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Substance Abuse and Its Effect on Children

Substance abuse is an epidemic in our society. Whether the substance of choice is alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, or a variety of all three, the total number of lives they take is constantly on the rise. Perhaps one of the most devious aspects of substance abuse is its ability to take over its victim’s thoughts entirely.

As a result of substance abuse, job performance, personal relationships, and personal development fall by the wayside. However, in addition to how substance abuse can affect individuals directly, its side effects extend far beyond just one person. Drug and alcohol abuse can devastate the entire family.

The Effects of Substance Abuse On Children

Children are much more than innocent bystanders in the world of substance abuse. The effects of alcohol or drug abuse on the family as a whole are widely studied. It is proven that the welfare of children in an environment where substance use disorder (SUD) exists is severely compromised. Below are a few examples.

Physical Side-Effects

Prenatal substance abuse is a continuing problem in the world today. Despite numerous warnings and studies proving the danger of exposing a fetus to drugs or alcohol, mothers still risk the development of their children even before they enter the world. Common side effects of drug or alcohol intake while a child is in utero include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Smaller head circumference
  • Behavioral issues
  • Cognitive delays
  • Increased anxiety

Impact of Substance Abuse on the Family Dynamic

Beyond the physical effects of drugs and alcohol on a child before being born, there are additional repercussions once the child has entered the world. Growing up in a household where substance abuse is present can cause serious anxiety and uncertainty in the life of a child.

Parents who abuse drugs or alcohol tend to be focused on maintaining their addiction. As a result, their child always takes second place. Children often miss school days. They develop anxiety from emotional abuse at the hands of a parent whose moods are highly unpredictable. Proper hygiene can be unobserved, which can lead to a child suffering socially. A child can even be malnourished from a lack of proper eating habits maintained in the household.

Learning the Habit

There is an old anti-drug commercial that ended with the line, “Parents who use drugs have kids who use drugs.” While that statement may seem a little too generalized, studies have shown this to be true.

Children who are forced to grow up in an atmosphere of substance abuse typically learn to use the substances. They may use substances to cope with the difficulty of living with a parent or parents who are not able to provide them with the emotional support they need while growing up.

Those who struggle with addiction often console themselves with the argument that they are only hurting themselves. However, their children are affected too. Substance abuse doesn’t stop with those who engage in it. It is an endless cycle that only stops when someone finally asks for help.

A life living with the burden of substance abuse is painful and can eventually feel unbearable. Not only can it cost you your job, friends, and livelihood, but it can also cost you the future of your children. When substance abuse is present, no one is safe. The neverending cycle has to stop for everyone. The Guest House offers treatment that can stop the cycle of addiction in its tracks and prevent it from harming others. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 for more information on our program.