Help Children of Addicts In general terms, both prenatal and postnatal exposure to\u00a0parental alcohol and substance abuse\u00a0are forms of early maltreatment and trauma, capable of\u00a0affecting an individual\u2019s lifelong development. After birth, being exposed to an environment characterized by volatile instability can cause substantial suffering. On a frequent or daily basis, children of addicts may experience a number of issues. These include high level of family conflict, emotional or physical violence, increased stress, a lack of family cohesion, parental mood swings and unpredictability. Even when addicted parents are not physically or emotionally abusive, they are typically focused on themselves rather than the needs of their children, which causes a lack of help for children of addicts. A child may no longer live with the addicted parent due to separation, divorce, abandonment, imprisonment or death. Although the parent may no longer actively abuse substances, the child may continue to feel the impact of parental addiction. It is possible for the child of an addict to come through intact as a healthy adult, although many of these\u00a0children suffer long-lasting consequences. While the cycle of addiction passes from parent to child, it can be disrupted with early and proper intervention. Children of Addicts: Facts and Stats Children model behaviors based on those exhibited by their parents. Substance use disorders have genetic and environmental causes. Children of addicts emulate negative behaviors and are at a greater risk of developing addictions. The following are\u00a0sobering facts and stats\u00a0that speak to the seriousness of this crisis. \tMore than 28 million Americans are children of alcoholics; of those, nearly 11 million are younger than age 18. \tChildren of addicts are three to four times more likely than their peers to develop addictions. \tIn 2013, there were 2.8 million new users of illicit drugs, and more than half were younger than age 18. \tIn 2014, an estimated 679,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 had an alcohol use disorder. \tChildren exposed prenatally to illicit drugs are two to three times more likely to be abused or neglected. \tResearch conducted on children of addicts indicates increased rates of physical illnesses that are thought to be stress-related. A 1990 study uncovered a 24% higher overall inpatient admission rate and 29% greater average length of hospital stay among these children. \tA 1994 study indicated that 41% of addicted parents reported that at least one child repeated a grade in school. In addiction, 19% were truant and 30% had been suspended from school. Taking Care of Children of Addicts The most important way to protect children is to remove them from a situation that is abusive or neglectful. Evidence indicates that children who have addicted parents can benefit greatly when other adults intervene and support them. Children of drug-addicted parents need sober and stable adults in their lives. When a child with an addicted parent is able to rely on another family member, they are able to better cope with the trauma of having a neglectful or abusive parent. He can become independent and develop self-reliance, rather than subjecting himself to the ongoing frustrations of an untrustworthy parent. A more nurturing environment will help children of addicts develop better social skills. In addition, it decreases the odds of developing substance use and addiction disorders as a teen or adult. Unfortunately, there is not always a responsible and willing adult in the family. Meaning many children end up in foster care. This can help children of addicts and can create more problems for others. The modern Opioid crisis has put a burden on the foster care system. Parental alcohol and drug use has doubled as a reason for removing a child\u00a0from the home, according to The National Conference of State Legislators. It reports some of the following statistics to point out how substance abuse may be forcing children into foster care. \tNearly 433,000 children in the United States were in foster care in 2017. \tChildren under one year of age are funneling into the system at higher rates. They represented 39,697 in 2011 and by 2017 they numbered 50,076. \tNeonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has worsened, from 3.4 per 1000 hospital births in 2009 to 8.0 per 1000 hospital births in 2014, due to the\u00a0dramatic increase in maternal opioid use. Therapy Promotes Healing Addicts themselves need\u00a0professional treatment for successful recovery, and if they agree to it, rehab can be a way for the rest of the family to start healing. In addition, help for the parents of addicts can benefit everyone in the family, in particular if the grandparent has taken on the parenting of their grandchildren. Children have emotional problems associated with parental addiction. obtaining proper professional help is a proven prevention tool that can stop the cycle of addiction. Family therapy for all impacted family members can be instrumental in healing. Group therapy is an effective way to help children of addicts cope with daily stress. It has also shown to lessen the risk of abusing substances. Group programs enable children in similar situations to reduce personal guilt, embarrassment, shame and feelings of isolation that often accompany having an addicted parent. In this supportive setting, they can share experiences and discover the critical lesson that they are not alone. The children of drug addicts need at least one stable adult in their life whom they can rely on. This level of care encourages healthier self-esteem, a trait that is often lacking in children whose parents who primarily focus addiction. With improved self-esteem, children are better able to establish healthy relationships, express their emotions and build a life outside of troubled homes. Caring for these children tackles the root problem of addiction and helps break this often repetitive cycle.