Children of Drug Addicts Are More Likely to Have Problems as Adults

Children of Drug Addicts Are More Likely to Have Problems as Adults

According to the Alcohol Addiction Ireland website, the average Irish adult consumed 11.9 litres of alcohol in 2010. The website reports that problems associated with alcohol cost Ireland around €3.7billion in 2007.

The problem of substance abuse in Ireland is not garnering unprecedented attention, but some advocacy groups are trying to draw attention to another negative impact of substance abuse in the country – the impact on Ireland’s children. Alcohol Addiction Ireland has been campaigning for over three years to draw attention to these silent victims of substance abuse.

Parental Substance Abuse Impacts Children

The National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) in Ireland recently released a new report titled “Parental Substance Misuse: Addressing its Impact on Children.” The report was a compilation of all known significant international research which dealt with the topic of substance abusing parents and its impact on their children.

Those closest to the research said that the report makes plain that, compared to children whose parents are not abusers of alcohol or drugs, children whose parents abuse substances are significantly more apt to “experience a cascading chain of problems.” Those problems may include:

  • Impaired mental health
  • Poor academic performance
  • Problems with social skills
  • An increased likelihood that they themselves would suffer substance abuse problems

Alcohol and drug misuse lead to poor parenting, stressful family situations, and sometimes foster care or homelessness for children. For the child, this can create desperate feelings of emotional isolation frequently associated with social marginalization. Sadly, according to this report, the problems engendered by parental substance abuse do not end with childhood, but are likely to cause suffering throughout their adult lives and in many cases, even into the third generation.

How to Help Addicted Parents & Their Children

Steps to help solve the problem suggested within the report focused on a couple of key areas. First, the report highlights the necessity of better coordination among adult addiction services, child and family services, and the medical profession. Since addiction does not impact only one person, it only makes sense to more effectively coordinate healing efforts, too. Recent estimates suggest that somewhere between 61,000 and 104,000 children under the age of 15 years live with an alcoholic parent.

The study further suggests improvements in the area of prenatal substance abuse prevention. One study of women who came through the Coombe Women’s Hospital discovered that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the 43,318 women surveyed admitted to drinking while they were pregnant. Drinking during pregnancy can be extremely damaging to the baby, raising the risk of fetal alcohol disorders.

Alcohol Abuse in Ireland

Ireland consumes more alcohol per capita than any other European country. The rate of alcoholism in the country is climbing and it is taking a heavy toll on the country’s children. It is estimated by some that one in 10 adults in Ireland is alcoholic; other estimates predict that the rate of alcoholism is even higher.

The misuse of mood-altering substances never affects only the person who abuses drugs or alcohol but instead impacts a minimum of four to five other people around them – most often children. The negative impact of substance abuse on children can make childhood a period of emotional desperation and the scars do not go away, but continue to impact lives all the way into adulthood.

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