Around 6.6 million children in the US live in a house in which one parent is an alcoholic. Excessive alcohol consumption or alcoholism is a disease or disorder in which a person consumes large doses of alcohol even after knowing its negative effects. It's not that alcoholism only effects elders, it can affect children of any age and people easily become addicted to it. However, this doesn't mean that everyone can turn into an alcoholic. Having a drink once in a while is not termed as alcoholism.
It's always observed that people who lack self motivation or can be easily influenced by others are likely to become alcoholics. Studies have also shown that alcohol abuse is a very common problem in highly educated and successful people. When a person reaches the pinnacle of success, he/she starts to feel threatened about each and everything around him/her. The person thinks that he/she can trust nobody and hence becomes a loner and finds solace in alcohol.
Alcoholism and its Effects on the Family
Alcoholism effects on family can be very disastrous and in many cases are long-lasting. Many therapists also call alcoholism a family disease. Alcoholics may have children, parents, brothers and sisters, wives or husbands. An alcoholic can totally devastate a normal family without even knowing it. Alcoholism is one of the leading causes of divorce in a marriage. Alcohol abuse can have different effects on each member of the family. If an expecting mother is drinking alcohol, it can have negative affects on the unborn fetus and on the various organs of the woman's body. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, it not only enters her blood stream but also enters the baby's blood stream. The baby may be born with FAS (Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome) which contributes to more birth defects. According to medical reports more than 5000 babies are affected by FAS each year.
Parental alcoholism also affects the mental development of a normal kid in the house. A large number of these children suffer from low self-esteem, guilt, suicidal feelings, fearlessness, fear of abandonment and depression. In many cases, the child of an alcoholic may think that he/she is the main cause of this problem and may suffer from high levels of tension and stress. Young kids may suffer from night sweats, bed wetting and they often cry alone for long hours. Older kids of alcoholic parents may become introvert and extremely self-conscious. Kids may also face problems at school as the negative environment at home might prevent them from studying and taking interest in academic activities. These children may also suffer from hypertension as they cannot share their frustration with anyone. This is very unfortunate but instances of incest and battering are very common in places were parents are alcoholics. Alcoholics tend to verbally and physically abuse their spouses and kids which leaves them scarred for life. Children blame themselves for the wrongdoing of the parents and they also turn to drinking to escape the pain, guilt and shame.
Alcoholics can also be very abusive towards their spouses and dealing with them is not everyone's cup of tea. Their spouse may suffer from feelings of hatred, frustration and mental exhaustion. The spouse may try to find peace and comfort outside which often leads to an extramarital affair. Very often the non alcoholic spouse has to do the duties of both the parents which makes the situation even worse. The household can also face a lot of financial difficulties as alcoholics tend to spend more and more money on alcoholic beverages.
No one can treat an alcoholic until and unless he/she wants to get treated. The sooner people understand this fact, the better for them. It's not easy to leave a habit that fast but it's also necessary to create some limitations. Doctors suggest rehab and therapy sessions which help a lot in motivation. As alcoholism affects the entire family, it's also necessary to come face to face with them and apologize with all the wrongs that have been committed. The sooner an individual understands the harmful effects of alcohol, the better it is for him/her and everyone around.