Why Children of Alcoholics Are More Likely to Face Prison - ATS

Study: Children of Mothers Who Misuse Alcohol Are More Likely to Face Prison

Study Children Of Alcohol Misuse Likely To Face Prison - Addiction Treatment ServicesThe Research Society on Alcoholism recently conducted a study of the link between mothers who misused alcohol and their children’s likelihood of engaging in criminal activity later in life.

Most people are aware of the ways alcohol abuse contributes to crime rates, including DUI accidents, interpersonal violence and domestic abuse. However, parents with alcohol-related disorders can have many more negative influences on their children, including propelling them into early contact with the criminal justice system.

The study of nearly 60,000 mothers concluded that children of mothers with alcohol-related disorders were nearly twice as likely to face the justice system as children of mothers with no alcohol-related disorders. At Addiction Treatment Services, we want everyone to realize that seeking treatment for yourself or your struggling loved one sooner rather than later can help prevent contributing to this trend.

How Alcohol Abuse Affects Kids

Children of parents with alcohol-related disorders often suffer in numerous ways due to their parents’ behavior. This can include direct abuse from parents, neglect, financial ruin, trauma and psychological disorders later in life.

Children caught in these situations often don’t have much choice in the matter, nor do they typically have the capacity to seek help on their own behalf. The various possibilities all trend toward these children growing up with a higher likelihood of giving in to risky behavior.

Here are a few of the ways parental alcoholism contributes to this crisis:

Domestic Abuse

Children often suffer physical abuse from alcoholic parents. Alcohol significantly impairs judgment and increases emotional volatility. Advanced alcohol-related disorders can cause parents to lose touch with reality.

Physical abuse early in life often causes children to develop unhealthy attachments to, or interpretations of, violence. Children with abusive parents often grow up to have difficulties in other relationships as well.

Neglect and Financial Ruin

Parents with advanced alcohol-related disorders regularly fail to complete daily household tasks or other mundane but essential actions, such as cleaning clothes and preparing food. In some cases, parents neglect obligations such as getting to work and paying bills on time, leaving their children with little choice but to endure the consequences.

In these situations, children may go extended periods without clean clothes, utilities, decent food or other necessities. Over time, financial burdens can lead to homelessness, disease and other negative health effects.

How Kids Interpret Their World

Children of parents with alcohol-related disorders often consider their surroundings normal, because they don’t understand the severity of the situation. Kids in these situations aren’t likely to seek help because they simply grow accustomed to their environment.

Not only are they unlikely to seek help for their parents’ alcohol-related issues, but the abuse and neglect they endure becomes normalized. Children who grow up in these conditions are more likely to develop antisocial tendencies and engage in risky behavior.

Seek Treatment with Addiction Treatment Services’ Help

If you or someone close to you is struggling with alcohol abuse, it’s imperative to seek treatment as soon as possible. If children are involved, the need is even greater. Kids who grow up exposed to substance abuse are more likely to engage in it themselves, and this is just one possible avenue of exposure to the justice system.

At Addiction Treatment Services, we understand the dramatic effects alcohol-related issues have on families, especially children. Your children are more than statistics. Help prevent your kids from making dangerous choices by seeking professional guidance in your search for alcohol treatment now.

When Addiction Occurs in the Family, Children Face the Risk of Becoming Addicted Too

When Addiction Is Passed Down Among Generations

Protecting Endangered Children from Addicted Parents

heroin addictionMany areas throughout the country have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of children who are being raised in homes where heroin abuse is taking place. State governments are charged with investigating and ultimately finding safer places for children whose mothers and fathers are addicted to the dangerous drug.

Some infants are born opiate-dependent because of their mother’s drug use and have to go through withdrawal, while other children see their parents become addicted later in life. Either way, addiction to heroin and other drugs make people less able to care for their children properly, and often endangers them through severe neglect.

