Alcoholism or drug addiction in parents affects all children in the family -- from the unborn baby to the adult child. Research shows that children of alcoholics and addicts suffer from psychological, physiological and behavioral problems throughout their lives.
Babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome often have physical deformities and mental disorders. Fetal alcohol syndrome also affects central nervous system. As a result, children often have learning difficulties, memory, judgment and behavior problems and short attention spans. Children of alcoholics and addicts are often unable to form close relationships and have few friends. As they get older, they are unable to deal with conflicts and are more likely to exhibit violent behavior or aggression. They are often depressed and have suicidal thoughts.
Children of alcoholics and addicts often rely on support from non-addict adults in their lives, such as stepparents, grandparents and teachers. Group support also helps children to become independent, feel less guilt and develop close relationships.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Alateen are two successful organizations that help families of alcoholics. Alateen focuses on helping children of alcoholics.