotionally traumatized and are at significantly increased risk of developing alcoholism and abusive behaviors later in their own life.

Parents of alcoholics suffer greatly because of their children’s alcoholism.  Some parents act as enablers by either directly or passively allowing their children’s habit to continue unabated.  Other parents take drastic steps to help their alcoholic child by arranging for an intervention or inpatient treatment program, but this can take years to develop and often is at the expense of the parent.  Watching a child ruin their own life can have severe emotional, psychological and economic repercussions for many parents.

Spouses of alcoholics suffer many of the same negative consequences that parents of alcoholics do, but usually to a much greater degree.  Anger, aggression and violence associated with alcoholism often develop into domestic abuse.  Some spouses become ostracized from friends, family and others in the community as a result of their partner’s alcoholic behavior.  Others become codependent on their alcoholic partner and get caught up in a circle of enabling, depression, abuse, and sometimes addictions of their own.

If you are suffering from alcoholism, you’re probably already aware how much your problem is affecting your family.  If not, take a second look: alcoholism isn’t just your problem – it’s everyone’s problem.  And because you can’t beat alcoholism on your own, you need the help of others including your family and a professional alcohol rehab center.  Call the number at the top of your screen now to find out how you can get the right help, right now.  Our Florida Alcohol Treatment Program is considered one of the best in the country, and we’re here 24 hours a day to provide you with a free, confidential consultation.  Call us right now and end the suffering for both you and your family.

(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  Alcohol Use

(2) Tetyana Parsons  Alcoholism and its Effects on the Family All Psych Journal  December 14, 2003


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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More