The Role of Family In Preventing Substance Abuse

Family Addition Prevention - Freedom From Addiction

The role of family influence upon the development of individual substance abuse and addiction is one that cannot be underestimated. Parents, siblings and extended family all hold a great amount of influence upon a developing child's behavior and worldview, including opinions about drinking, smoking and recreational drug use. Additionally, family substance abuse impacts divorce rates, occurrences of domestic violence and juvenile delinquency.

Child Abuse and Family Substance Abuse

Sadly, parents who abuse drugs or alcohol place their children at a disproportionately higher risk for experiencing:

  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Accidental injuries
  • Problems at school
  • Depression and anxiety

Parents who struggle with addiction issues have been found to be three times more likely to actively abuse their children and four times more likely to neglect their child's needs, health and emotional well-being.

How Many Children are at Risk?

Parental substance abuse is not an uncommon problem. It's estimated that:

  • Half of all children under the age of 18 live with an adult who drinks or abuses drugs
  • Nearly 24% of children live with a heavy or binge drinker
  • Almost 13% of children live with an adult who uses illegal drugs

Children of parents who discourage substance abuse have a quarter of the risk of developing such issues when compared to their peers who are exposed to bad behavior in the home.

How to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Home

Even if an adult in the home abuses drugs or alcohol, other family members can help to mitigate the damage of exposure to this behavior by:

  • Modeling responsible behavior that scorns drug and alcohol use
  • Being aware of a child's friends, activities and whereabouts
  • Being knowledgeable about a child's potential risk factors of engaging in drug or alcohol use
  • Creating a focus upon academic excellence
  • Setting and maintaining rules
  • Maintaining supportive and open communication

There are no easy answers to addiction and chemical dependency, but familial background can be a good indicator of a person's risk for experiencing these issues. Asking for help, finding support services and utilizing educational resources can help families to overcome the generational scars that drug and alcohol abuse can inflict. For more information about how families can prevent substance abuse through addiction treatment, contact Freedom From Addiction. We can help.

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