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Family Alcoholism and Adolescents

by James Heller 17. April 2009 09:24
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

When children grow up in a household with alcoholism or addiction, they are at higher risk of abusing alcohol or drugs in adolescence.  This can be due to genetic or environmental factors.

The abuse suffered by children of alcoholics is at least emotional, and at worst can include physical or sexual abuse.  Growing up in this environment, by the time the child reaches adolescence alcohol or drugs can be seen as a “normal” escape from reality.  Alcohol or drug abuse may become a habit used to temporarily forget the pain of child abuse, or even as a tool of revenge.

A family history of alcoholism or addiction may be passed on to a child through genes.  If that child drinks or uses drugs, just one experience could trigger the disease.  Any parent that engages in heavy drinking or drug use, or is aware of a family history, needs to seriously consider this fact.  These parents should attend alcohol and drug education for the family to prevent teen alcohol and drug abuse.

The following is from a brochure by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  It offers important information for families with alcoholism or drug addiction.

-- Begin external content --

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Hurts Everyone in the Family

Dependence on alcohol and drugs is our most serious national public health problem. It is prevalent among rich and poor, in all regions of the country, and all ethnic and social groups.

Millions of Americans misuse or are dependent on alcohol or drugs.  Most of them have families who suffer the consequences, often serious, of living with this illness. If there is alcohol or drug dependence in your family, remember you are not alone.

Most individuals who abuse alcohol or drugs have jobs and are productive members of society creating a false hope in the family that “it’s not that bad.”

The problem is that addiction tends to worsen over time, hurting both the addicted person and all the family members. It is especially damaging to young children and adolescents.

People with this illness really may believe that they drink normally or that “everyone” takes drugs. These false beliefs are called denial; this denial is a part of the illness.

It Doesn’t Have to be That Way

Drug or alcohol dependence disorders are medical conditions that can be effectively treated. Millions of Americans and their families are in healthy recovery from this disease.

If someone close to you misuses alcohol or drugs, the first step is to be honest about the problem and to seek help for yourself, your family, and your loved one.

Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, in many different forms, and for different lengths of time. Stopping the alcohol or drug use is the first step to recovery, and most people need help to stop. Often a person with alcohol or drug dependence will need treatment provided by professionals just as with other diseases. Your doctor may be able to guide you.

-- Source: http://www.csat.samhsa.gov/NACOA/families.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.