How Substance Abuse and Addiction Can Affect Children

Can you believe that almost 37.5 million Americans are current users of at least one type of illicit drug?

Addiction is still a huge issue in the United States and it’s time to start doing something about it. While drugs can negatively affect the users, it’s also important to keep in mind how it affects their loved ones, especially when children are involved.

Are you wondering what the extent of the damage can end up being? Keep reading to learn all about how substance abuse and addiction can affect children and what can be done to help.

How Does Substance Abuse Affect Children?

When one or more children are under the same roof as someone who is suffering from addiction, it can end up hindering their development in a variety of ways. This includes emotional, cognitive, and even physical aspects of their development.

For instance, they may not know how to deal with their emotions and this can manifest in a number of unhealthy ways, such as projection or displacement. They may also have difficulty adapting to a normal life routine. From waking up for school to doing homework and going to bed at night, these seemingly normal activities could prove to be insurmountable hurdles for a child.

It’s an unfortunate fact that addiction has a genetic component. This alone makes it more likely for the child of someone suffering from addiction to develop those habits sooner or later. Living in a household where addiction is in the air, as it were, can catalyze that genetic predisposition.

It’s worth emphasizing that the almost 37.5 million Americans cited above who engage in illicit drug use include kids as young as 12 years old.

What Signs Should I Look For?

Since a household with addiction can affect a child’s emotional development, it’s possible for them to lash out with anger at the drop of a hat. They may go the opposite route and internalize their emotions to the point of depression or being detached from life events. It’s also possible for them to swing from one of these poles to the other and back again.

Aside from the emotional aspect, there’s also the cognitive side of things. Another sign you should look out for is difficulty in school. If they keep getting low grades, then this could mean they aren’t developing as they should.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can overlap. For instance, their low grades could stem from emotional distance and uninterest which can also sabotage their cognitive development. Be sure to check in with their teachers as often as possible.

Since the stress and negativity of substance abuse can affect their physical development, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of this, too. They may not eat enough because of depression or similar reasons, which would result in an emaciated appearance.

lack of sleep is also a detriment to the body and can stunt growth. There’s a possibility that the other children in their class are bigger and taller by a significant amount.

What Can Be Done About Substance Abuse in a Family?

One of the best ways to save the children and everyone else in a family is by taking steps toward an intervention. Without professional help, it’s extremely difficult to get over addiction if not outright impossible. The good news is that there are plenty of places that have qualified professionals.

It’s worth looking into a rehab center near you and seeing what kind of services they offer. Since interventions are a surprise for the addicted person, they can have an effect that’s similar to a wake-up call. This is especially true when key family members are involved.

Sometimes people assume an intervention is not a good route until the addicted individual has hit rock bottom, but this is something that only happens in Hollywood movies. In reality, most people who don’t seek out help on their own almost never do it down the line. This is why interventions are so essential.

How Does an Intervention Work?

Don’t worry about going from zero to 60. Instead, a qualified rehab center will start things with a simple phone call. This can establish the reasons why you or an addicted loved one can’t get the help they need.

It’s also crucial to educate all relevant family members on the nature of addiction. This is something rehab professionals can also do. After all, it’s too easy for people to misunderstand illnesses that are not as obvious as, say, a broken leg.

Putting effort into recognizing addiction as a mental illness or disease that requires treatment can go a long way toward your loved one’s recovery. Someone who demonizes addiction and mental illness should appear at the intervention.

Depending on the age of the children involved, it’s not advisable that they participate in the intervention, either. This is something that’s better for adult children to participate in because they are much more likely to have the emotional fortitude and development to handle the situation whereas younger children don’t.

Are You Ready to Solve the Issue of Substance Abuse?

Now that you’ve learned all about how substance abuse and addiction can affect children, you can either turn your life around or the life of someone dear to you. The sooner you do something about the issue, the less damage a child will sustain.

Addiction Intervention has specialists at the ready. We can offer our knowledge and assistance with interventions for a wide array of addictions, including alcohol, heroin, meth, and marijuana. From the initial consultation to recovery, we can walk you and your life ones through each step.

Contact us now to schedule your first meeting.