Adult Children of Parents Who Abuse Alcohol

What problems do children of alcoholics face in adulthood?

Alcoholism is a disease that often tears families apart. Often, parents who abuse alcohol are emotionally or physically abusive to others in the family. Sometimes drunken parents get violent or they do embarrassing things in public.

Adult children of parents who abuse alcohol may:

  • Abuse drugs or alcohol themselves, or engage in other risky behavior
  • Not plan or finish things
  • Become super-responsible and unable to relax or have fun
  • Feel unloved and unlovable and be unable to form healthy relationships
  • Feel angry and disappointed by parents and be unable to trust
  • Feel depressed or suicidal
  • Seek approval and always give in to others
  • Lack self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Have unexplained physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches
  • Lie, steal, or become violent

What can I do to overcome the effects of a parent who abused alcohol?

Consider therapy. The goals in individual or group therapy involve:

  • Understanding any anger you may have because your parents were not who you wanted them to be
  • Learning how to manage your anger in healthy ways
  • Learning how to take better care of yourself
  • Becoming aware of your own power as an adult and your ability to change
  • Giving up destructive ways of coping, and developing healthier ways to deal with things

Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics are worldwide organizations that provide non-professional support to families and friends of alcoholics. For more information contact:

Get emergency care if you or a loved one has serious thoughts of suicide or self-harm, violence, or harming others.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-04-29
Last reviewed: 2013-04-26
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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