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"I live with an alcoholic mothere and it's like every day when she starts to drink I lose her, so everyday I am grieving. I am coping by going to group and individual counseling." High School Sophomore
"My dad is an alcoholic. I don't know how to deal with it but I try not to think about it because whenever I do I think about of death. I don't know what to do!" High School Senior
"what can I do when one of my family members drinks a lot? I am really worried and I cry about it a lot?" High School Freshman
These are among the many notes I receive from students after I deliver my presentation, Teens Coping with Grief, Loss and Other Tough Stuff.
A great web site with a lot of helpful information is: www.nacoa.net (National Association for Children of Alcoholics)
Here is a wonderful article by Claudia Black who has written much in the field of addiction in the past 30 years that you will find on www.nacoa.net:
Children of Addiction
By Claudia Black, Ph.D.
Created Feb 8 2010 - 2:23pm
Thirty years ago I began working with children impacted by addiction in their family. Addiction in the family is a legacy that continues to thrive, although today we have a much better understanding of how children are influenced when raised with the chaos and fear that permeate an addictive family.
Recently I was confronted with issues of children on two fronts. I was working in a treatment facility in their four day family program and had the opportunity to work with some children of clients - a 15 year old, 17 year old and 23 year old. These young adults were aware of how their lives were negatively impacted via their relationships with others, their own use of drugs, and how fear in general was influencing their decisions about many aspects of their lives. Then while sitting in an airport, I received a call from a desperate mother wanting to know what she should do as her husband, in an alcoholic fury, had just hit their preteen age son. These are just four of the estimated 27.8 million children in the U.S. affected by or exposed to a family alcohol problem. This number does not include those affected by or exposed to other drug problems.
These children are at increased risk for a range of problems, including physical illness, emotional disturbances, behavioral problems, lower educational performance and susceptibility to alcoholism or other addictions later in their life.
It doesn't have to be this way. Through our churches, schools, other community venues, and online social networking sites there is an opportunity to advocate for these vulnerable children who are not in a position to advocate for themselves.
Children living with addiction in their family, be it an addicted parent, sibling or other relative, need to know that the addiction and the resulting behavior is not their fault. They need to hear the message that they did not cause it nor can they control it. They need to hear they are not alone. Most importantly they need to hear there are people they can talk to, adults in their school, their church or synagogue, a friend's parent, an extended family member, etc. As concerned family and community members and helping professionals we need to recognize the role we can play in these children's lives.
Now is the time to be willing to rise to the occasion. Sunday February 14th through Saturday February 20th is Children of Alcoholics Week 2010, a week dedicated to bringing awareness to the needs of these children. NACoA, the National Association for Children of Alcoholics has a wealth of free information about children, and even more so about resources and ways for you to become involved in this week and in the future. ACO week can be about you educating and creating greater numbers of people who reach out and let children know they are available to them and they will understand.
It is my hope we all recognize that we are in a position to impact these children not just this one week but 365 days a year.
Source URL: http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/38101
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There is help for emotional dysregulation and learning emotional regulation. Through such things as: as Ala-teen, Al-Anon, group therapy, individual counseling, meditation, yoga, massage, relaxation exercises, activities that soothe the emotional system and teach skills of mind/body regulation.
Has Your Life Been Affected By Someone Else’s Drinking?
Risk Factors for the Child/Teen of an alcoholic/addict:
Genetics: Big debate for years over whether or not you can inherit the disease. Recent studies suggest that genetics accounts for 40-60 percent of the risk for developing substance abuse. If you have a parent who is an alcoholic, or other biological relative, you are more likely to feel a heightened sense of pleasure or elation and relaxation after drinking alcohol than someone who doesn't have alcoholism in the family. If you and a friend from a nonalcoholic family have identical blood alcohol levels, your friend may feel the effects of alcohol sooner than you.
Family dynamics may contribute to addiction. According to the Medical Council on Alcoholism, any of the following factors may increase the risk of psychological and social problems in kids, whether or not they have alcoholism in the family or not.
These may increase likeliness of developing an addiction:
Family Relationship Issues:
Communication problems in the family:
Conflict in the family:
Mental Illness and Emotional Problems:
Mental illness and emotional problems increase the risk for addiction. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, or other mood disorders it is common to try to self medicate with alcohol or other substances. People who have social anxiety or who are very shy in social situations also may turn to alcohol or other substances in order to feel less self conscious in public.
Alcohol changes the brain chemicals and therefore may produce anxiety and depression. It is hard to know at times which came first: the addiction or the depression and anxiety? Depression in users may also contribute to increase in relapsing, therefore it is crucial to also get the depression treated as well as the addiction.
Some people have a dual diagnosis: substance abuse and mental illness. Their treatment is going to be a bit more complicated. The more serious the mental disorder, the more likely it is to feel a compulsion to use. Please seek help from a mental health professional. A comprehensive treatment plan is necessary in addition to self help groups such as the 12 Step programs that focus only on addiction.
For Teenagers Living With a Parent Who Abuses Alcohol/Drugs by Edith Lynn Hornik-Beer
When Parents Have Problems: A book for teens and older children with an abusive, alcoholic or mentally ill parent by Susan B. Miller
Beyond the Blues: A workbook to help teens overcome depression by Lisa Schab, LCSW
The Anger Workbook for Teens: activities to help you deal with anger and frustration by Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, MS
The Bipolar Workbook for Teens: dbt skills to help you control your mood swings by Sheri Van Dijk, MSW and Karma Guindon, MSW
The Anxiety Workbook for Teens: activities to help you deal with anxiety and worry by Lisa Schab, LCSW
Teens Write Through It: Essays from Teens Who Have Triumphed Over Trouble, Fairview Press
Kids Write Through It: Essays from Kids Who Have Triumphed Over Trouble, Fairview Press
CLEAN: A New Generation in Recovery Speaks Out by Chris Beckman, Former cast member of MTV's Real World: Chicago ( Recovery from a young addict's perspective).
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