When you hear the words “alcoholic mother,” you already have an upsetting and confusing mental image. Mothers should be nurturing, caring individuals, not falling-down drunks. How can the two possibly go together? The sad reality is that alcoholism knows no gender boundaries. A woman can, therefore, be an alcoholic and a mother simultaneously.
There are many dangers in being an alcoholic mother—for them and their loved ones. If you or someone you love is an alcoholic mother, seek help by calling 844.875.5609 to speak with someone from Promises Behavioral Health about our alcohol rehab centers throughout the United States.
What Does an Alcohol Mother Look Like?
Over the long term, the brain’s changes due to alcohol abuse can make the urge to drink as compelling and urgent as the need to breathe or eat. However, for most mothers struggling with alcohol addiction, the desire to be functional also exists alongside survival and substance dependence.
Keeping the Alcoholism Hidden
High-functioning alcoholics pull the wool over everybody’s eyes and get away with their alcoholic lifestyle for quite some time. But there is always a reckoning. For some high-functioning alcoholic women, it’s more than just a wake-up call when that day comes. It’s often a tragedy beyond comprehension.
Sadly, even if they overcome addiction, morally, there’s an unpaid debt. This doesn’t have to do with the disease so much that alcoholic mothers don’t take proper care of their children. Having an alcoholic mother can be traumatizing for a child.
Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy
Mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy risk serious harm to their unborn infants. The range of effects that can occur is called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and includes physical, mental, behavioral, and learning disabilities—possibly with lifelong implications.
Alcohol is a teratogen. This is a substance that causes harm to the developing fetus. When consumed, alcohol crosses the placental barrier and enters the fetus’s bloodstream. As a result, the alcoholic content in the fetal bloodstream is equal to or exceeds that of the mother.
Alcoholism is a progressive and often life-threatening disease. It steadily causes physical, psychological, social, legal, vocational, and familial problems without treatment. The children, however, are often the ones who suffer the most. The alcoholic mother is more concerned with her intake of alcohol than with doing what’s best for her offspring. Unfortunately, many alcoholic mothers refuse to see the problem.
Research shows that children of alcoholic parents are likelier to drink alcohol excessively. The younger alcoholic consumption begins, the more likely the child is to develop a problem with alcohol or other harmful substances. Divorce is common among families with an alcoholic mother. So is the escalation of physical abuse and incidents of violence and sexual abuse.
Encouraging Premature Death
Female alcoholics have death rates up to 100% higher than male alcoholics. This includes deaths from:
- Heart attacks
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Alcohol-related accidents
When the alcoholic mother dies, the entire family is impacted—especially their children.
How to Help an Alcoholic Mother
If you are an alcoholic mother, have an alcoholic mother, or love someone who is, the best thing to do is to seek addiction treatment. You may need to hold an intervention, and it may take several tries before the person struggling finally completes a formal rehab program, but the crucial thing is never to give up. When you’re considering rehab centers, look for treatment programs that consist of the following:
- Behavioral Therapy
- Follow-up aftercare
- Peer support, such as 12-step groups
While alcoholism is not curable, the alcoholic mother can choose to change her life. Her life can turn around through a genuine desire to change and a commitment to seek and go through treatment.