The Disastrous Effects Of Parental Drug Addiction On Children

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The Disastrous Impact of Parental Drug Addiction on Children

Drug addiction is a serious issue in not only America today, but globally. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance addiction is a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite the harmful consequences” (“What is drug addiction?”). Drug abuse affects not only the user, but those around the user as well. The actions of a drug user place a significant amount of worry on the people that are closest to them such as friends and family. Children with parents who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can be severely affected by the actions of their parents which can cause them much harm in terms of biological and
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A study by Wolin and associates determined that children who originated from alcoholic families were not able to function in terms of behavior and emotion as successfully as those who originated from non alcoholic families. In the study, children of alcoholics scored notably lower when researchers looked at their behavioral and emotional

functioning in comparison to children that came from a non alcoholic background (Johnson and Leff, “Affect and Behavior” section, par. 3).

When looking at parental addiction to alcohol, Sharon Wegcheider-Cruse developed a concept of certain behavioral roles that children of alcoholics take on in order to cope with the addiction issues of the parent which can often lead to emotional harm. Wegcheider-Cruse separates the behavioral roles into four distinct categories each with a different name comprising a hero, a scapegoat, a lost child, and a mascot. When a child takes on a “hero” behavioral role, they are often referred to as the “model child” and are known to take over the family responsibilities which the parents are not addressing. Although there are many positives to a young child taking on this role in the family, including becoming independent, being responsible, and often over achieving, there are many negative impacts made on the child’s emotional state and behavior as well. These negatives consist of having a fear of rejection, having feelings of low self worth, striving for perfection, ignoring
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