The Effects Of Substance Abuse On Children And Families

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The damage radius of addiction far exceeds what we might expect it to. The ones that are addicted can have people that they are responsible for.

They have people who they love and love them.

Addiction affects everyone around you, and most of all your children.

There is a special type of hell that kids and families go through where addiction has taken hold.

Here is the shocking reality of what substance abuse does to your children:

Effects of Substance Abuse during Pregnancy

The first of a series of serious implications any type of substance abuse can have on your children is the horrific side effects that they suffer due to their mother abusing drugs or alcohol while pregnant.

These side effects, if they survive the pregnancy at all can be permanent, life-altering and grueling.


If you’re thinking that occasional substance abuse/use or certain types of substances aren’t that bad, think again.

Even a single glass of wine can affect an unborn baby.

In fact, alcohol can affect a baby from the point where the egg has just been fertilized. If a man drinks heavily or regularly his sperm can carry the effects of alcohol to the newly fertilized egg, which is the very last thing you want.

No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy and after the 12th week, alcohol use can severely affect the child’s brain causing cognitive and behavioral difficulties, mental illness and other gnarly health conditions.

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Illegal Drugs

The most common risks of illegal drugs such as Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, PCP, LSD, and Methamphetamine are nothing short of horrifying; oxygen deprivation, low birth weight, brain damage, intracranial bleeding, cardiac issues, premature birth, the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth and(unfortunately) much more.

That does not include the risk to the mother (and consequently the baby)

There’s no shortage of negative side effects of illegal drugs, we’ll discuss those later on, but the chance of overdose is a very real and serious risk to both mother and child.

Post Birth Effects

Babies born to addicts that actually receive proper health care, as in they are born in a hospital or under medical supervision, are, believe it or not, the luckier ones.

Many babies in this situation cannot actually survive the stress of birth and being born.

But a baby that has survived the toxicity of a pregnancy of an addict, and the trauma of birth are born addicted themselves.

Soon after the baby is born they will experience tremors, muscle tightening (like angst), excessive crying, vomiting and/or diarrhea, these are all signs of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – essentially withdrawal.

Other probable health issues could be cardiac problems, underdeveloped brain, and lungs.

Often medical intervention is necessary to help babies to survive withdrawal and to help counteract the damage of the pregnancy, although sadly, that isn’t always possible.

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Childhood & Family Life

If left untreated, addiction can and will destroy your family.

If only the physical risk to children and mother were the only problem.

Here are some more ways addiction can affect your kids and family:

Toxic Home Life

The homes of addicts don’t always look like some natural disaster swept through there, it can, but that’s not always the case.

It can be a regular home, in a normal neighborhood but that doesn’t make the effects of addiction any less devastating.

Abuse and neglect are a reality for many families that have been taken over by addiction.

Apart from the trauma and horror such circumstances bring there are lasting mental effects like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a series of mental and emotional issues that will forever shape your child’s being.

This could become a generational curse, and who knows where that will end.

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Developmental gaps and Learning difficulties

Let’s for just a second, set aside the fact that drug use can literally shrink your child’s brain in the womb, think about this – for the first 6 years your child’s mind is like a sponge, that means everything that is going on around him will be imprinted in their psyche, for the rest of his/ her life.

That means that every single emotion he/she experiences due to your actions will become a part of who he is.

The next serious issue with a child’s development is with them not receiving the proper care, attention, and stimulation to actually facilitate that development.

Furthermore, the emotional and mental stress that addiction brings into little ones lives also play a massive role in how your child responds to learning later in life.


The vicious cycle

The mental, emotional and physical trauma that a life of addiction imprints on a child makes them so much more susceptible to drug and alcohol use and abuse as a coping mechanism.

The children of addicts, who do not receive treatment and therapy, will likely be unable to cope with the demands of a normal life.

When the children of addicts become addicts, we enter a cycle that is as catastrophic as an EP5 tornado, it wipes out everything it comes in contact with.

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Is There Hope?

Yes. There is hope.

If you are willing to make the most difficult change in your life for your kids and the people you love, there is definitely hope.

No matter how bleak your situation may seem, the time to start towards a positive change is now. Right now.

There are dedicated centers that specialize in helping people overcome addiction and staying clean for life.

Recovery Centers of America, for example, have 24-hour support and they are just a phone call away.

How to Talk to a Loved One about their Alcohol Addiction

This is a challenging issue to tackle. No one wants to hear that they have a problem. This is why we all have the natural reaction to resort to denial. Before you can discuss the problem with your loved one you need to assess the situation. The following article discusses not only how to discuss this issue with your loved one but how to prepare yourself. Remember that you want to get your loved one back, not alienate them.

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All you can do is let them know you will
support them. When they do decide to
get help just be there for them.


You need to be realistic. You can’t stop someone else’s behaviour. It is ultimately up to them. The drinker has to help themselves and more importantly want to help themselves. This is not to say you have no power. You can influence them to come out of denial. They’ll never admit it to themselves. You do need to watch the way you talk and behave around them. This is a delicate issue.


You need to be honest with yourself. Do you enable their alcoholism? The alcoholic appreciate the negative attention they receive from you. They confuse your fussing over them as caring. Your putting them to bed, caring for them when they are intoxicated, cleaning up messes and paying their fines is not helping them. You love them but their constant mistakes are not your responsibility. We all have to be independent.

What to say

Firstly, you need to be prepared. Start by telling them that you love them but you hate the addiction. Then you need to explain to them that you can’t stand by whilst they drink but will stand by them when they decide to quit. You will need to explain how much more you appreciate their company when they are sober. Finally, explain how they are not the same person you met and loved. You want your loved one to associate being sober and positive things like your attention. They need to know that they will have your support when they are ready to work towards sobriety.

These situations can be challenging so don’t afraid to reach out for help. Places like Malibu Horizon can provide you with a lot of information. It can also help you when it comes to talking to your loved one. You want to have information ready for them. It will show that you have prepared yourself for the discussion. You can’t force them to get help though. It has to be their choice. All you can do is let them know you will support them. When they do decide to get help just be there for them. This ultimately is their journey to take.

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Naypong – FreeDigitalPhotos.Net