How Alcoholism Effects The Family Dynamic

by AdamS on August 9, 2012

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, upwards of twenty-eight million U.S. citizens have one or more parents that battle with alcoholism. On a larger scale, more than seventy-eight million Americans have had an alcoholic in the family. More psychologists have started to believe that some psychological disorders have been brought on by the relationships that patients have had with alcoholic family members. There are some common problems that develop in children of alcoholics that affect them into adulthood. If you want to find help for yourself or a loved one, there are drug and alcohol treatment centers in Florida that can help. Go to for more information.


This is a term that can be defined as an unhealthy attachment to an individual that has stopped functioning as a normal human being because of their addiction to drugs or alcohol. This characteristic is seen to be largely prevalent in children of alcoholics well into their adult years. The effects of codependency can be seen in their inability to confront their family members drinking issues, or in some cases will deny that there is a problem at all out of fear of disrupting the relationship in some way. A typical coping mechanism is to make an effort to control their loved ones addiction, or they will have a mindset that they can cure them by their own means.

Emotional Trauma

Children are particularly susceptible to emotional trauma caused by an alcoholic parent. Alcoholics can become so dysfunctional that they neglect many of their duties as a parent; leaving their children to play the role of an adult. It is common for them to feel guilty because of feelings of inadequacy. This leads to poor self-confidence and, as adults, they will have a very difficult time cultivating healthy relationships with others. It becomes difficult for them to understand what behaviors are unacceptable in others, and often end up in relationships with individuals that have many of the same tendencies that their parents had.

Passing On The Addiction

Research has delved that genetics, combined with the psychological scars that children of alcoholics develop make them much more likely to become an alcoholic later in life. If they are never taught that drinking can cause serious problems or if excessive drinking is a cultural norm, then they are likely to develop a drinking habit. Other disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are also more likely because they often make unrealistic efforts to control all other aspects of life besides relationships. It is common for them to tirelessly search for the approval of others while remaining callus to how people treat them.

While it is important for the treatment of alcoholism to focus first and foremost on the addict, these high numbers suggest that it is not just the lives of the alcoholic that is being affected. Within the last few years, the National Association for Children of Alcoholics has grown from twenty-one members, to an impressive two-thousand members. Groups like Al-Anon have talks dedicated to the healing of family members of alcoholics and many addiction treatment centers hold counseling sessions to help work through the damage that has been done because of alcoholism. It is very important that children of alcoholics talk to somebody about how they might have been affected by their alcoholic parent so that they can break the cycle of codependency and destructive behaviors that have been out of their control. For information about Florida alcohol rehab facilities, go to

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