Millions of Americans suffer from alcoholism and the majority of these individuals do not get the help they need for their problem. Because of this, millions of families suffer from the negative effects of alcoholism each year.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 7.5 million (1 in 10) children lived with a parent abusing alcohol during any given year between 2005 and 2010. An estimated 6.1 million children lived in two-parent households where one or both parents suffered from alcohol abuse, and 1.4 million lived in a single-parent home where the adult had a drinking problem.
The Effects of Parental Alcoholism on Children
Alcoholism devastates families and it leaves lasting impacts on children. These children do not have the stability they need at home to be healthy and happy. 1 in 10 children live in fear of their alcoholic parent, or have to take on added responsibilities when their parent can’t function. 1 in 10 children are embarrassed because of their home life, or have to lie or make excuses to cover up their parent’s alcoholism. 1 in 10 children are at greater risk for developing alcoholism or drug addiction, because of their parent’s influence.
SAMHSA’s current Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde says the statistics are alarming. “The enormity of this public health problem goes well beyond these tragic numbers as studies have shown that the children of parents with untreated alcohol disorders are at far greater risk for developing alcohol and other problems later in their lives,” she said.
Parents need to do better. Alcoholism affects families, and children are usually the ones that suffer the most. Alcoholism controls lives and must be treated by professionals. Parents should be encouraged to stop denying they have a problem or insisting they have everything under control. They need to stop putting their children at risk and start finding help for their alcoholism. Treatment is available and it is effective. Many parents are learning how to live without alcohol, and are working to make their children’s lives better.