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How Does Parental Drug Abuse Affect Children?

Drug abuse can tear apart or otherwise negatively affect the family dynamic in many ways. Children in particular have a difficult time when it comes to the unpredictability and mood swings of a parent who is a drug addict. Though the situation varies from household to household, it is often disruptive for a long period of time before things change.

The following are factors that are involved in these situations.

Parental Drug Abuse Causes Fear in Children

In many cases, a child who is in the custody of his or her parent at the time of active substance abuse will experience a great deal of fear. The fact of the matter is that many of these children see violence regularly, or experience violence themselves.

As a result, they may have difficulties with sleeping, eating, and in school. They may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and/or other mental health issues. A child may worry for their own well-being, and that of their parent who they have seen becoming sick, intoxicated, high, and also exhibiting dangerous and unruly behaviors.

Social Avoidance in Children of Drug Abusers

Kids in such circumstances tend to avoid having much of a social life. They do not invite friends over to their houses, and may have stunted relationships at school in general. This is because they want to keep others from finding out the truth about how things are in their homes.

Some children may go to the opposite extreme and throw themselves into their schoolwork and extracurricular activities, becoming high-achievers and leaders. This can make it hard to determine that there are problems in the child's life, because they seem to be incredibly well-adjusted.

Self-Blame Issues

A child of a drug abuser may blame himself or herself for the fact that the parent has such deep issues. Taking on such guilt for the behavioral and physical affects can make life challenging for any child. They may develop mental and physical health problems themselves, which can even cause them to miss many days of school.

Neglect Issues with Parent Drug Abuse

Someone who is addicted to alcohol or other types of drugs can be quite mentally unstable. He or she may be worried mainly about the next fix, and not about basic necessities of the family. It is possible that neglect will occur as a result, such as inadequate food, as well as lack of medical care and supervision.

Another problem that can occur later in life is that the child may become addicted to drugs, as well. This is why it is necessary for parents to receive treatment for their substance abuse, and that children also are given an evaluation and an opportunity to speak to professionals about what they have experienced. The parent would benefit greatly from entering into a rehab facility for a comprehensive treatment program.

Authors Bio


Kitt Wakeley is a partner at Vizown, a treatment center in Oklahoma.

He is extremely passionate and determined to help women overcome their addictions and live a clean, wholesome, happy life. And in his own words "I love spending time outdoors, learning, being with my family, and growing my business. I love making a difference in somebody's life. My family was personally impacted by addiction, and I committed long ago that I will do whatever I can to help other's so that they don't go through what my family went through. I currently live in Oklahoma, and firmly believe it is the best place anybody could ever live. We love Oklahoma!"

You can get in touch with Kitt or Vizown via their website, Twitter or Facebook

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