It is easy to say that those affected by addictions such as alcoholism are harming only themselves, but this is not correct. Everyone around an addict will feel the full force of this destructive illness. However, one group that has been dubbed ‘the forgotten victims’ are the children of those who are struggling to cope with a chemical substance such as alcohol.
All too often, the children of addicts do not get the help and support required, and many will go on to develop their own problems in later life. A Yorkshire MP is now calling for more to be done to help the nation’s 2.5 million children living with alcoholic parents.
Lack of Support
Caroline Flint MP said that the young people of Britain are being overlooked when it comes to strategies aimed at tackling alcoholism. Her comments come after a new report by a cross-party group of MPs was released that highlighted the fact that there is a lack of support for millions of children with alcoholic parents.
Ms Flint’s own mother suffered from alcoholism, and now she is urging the Government to help children who need to be given a ‘voice’. She does not want other kids to suffer from secrecy and shame as she did because of her mother’s illness.
The report calls on the Government to protect the ‘innocent victims of drink’, and it includes information about the extreme lack of support across the UK for the children of alcoholics. The document highlights the fact that many areas have insufficient funding and a lack of strategy when it comes to tackling the problem.
Figures from the NHS show that around nine per cent of men and four per cent of women in the UK are showing signs of being alcohol dependent. Alcoholism can have a negative impact on the health of the individual, but it can also cause problems in terms of social and economic wellbeing.
The new report that is titled Children of Alcoholics: Manifesto for Change claims that around twenty per cent of British children are living with a parent who drinks heavily. It states that these children have a higher likelihood of struggling at school, considering suicide, and developing alcoholism themselves when they get older.
The report also highlighted the fact that even with these risks, there are 138 local authorities where there are no strategies in place for supporting the children of alcoholics. In many local authorities, budgets for addiction treatment have been cut.
Ten recommendations have been set out in the report that will help the Government to tackle the problem of addiction and to eliminate the stigma faced by the children of addicted parents. These recommendations include increased support for families where alcoholism is a problem, greater awareness of the issue in terms of children, and the creation of a new national strategy.
Ms Flint said, “I and others who are part of the manifesto want to try and allow our experience to give some voice to those children who are out there today. Hopefully, the Government will listen to them.”
She described her own experiences of living with an alcoholic mother and said that she felt ashamed. She also went on to say that some children will live with secrecy because they fear that if others find out about the problem, they will be taken away. She added, “I found it very difficult to talk about this publicly until I was in my 40s… it was about that secrecy and not wanting to tell anyone. I think as I’ve grown older and found it easier in some ways to talk about this and to talk to others who have been through the same experience.”
If you are struggling with alcoholism, contact us here at Recovery Lighthouse today; we can help you begin the journey towards recovery so that you can get your life back on track.