Alcoholism is considered a disease because it often devastatingly takes over our loved ones before we get a chance to stop them – it slowly, assuredly, sneakily creeps in and makes demands that can never be fulfilled. It constantly asks for more: more money, more time, more energy, more alcohol. To the person with the disease, alcoholism seems to have never ending requests; a person feels that by doing what it asks of them, it will quench that thirst for just a brief moment, and sometimes it does. Before long, however, it rages back even stronger than before, demanding for even more. When families are involved, alcoholism is all consuming, all draining, and all damaging.

There are many ways that families are impacted by alcoholism. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence emphasized the role of parents on family conflict; parental alcoholism is highly linked with marital dissatisfaction, which can have a direct impact on a family’s dynamic. This study examined adolescents’ perceptions of family conflict over time while alcoholism was involved. Four hundred and fifty-four families participated in the study, with 246 adolescents stating they have at least one parent with alcoholism and 208 adolescents stating they have no parents with alcoholism (to serve as a comparison group). Three waves of data collection were conducted, with each wave involving computerized interviews of certain family members at various times. The researchers were assessing parental alcohol use disorder (AUD), marital dissatisfaction, and family conflict.

Results from the study indicated that mothers who reported marital dissatisfaction due to parental alcoholism typically begins to affect adolescents from ages 13-17. If fathers report marital dissatisfaction due to parental alcoholism, adolescents seem to be affected a bit earlier – age 10. However, mothers who reported marital dissatisfaction seemed to have more of a significant impact on the way adolescents viewed family conflict over time. Nonetheless, many families experienced conflict within the family as a whole and between parent-child interactions. In addition to children who are affected, alcoholism can certainly raise the risk for domestic violence (DV) to occur. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) two-thirds of victims of DV report that their attacker had been drinking.

If you’ve been struggling with alcoholism, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about several types of programs and which one may be right for you. It’s never too late to seek the help you need.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.



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