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How a Family Member’s Substance Use Affects a Child’s Life

Substance use disorders not only affect the individual who is struggling with substance use but also their family, and especially their children. At Phoenix House Florida, the top substance abuse recovery center in Tampa, we have seen firsthand the effects of a family member’s substance use on a child’s life and well-being.

Emotional Impacts

Children living in households where a family member struggles with substance use often experience a wide range of emotional challenges. These children may frequently feel a sense of confusion and fear due to the unpredictable behaviors exhibited by the substance-using family member. Feelings of neglect and abandonment can also arise when the parent or relative is more focused on substance use than on family responsibilities.

These children might additionally experience chronic stress, anxiety, and guilt. They often believe they are somehow responsible for the substance use or the resulting family conflicts. This emotional burden can lead to sadness, anger, and hopelessness. The lack of emotional stability and consistent parental support can severely affect their emotional well-being and development.

Psychological Impacts

The psychological effects on children in these situations can be profound and long-lasting. Exposure to a family member’s substance use often leads to increased risks of developing mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, alongside struggling with self-esteem issues. The constant exposure to high-stress situations and potentially traumatic events, such as witnessing overdoses or aggressive behavior as a result of substance use, can be extremely distressing. 

Children in these environments may also develop unhealthy coping mechanisms and could potentially turn to substance use themselves as a means of escape or mimic the behaviors they see.

Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of living with a family member who abuses substances can extend well into adulthood. Academic performance and social relationships often suffer, which limits a child’s future opportunities and affects their personal and professional development. The emotional and psychological impacts can linger well past childhood and may potentially affect their ability to form healthy relationships and maintain stable employment.

Coping Strategies and Support Systems

Despite the challenges, there are coping strategies and support systems that can help children affected by a family member’s substance use. Creating a stable, supportive environment plays an extremely important role and can be facilitated by other family members, teachers, counselors, and community programs.

Therapeutic interventions, such as counseling and support groups, can provide children with a safe space to express their feelings and learn healthy coping mechanisms. At Phoenix House Florida, our alcohol abuse treatment programs in Tampa offer comprehensive programs that support not only individuals struggling with substance use but also their families, including children. These programs often include family reintegration therapy to help repair relationships and build healthier family dynamics.

Take the First Step Toward Recovery With Phoenix House Florida

The impact of a family member’s substance use on a child’s life is deep and potentially long-lasting. However, if you are a parent or family member struggling with substance use, you can find the professional support you deserve at our substance abuse recovery center in Tampa.

Recovery is possible. For more information about our Tampa alcohol abuse treatment programs, call our office at (813) 957-9639 or request an appointment today.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Phoenix House Florida website do not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services provided by Phoenix House Florida or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

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At Phoenix House Florida, we have a passion for healing. If you or your loved one are in need of subtance use treatment, we are here to help. Give us a call or submit our appointment request form today.

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How Can We Help?

At Your House

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. Outpatient treatment must follow a continuum of care that starts with a thorough needs assessment and ends with recovery monitoring.

At Our House

For some patients, stepping away from the buzz of everyday life is the only way to make a full recovery. Inpatient treatments help patients refocus their recovery efforts to achieve positive, long-lasting outcomes.

The Derek Jeter Center

The Derek Jeter Center Adolescent program in Brandon, FL provides comprehensive outpatient services that help families deal with teen substance use and related mental health conditions.