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How Does a Parent's Addiction Affect Children?Before a child is even born, the effects of an addicted parent can take hold. Anchorage women who are addicted to alcohol and drink during pregnancy can cause their baby to have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), which can include any of the following characteristics:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
  • Small head size
  • Shorter than average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidney or bones

How Many Children Are Affected by Addiction in Anchorage?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), children living with an addicted parent in Anchorage or beyond are quite prevalent, with statistics including the following:

  • Combined data from 2002 to 2007 indicate that over 8.3 million children under 18 years of age (11.9 percent) lived with at least one parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol or an illicit drug during the past year
  • Of these, almost 7.3 million (10.3 percent) lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol, and about 2.1 million (3.0 percent) lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs
  • About 5.4 million children under 18 years of age lived with a father who met the criteria for past year substance dependence or abuse, and 3.4 million lived with a mother who met the criteria

Effects of Parental Addiction on Children in Anchorage

There is an extremely broad range of children’s reactions to living with an addicted parent in Anchorage. In response to the environment in which they live, the child can react in a variety of ways. If the environment is unpredictable and chaotic, a child may often feel confused and insecure. If the environment is physically or verbally abusive, the child may have conflicting emotions, ranging from anger with the parent, hate toward the parent and worrisome about the parent.

Some children seem to take responsibility for their parent’s addiction and believe that if they change their behavior, the parent will stop being an addict. They may attempt to overachieve by getting great grades, keeping their rooms clean and caring for their younger siblings. These children do not understand that their behavior is not tied to their parent’s addiction, and when these attempts fail, their self-esteem is impacted.
Other children may withdraw and isolate in order to protect themselves.

One constant for all children who live with an addicted parent is fear. Unfortunately, there is a correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence. If a child experiences this behavior for an extended period of time, they may demonstrate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Another fear that these children live with is the fear that their parent does not love them – they may begin to feel that they are not worthy to be loved. Many children also experience a fear of helplessness in the event that the addicted parent gets sick or dies.

Get Help for Substance Abuse and Addiction in Anchorage

Do not continue to put your child at risk for the consequences of living with an addicted parent in Anchorage. You need to get help and recover from your addiction. Be a model for your children to emulate – not someone they do not understand and fear. Call our toll-free number any time of the day to discuss treatment options. We want to help.