More than 28 million Americans have seen at least one parent suffer alcohol's serious adverse effects, leading to serious family problems. More than 78 million Americans, or 43 percent of the adult population, has been exposed to alcoholism in the family, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.
There are many concerns about children of alcoholics. Alcoholism tends to run in families. COAs are four times more likely than non-COAs to develop alcohol or drug problems. These children also are at a higher risk than others for depression, anxiety disorders, problems with cognitive and verbal skills and parental abuse or neglect. The families with alcoholism have higher levels of conflict than other families. Lack of adequate parenting and poor home management and family communications skills often leave children without effective training and role modeling.
Although COAs are at an increased risk, they can build up their resilience skills by developing positive bonds with a non-alcoholic parent, grandparent, teacher or other caring adult. Prevention programs often help COAs reduce stress, deal with emotional issues; and develop self-esteem, coping skills and social support.
The most important message for COAs to remember are The Seven C's:
I didn't cause it
I can't cure it
I can't control it
I can take better care of myself by communicating my feelings, making healthy choices and celebrating myself.
Another important message to remember is that people recover from alcohol addiction every day. There is always help and there is always hope.
For more information, please call HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188.