The Children of Alcoholics
Children of alcoholics are at risk from two different fronts.
The first results from being raised around alcohol and by an alcoholic while the second risk comes from the
genetic aspects of what causes someone to become an alcoholic.
Regardless of whether children of alcoholics are raised by alcoholics, they are at risk for alcoholism or
Children of alcoholics may exhibit some of the following characteristics:
Higher risk for
alcohol and other drug problems
Pervasive tension and stress
Higher levels of anxiety and depression
Poor performance in school
Problems with coping
The problems that come from being raised by an alcoholic are generally environmental and with a lot of hard work
can be overcome. Generally, when a child is raised around alcohol and excessive drinking there is a tendency for
that child to use alcohol as adults.
Many times children grow up and conduct themselves and their families in a way that is very similar to the way
they were raised.
It takes a conscious effort to break the cycle of addiction that they have witnessed and not carry on that same
lifestyle to their children.
The problems that are genetic are more difficult to overcome but once the child is aware that her or she will
have a tendency toward addiction they can change the way they deal with stress and other risk factors to help avoid
A gene can determine whether a person will have a tendency toward an addiction toward alcohol. In addition,
there are personality and mental health examinations that can be done that can let a person know if they are at
risk of being an addict.
Professional addiction counselors recommend that if a person has the gene or tests positive on the examinations
they should abstain from the use of alcohol.
The genetic push toward addiction is so strong that to tempt the body by using addictive substances is
considered risky behavior and should not be attempted. As adults, children of alcoholics tend to have similar
Did You Know
For the alcoholic, quitting drinking is extremely difficult and something that
takes time, patience, and dedication. Recovery is not a task that can be entered into lightly or
without reservation. If you don't have access to an AA support group then you have 3 other
You can use self-help books where the alcoholic is taking responsibility for his
own health. This can work well because once the person knows of the problem it becomes easier to
By putting together
their own plan of action and choosing his own techniques, the alcoholic takes an active role
in the recovery process.
The more common techniques include examining the individual’s need for alcohol,
decide whether to quit drinking altogether, or just to cut back, identify the reasons for quitting
drinking and sharing the recovery plan with others. These are just a few steps that can be involved
Another thing that someone with alcoholism can do to recover from it is to use a combination of
approaches. This could involve working on self-help issues, going to AA meetings and involving
other people in the process for support.
The benefit of this approach is that you can work on the issues behind the drinking
while at the same time developing some kind of accountability to others. Plus you would be able to
rely on support from people around you when you go through the tough times.
Adult children typically have to guess what normal behavior is because it was not modeled for them as children.
Adult children also have a tendency to lie in situations when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
No one knows why this happens exactly but it is a common characteristic of this people group. Because of lack
of trust of others, they often have problems forming intimate relationships and if developed, they have trouble
nurturing the relationships.
Adult children of alcoholics also tend to constantly seek approval from others and feel like they have to be
It is completely appropriate for the employer to hold an intervention in the case of an
employee, who will not admit to a problem with alcohol, has no family who will or can step in
to help, and is clearly suffering in the workplace because of the alcohol drinking.
Adult children of alcoholics are often accused of acting like children. This is most commonly because people
who never really grew up themselves raised them.
It is suggested for anyone who grew up with alcoholic parents to seek professional counseling. There are many
ways that people can be taught to break the cycle of dysfunction that is caused by alcoholism.