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Addiction & Children, Alcohol Addiction, Drug Addiction, Facts About Addiction, Families & Addiction, Substance Abuse  |  March 16, 2016

Helen grew up in rural Connecticut with parents who were addicted to drugs and alcohol.  While from the outside, her childhood looked like many others, truth is – Helen lived a life filled with sadness, shame – and fear.   A nurturing, safe and love filled world was denied her from birth.

Now grown – Helen realizes that society’s “conspiracy of silence” shielded her parents from their responsibilities and left her to endure almost unimaginable pain and emotional damage.

Helen is not alone.  Thirty million adults in America struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Many of them are parents… in fact 8.3 million children in America live with an addict.  That’s million with an

M

.

And while the negative economic impacts of drug and alcohol are well documented – the collateral damage to children is the most tragic consequence.

For most children, living with addicted parents means a life of uncertainty and abuse.

What kinds of abuse you ask?

And the impact of this abuse?

In the 1990’s, the Centers for Disease Control conducted a study to better understand the social factors that lead to the development of chronic disease and disability.  Twenty seven percent (27%) of the patients they interviewed revealed a history of household drug or alcohol abuse.  And those having lived with addiction had an increased risk of STDs, obesity, heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, and liver disease later in life.

Given all of these facts, why don’t more children receive help and support?

That brings us back to the “conspiracy of silence”.  Children of addicts are often shamed into silence about addiction in the home.  Dysfunction is everywhere – and yet no one talks about it.  And what happens when something so painful goes unacknowledged?  Study after study shows children of addicts frequently develop anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic illnesses at a far higher rate than other children.  Some even develop the ability to feel no emotion – with painful psychological and later physical consequences.

There is hope.  New drug and alcohol addiction rehab treatment programs like Aware Recovery Care in Connecticut are producing extraordinary results in the form of long term abstinence coupled with family therapy that dramatically improves the lives of addicts and their children.

If you’d like to learn more about programs like Aware Recovery Care and how they can help your family, visit www.awarerecoverycare.com for more information.

Photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren via Foter.com / CC BY-NC