While many states are feeling the increase of heroin addiction and the children affected by the drug, Vermont recently conducted a study to see just how many children were growing up in households with heroin abuse. Researchers found that there has been a 62% increase in child abuse and neglect cases since 2010. For instance, in 2002 there were 12 reports of babies born with heroin addictions in one Vermont hospital. By 2012, that number had grown to 136. The massive increase in heroin-afflicted families there has put a strain on the government and the social services. According to the Vermont Department for Children and Families, 70% of the cases that are worked on involving a child under the age of three are due to some sort of heroin abuse.

“Opiate addiction is becoming one of the primary mechanisms through which kids are mistreated and neglected. A lot of these kids are not getting the parental care they need and deserve. Some are abused and some are exposed to situations they should not be in,” explained Dr. David Rettew, director of the Pediatric Psychiatric Clinic at UVM’s Medical Center.

These scenes are being echoed in several states across our nation, and there are tens of thousands of children who are being displaced. The best outcome for these scenarios is that the addicted parents wind up completing successful treatment programs to get control over their own lives so that they can then regain custody and properly care for their children.

FDA Approves OxyContin for Kids

OxyContinSeveral areas of the healthcare field are abuzz with the recent news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved the use of OxyContin to treat chronic pain in children as young as 11 years old. Those disturbed most by the decision are addiction treatment and prevention specialists. However, some doctors remain uncertain.

OxyContin is a powerful prescription narcotic that is in an extended release form that is often given for moderate to severe chronic pain. All oxycodone products have a very high potential for abuse, and the drug’s maker, Purdue Pharma, has settled major lawsuits claiming it withheld evidence of the additional risks that OxyContin carries. The maker eventually introduced tamper-resistant forms, but many users are still able to get around that.

A lot of people have heard of OxyContin because of the prescription painkiller epidemic that has swept across the country. Many believe that OxyContin was one of the biggest culprits of this disturbing trend, as well as a gateway drug to heroin. Patients who were prescribed the drug can easily become dependent on it and eventually addicted to. Thousands of people now die each year from overdoses on synthetic opioids like this drug.

Given all this information and the deadly history with the drug, why would the FDA approve it for use in children? Dr. Sharon Hertz with the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research claims that it is okay for certain uses and said, “new study data and resulting pediatric indication for OxyContin give doctors more specific information on how to safely manage pain in their pediatric patients following these types of surgery or traumas.”

Regardless of how safe particular studies may claim the drug is for children, the fear is that it will once again be overprescribed, leaving thousands of young people at serious risk of harm.

Substance Abuse Passed Down One Generation to Next - Addiction Treatment Services

When Substance Abuse Is Passed Down from One Generation to the Next

Substance Abuse Passed Down One Generation to Next - Addiction Treatment Services

Did you know that family history and genetics can put children of addicts at higher risk of drug use and addiction? It’s important to understand how addiction can be passed down in families, and how to break the cycle of addiction.

What Causes Addiction to Be Passed Down in Families?

Anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but those who have an addicted parent have an 8 times higher chance of becoming addicted themselves.

There is no single cause of addiction and the factors that lead to this higher vulnerability to addiction in families come from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Genetic Factors

There’s not a single gene that leads to addiction. However, there are genes that can:

  • Cause a person to experience more pleasure from certain substances
  • Make it harder for a person to quit substance use once they try stopping
  • Make the person experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, which also make it harder to quit for good

Even if you have the sort of genes that make addiction more dangerous, it’s important to understand that being more susceptible to addiction doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to happen to you.

“Just because you are prone to addiction doesn’t mean you’re going to become addicted. It just means you’ve got to be careful,” says Dr. Glen Hanson of the University of Utah. “It’s not inevitability; it’s vulnerability.”

Science is still exploring this area. Researchers believe that there may be more than 50 genes that contribute, each in their own small way, to addiction vulnerability.

Environmental Factors

Certain circumstances in a person’s life can also lead to a higher susceptibility to addiction. The types of familial situations that can contribute to addiction include:

Seeing Substance Abuse Modeled as Normal Behavior

Whatever a child sees within the family growing up is what he or she considers normal, at least for the first several years of life.

