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Are You an Adult Child of an Alcoholic? Get Counseling! From Lake-in-the-Hills and Cary, IL

Mar 10, 2008
Approximately 20% of adult Americans lived with an alcoholic while growing up and these children are at greater risk for having emotional problems. Since alcoholism runs in families, children of alcoholics are four times more likely than others to become alcoholics.

If you are the child of an alcoholic, you are likely to have experienced some form of neglect or abuse. If you were raised in such a family, you may have a variety of issues, such as:

Inappropriate Guilt-You may see yourself as the main cause of your mother or fathers drinking.

Anxiety. You may have constantly worried about your home life. You may have feared that your alcoholic parent would become sick or injured; you may have also been afraid of fights and violence between your parents.

Embarrassment. Your parents may have given you the message that there is a terrible secret at home. You may not have invited friends home because you never knew when a fight might break-out.

Inability to have close relationships. Because you may have been sorely disappointed by your drinking parents promises to stop, you may now be distrusting of others.

Confusion. Your alcoholic parent may have changed suddenly from being loving to angry, regardless of your behavior. A regular daily schedule, which is important for any child, may not have existed because your bedtimes or mealtimes were constantly changing.

Anger. You may have felt anger at your alcoholic parent and may now be angry at your non-alcoholic parent for lack of support and protection.

Depression. You may have felt lonely and helpless to change the situation, causing a feeling of futility.

Although you probably attempted to keep the alcoholism a secret from others, your teachers, relatives or friends may have sensed that something was wrong. The following behaviors may have signaled that there was a drinking or other problem in your home. Did you:

Have problems in school; truancy, poor grades etc?

Want for friends; withdraw from your classmates?

Engage in delinquent behavior, such as stealing or violence?

Have frequent physical complaints, such as headaches or stomachaches?

Abuse drugs or alcohol?

Fight or bully other children?

Engage in overly risk taking behavior?

Experience feelings of depression or suicidal thinking?

On the other hand, it is well known that some children of alcoholics are prone to act like the responsible parents they want within the family unit and among friends. They may cope with the alcoholism by becoming controlled, successful overachievers throughout school, while, at the same time being emotionally isolated from other children and even their teachers.

Their emotional problems may show only after they have become adults. Whether or not your parents have received counseling for alcoholism, you can benefit from educational programs and mutual-help groups such as programs for children of alcoholics, Al-Anon, and Alateen.

Early professional help is also important in order to prevent more serious problems for you and your kids or spouse. Do not forget: Alcoholics beget alcoholics.

Psychologists and mental health counselors can diagnose and treat problems in children of alcoholics. They can also help you to understand how to prevent it from happening in your own kids.

Your counseling program may include individual counseling and sometimes, group therapy with others, which can reduce any sense of isolation that you may feel. Your psychologist will often work with your family members to help them develop healthier ways of relating to one another.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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