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Alcohol and Family Issues

Alcoholism can affect individuals of any background, income level, social, ethnic, or age group. Alcoholism regularly affects individuals who are highly educated. Studies show that individuals who are unmotivated are less likely to suffer from alcoholism than individuals who are highly motivated.

Alcohol and family issues are an age-old alliance because alcoholism is also referred to as a family disease. Many alcoholics have children. They also oftentimes have wives or husbands, parents, siblings, and other relatives. An alcoholic can completely disrupt family life and cause dangerous effects that can last forever. Per the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, 76 million American adults have been exposed to situations involving familial alcoholism. Moreover, alcohol is the leading cause of most family issues. Specifically, 1 out of every 4 families has issues with alcohol.

Alcohol may affect every family member in a different manner. A child may be affected by parental alcoholism even before she is born. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, her alcohol concentration level is passed onto the baby, therefore, the unborn baby’s alcohol concentration level matches her own.

In these situations, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) may occur. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of the three main reasons for birth defects. Per the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, approximately 5000 babies are born every year with serious damage resulting from FAS. In addition, 35000 babies are born with milder types of FAS.

Generally, the more serious the mother’s alcoholism is during pregnancy, is the more serious the symptoms of FAS in the baby becomes. Infants born with FAS are underweight and shorter when compared to babies born without the syndrome. Further, their brain and skull sustain deformities, which can be detected in the facial features (e.g. small eye openings, thin upper lips, long, and flat faces). These infants also suffer damages to their central nervous systems. This results in them having problems with learning, attention span, judgment, memory, problem-solving, and often behavior issues. Their social skills may also be affected, leading to much frustration, which transforms into anger as they mature. They are also often hyperactive (incapable of sitting or standing still for long periods of time). They are frequently impulsive, suffer from poor coordination, and have distorted speech and hearing. The effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are permanent, resulting in lifelong issues with mental retardation.

Alcohol and family issues can also be seen in parental alcoholism, which affects normal children of these alcoholics. The children have frequent symptoms of low self-esteem, loneliness, guilt, helplessness, fear of abandonment, and severe depression. Children of alcoholics may blame themselves for their parent’s condition and often undergo elevated levels of stress and tension. Young children of alcoholics may suffer from bed wetting, crying, and have frequent nightmares. Alcoholism can cause lifelong torment for the alcoholic and their family, particularly if the alcoholic does not get help.

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