Many children of alcoholics have said something along the lines of, “I thought everyone’s dad drank after work and passed out on the couch.”

It’s not until they’re exposed to a different family environment that they learn this isn’t normal…and then, most likely, begin to have insecurities about their own familial situation.


Many adults drink and abuse drugs as a way of coping with the many forms of stress that accompany limited financial resources. Unhappiness with pay, unfulfilling jobs and working long hours to barely get by leads to high stress and short tempers. Crime and drug trafficking are also more common in low-income communities, adding to stress levels and making drugs more readily accessible, and perhaps desirable.

Physical and/or Emotional Abuse

Trauma is one of the leading causes of substance abuse, and domestic abuse and child abuse are the most common causes of traumatic experiences in America. Many people who abuse substances do so to escape from unpleasant memories, feelings of helplessness and low self-esteem.

How Children Can Break the Cycle of Addiction

Children Of Addicts Become Addicted Statistic - ATSWhile the children of alcoholics and drug addicts are more susceptible to substance use, they may also be more aware of the dangers, having witnessed the consequences of addiction firsthand. Therefore, they may actually have stronger motivation to avoid the mistakes of their parents.

In some cases, however, it’s not always clear to children which factors led their parents into addiction, which makes it harder to avoid those same pitfalls. Gaining a better understanding of the causes of addiction can be immensely helpful in this regard.

Because domestic abuse so often leads to substance abuse in the victim, seeking out professional counseling and therapy services is one of the easiest ways that people can proactively work to prevent substance abuse and addiction in their own lives.

If you have a parent in your life who has struggled with addiction, make a commitment to avoiding all potentially addictive substances, and seek out healthy, alternative ways of dealing with stress, coping with trauma and finding pleasure in life.

How Parents Can Help Break the Cycle of Addiction

Respectable addiction treatment programs will teach recovering addicts relapse-prevention strategies, including:

  • Healthy ways of dealing with stress
  • How to avoid triggers
  • How to build and maintain healthy relationships

By passing on this knowledge to their children, parents can give family members valuable skills that can prevent substance abuse and addiction from beginning in the first place.

Helping your children avoid addiction involves more than just saying, “Don’t do drugs. Drugs are bad.” Children learn more powerfully from what parents do than what they say, especially if words and actions don’t match up. If you’ve struggled with addiction, talk to your children about what led you down that path and show your commitment to recovery through your actions.

Learn How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Is My Loved One Addicted to Alcohol or Drugs?

How Parents Who Abuse Drugs Can Affect their Children

Young couple with problemsAs the drug problem in the country continues, it is clear that addiction does not discriminate. One cannot judge a person based on their position in society, education or family history. Unfortunately, many children across the United States have grown up living with an addict as a parent. The effect this can have on a child can be devastating for some.

According to recent reports, 12 percent of children in the United States are currently living with someone who is addicted to drugs. This means that there are over 8.3 million children who are surrounded with the destruction that comes along with a substance abuse problem. As if this statistic was not bad enough, the odds that a child of an addict becomes an addict themselves are greatly increased. Perhaps seeing person that they love so much succumb to an addiction makes it ok for the child to do the same, or perhaps these children have given up on living any other sort of life, or maybe they are trying to be like their parents and it is purely a learned behavior. For whatever reason, the addiction problems and related behaviors continue on through many of these children.

Several years ago a study was conducted to assess the damage created in children who have gone through traumatic or threatening life experiences. The study was called the Adverse Childhood Experiences study. The study showed that almost 27 percent of children who fell into the category of an adverse childhood had someone close to them addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. The study further concluded that these children had an increased likelihood to become addicts themselves, acquire a sexually transmitted disease, become obese and have other health problems like heart disease, liver problems, and chronic lung problems.

Addiction is a selfish behavior, and when an addict has children they often suffer tremendously for a long time to come. Many times when people are approached about going to treatment, they do agree to go in order to try and be better parents. When substance abusers fail to protect their children, then society often intervenes and removes the kids from the unhealthy environment, when the far better scenario in most cases is to ensure the parents get the treatment they desperately need.