Alcoholism Families

Alcoholic families are families that have one or more alcoholics. Genetics, learned behavior, trauma and stress all do their part to perpetuate the cycle of alcoholism from generation to generation. Children of alcoholics have a significantly higher risk of lasting psychological issues, including becoming alcoholics themselves. In fact studies show that they're four times more likely to develop at least an alcohol abuse problem. Alcoholism affects families in so many different ways; it can lead to financial turmoil, domestic violence, child abuse, abandonment and even the development of other substance abuse issues.

The Multi-Generational Tragedy of Alcoholic Families

In addition to possibly inheriting a genetic predilection toward alcohol, children of alcoholics also take cues from their addicted parents or guardians regarding how to interact with people, cope with adversity, manage stress, and adhere to responsibilities. Although the odds are certainly stacked against them, children who grow up with alcoholic parents aren't necessarily going to develop a drinking problem themselves. Many actually use their upbringing and their parents' alcoholism as a barometer of how not to act. Alcoholic families can be just as powerful of a deterrent as they can be a cause.

How to Break the Cycle

Children who grow up in alcoholic families statistically are at a heightened risk to develop similar problems; however they can use their experiences to educate themselves and stay within their limits as adults. This is good advice, even for someone who doesn't have a suspected family history. One should abstain from underage drinking which apart from being against the law and incredibly dangerous, can create an early tolerance for alcohol and may facilitate abuse and dependency.

Seek Professional Advice

If you're concerned that you're at a heightened risk for alcoholism, talk to your doctor and determine what, if any steps can be taken. If you've already started drinking, a doctor, or even a mental health professional, can assess your drinking routine and determine the level of risk. They can also provide further education regarding the consequences of alcoholism on the brain, liver and other major organs. If it's determined that you're at risk for developing an alcohol addiction, your doctor will also be able to connect you with groups and organizations that can help you steer clear of alcohol problems. There are plenty of quality support groups for people who grew up in alcoholic families.

Rising Above your Past

Members of alcoholic families don't have to, and shouldn't, let their upbringing define them. By exercising awareness, moderation and basic common sense, we all have the power to avoid alcohol abuse no matter what our genetics or family history may say. Thanks to everything we have learned about alcohol and behavioral health in the past three decades, alcoholism – whether it’s yours or someone else's – doesn't have to ruin your life.

Contact the National Alcoholism Center anytime toll-free at (888) 515-7704 or through our online form for our recommendations of the best alcohol treatment centers for you or your loved one!

Alcoholism treatment should never be attempted in your home or without medical supervision at a professional licensed treatment facility.