Influence of addictions on children
Dr Varsha Saxena
Hsr layout, Bengaluru Apr 17, 2019
Addiction to drugs, stimulants, or alcohol has a very negative effect on physical as well as mental health. Substance abuse or addiction not only affects the person doing it but can also have a pernicious social effect. Addictions can take a toll on the personal and social life of the person, and affect far more people than the abuser himself (including family, friends, relatives, colleagues etc).
The secondary ill effects of addictions can clearly be observed in cases where children are brought up under such circumstances. Children brought up under drug or alcohol addict parents do face some kind of psychological and emotional difficulties. Some common ways in which addiction affects children are:
Addiction in parents can instill the feeling of guilt in a child. The child may start blaming himself or herself for the habits of the parent. Children do not think much logically and are susceptible to deriving conclusions on their own without much thinking. They may assume that they are the central cause of the addiction and feel guilt for years.
The child may feel embarrassed talking to other children about family life. Moreover, the child may even feel more embarrassed when their parents get intoxicated publicly. Such happenings kindle feelings of resentment in the child and embitter their relationship with parents or friends.
It is not uncommon for parents struggling with addiction to neglect the needs of the children. A child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs are not taken care of, which makes the child feel lonely, isolated, and unattended. Subsisting becomes even more difficult if the child has no siblings and no one to talk to. This is very dangerous as it can lead to chronic depression and even thoughts of suicide.
Children growing under drug or alcohol abusive parents often develop anger and resentment against others. This can lead to complications and even violence in the social life of a child.
Besides the above-mentioned problems, children also develop anxiety and often remain confused about themselves and their surroundings. Also, the complications and difficulties do not end with the childhood. After growing up, such children often develop impulsive behavior, have difficulty forming close relationships, and may even start abusing drugs or alcohol themselves.