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Learn About the Impact of Addiction on Children

Addiction is hard on everyone in the family. Sometimes the children are not considered at first when a loved one needs help for addiction. They are impacted the most by instability and volatility that comes with addictive behavior. Children of parents with substance use disorder are not able to live a childhood where they can be normal children. As far as behavior goes, they learn early on to take care of the adults that need help, suffer trust issues and may develop their own challenging social-emotional behavioral patterns and low self-esteem. Find out more about how children respond to addiction at home and how to help them find healing.

Impact of Addiction

Children of addicted parents or caregivers can experience both outward and inward behavioral traits. This might include impulsive behavior, defiance, impulsivity, aggression, depression, anxiety, and various mental health issues. With chaos and inconsistency so much a part of their lives, they are not able to cope with the challenges of addiction in the family and end up suffering from trauma they carry with them into adulthood. There are some other ways addiction can impact children at home.


The brain and body crave balance. What ends up happening with children of addicted parents is one, or even both, parents struggle with addictive behavior. Usually, one parent struggles with it while the other enables or does other things that are a negative behavioral coping mechanism. A child will respond by feeling isolated, different from others, and develop dysfunctional behaviors. It is hard to maintain positive relationships and they often become isolated as a result.


A person may act without thinking through the situation or make choices without knowing all options on the table. When a child spends too much energy fixing their parents’ behavior and consequences, they can become confused and feel they’ve lost control of their home life. This can lead to impulsive behaviors as a child and an adult they have a hard time dealing with. It may also lead them into risky situations or put them at a higher risk of addiction.

Seeking Approval

Children of addicted parents want the approval of their caregivers and have difficulty taking criticism. When they experience it, they often respond with anger or manipulation to get heir way. They may give the silent treatment, blame others, or cry to get what they want. The child learns how to get their needs met, but not in a healthy way because the adult or adults around them are not healthy.

Seeking Help

For children of addiction, help is available. They may not get help as children but as adults they can realize the consequences of other people’s choices, actions, and their own behaviors have on their lives. If they struggle with addiction and mental health issues, they can seek treatment so they can live a happier, more fulfilling life. Treatment can be a place of healing for those who struggle and need support from those who understand the challenges. With the support of loved ones who want to see them get better, they can often embrace the opportunity to heal and learn to navigate life differently in recovery.

The Guest House Ocala helps adult children of addicted family members seek help. Whether it is behavioral or psychological, we step in the gap to help you get treatment for mental health, addiction, and other issues that keep you from feeling healthy. Treatment professionals draft a plan that is individualized for your specific needs. Call us to find out how to get started: 1-855-483-7800