One in five adults can identify with growing up with an alcoholic relative and Twenty-eight million Americans have one parent abusing or dependent on alcoholic (Walker, & Lee, 1998). There are devastating and ubiquitous effects of alcoholism, which vary from psychological, social, or biological problems for families. Counselor’s treating this problem all agree that the relationships within a family, especially between a parent and a child is one of the most influential within a system, but what are the effects on the family when a parent is an alcoholic? Contemporary research has found there is a higher prevalence of problems in the family when alcohol is the organizing principle. In addition, there is copious research on the roles of individuals within the family becoming defined into specific categories, and evidently, the roles may become reversed between the parent and the child. This topic of functional roles in alcoholic families will be analyzed and investigated further. Family therapy has had substantial results in the treatment of an alcoholic parent. These results will be discussed more along, with the literature examining the existing research related, to specific interventions and treatments in family therapy with an alcoholic parent. Before research on the treatment is illuminated on distinctive therapies, it is crucial for counselors facilitating family therapy to comprehend the literature on the presenting problems commonly, associated with alcoholic parents and the effects this population has on their families. Furthermore, the adverse outcomes an alcoholic parent has on their children and spouses has been researched and reviewed.
Children of Alcoholics (COAs) Negative Outcomes
Parental alcoholism has detrimental effects on normal children of alcoholics. The negative outcomes are low self-esteem, loneliness, guilt, abandonment, fears, and chronic depression (Berger, 1993). Children of alcoholics (COAs) frequently take on roles of parents and feel responsible for their parent’s problems. Young children often exhibit problem behaviors because of high levels of tension and stress at home. These behaviors may range from younger children having nightmares, bed wetting, and crying to older children, displaying signs of depression, obsessive behaviors with perfectionism, hoarding, or self-consciousness. COAs have no consistency in their home life, which results in learning from their parent’s behavior. This often leads to significant behavior problems because they are unable to control themselves at home or school. Typically, COAs develop pervasive problems that significantly affect their abilities to learn, communicate, and develop friendships. COAs are exposed to more crime and violence due to their alcoholic parent. COA’s have a higher rate of becoming alcoholics themselves and a lower rate of graduating college.
Children of Alcoholics (COAs) in Therapy
Previously discussed were unfavorable outcomes for...