Family Life & Alcohol Dependence

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Family Life and Alcohol Dependence
When asked to think about one’s past childhood recollections, some remember times filled with laughter and family bonding memories. However, studies have shown that millions of children recall differently. A national household survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2001 showed that more than 6 million children lived with at least one parent that was alcohol dependent (U.S. Department of Health). Alcohol dependence not only affects the user, but also his or her family as well and can lead to problems for all family members in the household.

Family life starts the moment a person is born into the world. Parenting styles, different family stages, and each individual’s surrounding environment play a huge factor in influencing a person’s growth and well-being. According to Insel and Roth, “providing a balance of firm limits and clear structure along with plenty of warmth, nurturing, and respect for the child’s own special needs and temperament as well as her or his growing independence is the best predictor for raising a healthy child” (86). Experiencing each of the family stages as an infant, through adolescence and adulthood is all part of growing up and forming one owns identity.

When a parent (or both) has an alcohol addiction, it greatly affects the family dynamics and can cause many problems at home. Alcohol dependence “involves more extensive problems with alcohol use, usually involving physical tolerance and withdrawal” (85). Some symptoms include drinking unaccompanied, drinking at odd times throughout the day, and getting drunk more often than before. Alcoholics need 50% more alcohol than one would typically drink just to reach one’s intoxication (187). Alcohol dependency can lead to unintended injuries, violence, risky behavior, or worse, death.

Alcoholism can also be known as a family disease. An alcoholic can totally disrupt family life and cause harmful effects that can last a...
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