Caring for the Children of Addicts

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Just as no one chooses to be addicted, no child chooses to be born to an addict. However, this is a reality that more families face every day.

More Babies are Born Addicted

A study from The University of Michigan estimates that one baby is born addicted to some type of opiate every hour in the United States. More than 28 million Americans are children of alcoholics.

Who are these children? Where are these children? What can we do to support these children?

The reality is that these kids are everywhere. They are our neighbors, our children’s friends and our own family.

Effects on the Children of Addicts

The effects that substance abuse has on young children is well documented. Children that are exposed to illicit drugs before they are born are two to three times more likely to be abused and neglected by their parents.

They are also more likely to experience regular family conflict such as emotional or physical violence, increased stress, instability and a lack of family togetherness. Additionally, the children of addicts are three to four times more likely than their peers to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Judging by the statistics, these children are far more at risk than their peers. It’s in their genetics, and they’ve grown up with it in their environment. How can they learn differently?

Helping the Children of Addicts

The good news is that YOU can make a difference. Research shows that when children of addicts receive support and care from another adult, they can benefit tremendously. Here are a few of the ways you can help.

Assume Responsibility

If it’s a close family member abusing drugs or alcohol, you might be in a position to help care for the child until they get help. Only take on this responsibility if you are financially, emotionally and physically able to do so.

Attend Therapy

Even if a child is removed from a neglectful or abusive home, the problems don’t just go away. Counseling is constructive and can help children learn social skills and coping mechanisms.

Get Educated

Get familiar with the common struggles that children have when living in addictive homes so that you can better understand their struggles and thought process.

Become a Volunteer

There are all types of organizations that work with children of addicts. Get involved! Remember, it only takes one person to make a difference in a child’s life. Could that person be you?

The River Source is a holistic treatment center that works with individuals and their families dealing with substance abuse. We believe that anything is possible when a person has the right support network and positive influences around them! Call us today to learn more about our programs.