According to an eye-opening study by the National Association of Children of Alcoholics (NACOA), nearly 12 million children in the U.S. are growing up in a home with at least one parent who is an alcoholic. This startling statistic points to the fact that millions of adults have grown up in a household where alcohol contributed to a dysfunctional upbringing, and as a result bear the scars of childhood trauma.

Research demonstrates that adult children of alcoholics experience increased rates of substance abuse, certain mental health issues, and challenging personal relationships. In fact, growing up with an alcoholic parent raises the chances that we will choose an alcoholic life partner. Additionally, there are several symptoms and signs of childhood trauma that we can carry into adulthood, complicating our lives and compromising our happiness. A few of those signs include:

Trouble dealing with emotions. If you grew up with an alcoholic parent oftentimes it may have been necessary to hide or bury your emotions rather than freely express the anger, shame, sadness, embarrassment or frustration you felt.

Low self-esteem is another common indicator of having grown up in a negative, punishing, troubled, or chaotic environment. This can translate into an inability to accept praise, or discomfort with compliments or recognition. Alternatively, adult children of alcoholics may be overly sensitive to perceived criticism or feedback.

Routinely burying feelings and/or discounting how you feel. An alcoholic household often creates an environment where emotional expression is unacceptable or ignored, so children adopt the habit of hiding emotions. As adults they may be at higher risk for depression, neglecting health-care routines, and feelings of loneliness.

Fear other people, authority figures, and anger. Experiencing neglect or abuse in an alcoholic home often leads to fear of those in a position to control or punish. Often those who grew up in an alcoholic household experience strong reactions to anger or aggression as a result of their childhood experiences with it.

These are just a few of the traits that you may have developed as a result of alcoholic parents. If you suspect that you may have grown up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household, there are a multitude of resources that can help you properly identify and work towards healing the wounds it may have caused.

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you throughout your recovery journey. We can help you be a healthier version of yourself. Call us today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to speak with you and help you today!