Effects of Alcoholism on Family

Call our local number 01603 513 091
Request Call Back

Call our local number 01603 513 091
Request Call Back
Call our local number 01603 513 091
Request Call Back

Effects of Alcoholism on Family 

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism is detrimental to the growth of families. While it may seem easier to conclude that family men and women are most prone to alcohol addictions, there’s a new trend.  

77% of the young people in the UK report that they receive helpful information about drinking and addiction from parents. And 61% were pressured to drink by friends. [1] 

Does it mean that alcoholism and genetics have a relationship?

And, is the UK handling families of alcoholics? 

In 2010, ChildLine services in the UK dealt with calls from over 100 children of about five years weekly. Their concern was that their parents had alcohol dependence or intoxicated from other drugs. [2] 

Alcohol ruins families, and with such statistics, it is worrying. There's a high chance of child abuse, domestic violence, financial instability, among many others. 

There are tons of emotional effects of alcohol. As the UK government sets out treatment strategies to intervene, let's learn some of the effects of alcoholism on the family members and the available treatment. 

How alcohol consumption destroys families 

Too much alcohol is harmful to one's health and destroys family relations. A lot is spent on drinking at the expense of taking responsibility of the members.

Also, people lose their moral behaviour while drunk ending up in disagreements and chaos amongst each other. 

Have you come across a family with spouses languishing in alcoholism?  

Imagine having the breadwinner of your home drunk the whole day! Children won't feed, go to school, cloth, and have good relations when they come from such an environment.

As well, such parents are always angered and may lush back when asked for support. 

Well, let's find out how alcoholism destroys relationships, children and spouses. 

Effects of alcoholism on children

Alcohol misuse has a way of taking up your ability to be responsible and never ready to talk about your alcohol problem . Children from such families face neglect as parents are unable to give support. 

From a survey in the UK, 47% of the parents confessed to focusing on drinking rather than parenting. In this case, children lack food, clothing, a home, love, support, and guidance. [3] 

Children conceived from alcoholic mothers and fathers might be sickened with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Such defects are harmful to a child's development in the womb leading to other complications. 

Lots of drinking has a way of making a child think they had a part to play on the behaviours of a loved one. Children are affected emotionally, feeling guilty and disturbed as their usual ways are interrupted.  

Have you come across moody and angry children? Or industrious, perfectionist children that keep themselves isolated?

With continuous alcoholism, parents fail to keep the usual family routines like steady mealtimes and bedtime.

In such cases, children might become unpredictable and work hard to disapprove of their parents and society as they worry about being different from others.  

Children from families of alcoholics lack alcohol sensitivity and might fail to establish steady and long-term relationships. Their parents' failure to be role models in family matters affects about half of them in families.  

Good treatment options are the best strategies. 

Effects of alcoholism on spouses 

Like children, alcohol destroys lives and relationships with spouses. Constant intake slowly en routes you to abandon your responsibilities.

At this point, you might lose your job as you deal with its effects or choose to be drunk rather than work.  

The loss of a job significantly affects spouses in relationships. 21% of people undergoing its treatment in the UK in 2019 and 2020 were parents that had young children.

As the financial obligations lean on one individual, the impacts damage the family. According to a survey by alcohol change in the UK, about 13 per 100 000 people died due to drinking. The number is a 19.6% rise from 2019 statistics. [4] 

And while most of the deaths caused are older people, there is a high chance of parents being among those dying. Losing a spouse makes life harder for the other partner and kids. 

With addiction, accidents quickly occur, and one can expose themselves to other health issues which might lead to loss of life. Moreover, alcoholic spouses might cause emotional and physical abuse to the rest of the family. 

Also, alcoholic spouses can get into crime to satisfy their needs. Such selfish choices destroy wellbeing. So, in case a family member has such an alcohol problem, help them in seeking treatment or provide medical advice. 

About alcohol use disorder  

Alcohol use disorder, also called alcohol addiction, primarily refers to people unable to stop drinking despite its effects. 

Some individuals might have a mild, moderate, and there's risk of developing severe alcohol disorder or addiction case. 

Evidence of alcohol use disorder 

Research shows that the National Health Service, about 7.5 million people indicate signs of alcohol use disorder.[5] 

According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a parent's drinking trend results in the possibility of them developing AUD. [6] 

Alcohol abuse is when an individual consumes lots of alcohol, impeding everyday activities and their wellbeing. The UK government is at the forefront of regulating alcohol abuse.

For instance, the government allows adults to consume fourteen units of alcohol only in a week. Well, drugs destroy families and, this endeavour is vital to help families get out of alcohol use disorder.  

Effects of alcohol use disorder on families 

While many alcoholics fear affecting their families, 70% of them in the UK end up affecting others other than themselves.

In a study of 2011 adults, some of the significant effects of alcoholic disorders included violence, property vandalism, family issues, and drunk drivers.[7] 

Among the emotional effects of the alcohol use disorder is fear. From a survey, 57% developed fear towards their father and 32% of their mother.

37% of the children reported to have witnessed extreme physical violence towards their mothers, and 22% watched their fathers physically abused.[7] 

The American Addiction Centers agree that alcoholism is an issue that breaks marriages. Alcohol destroys relationships. [8] 

Also, American Addiction Centers confirms that children with addicted parents are seriously affected, and their general life isn't okay. [9] 

Such children as stated by American Addiction Centers require a responsible family member to have them visit an adolescent psychiatry to curb risk of developing further substance use disorders and other negative consequences. 

About genetic alcoholism 

Currently, the world faces tons of diseases that are genetic. While alcoholic abuse is prevalent, is alcoholism hereditary? Or are alcoholics using this as a perfect excuse to keep on drinking and affecting others?  

According to molecular genetics, and molecular psychiatry many alcoholism links to genes and there is genetic variant. In fact, it isn't very reassuring to note that more of the same genes are identified daily. 

Furthermore, American Addiction Centres national institute state that our genetic structure identifies with our characters. So, anyone's character is inherited from the parents.

And among this trait is the predisposition to substance abuse and addiction. [10] 


Types of alcoholic genes 

There are many genes for alcoholism varying and serving different purposes in the body. Below are some of the alcoholic genes: 

A good example is the ALDH2 and ADH1B, known for alcoholic treatment tolerance in the body. It determines the rate at which your body metabolizes alcohol.

Metabolism is critical for body tolerance. When the body fails to digest it, it reacts negatively, making it impossible to keep drinking [11].

The reward gene has lots to do with the brain's reward system ability. If the reward system is more potent, the reaction is the same. 

For instance, if the brain allows you to have fun, you might drink a lot, which is the road to addiction. 

Our bodies have a natural way of dealing with anxiety and you don’t need any medically reviewed treatment options to stay calm. But this is not possible when you have specific genes like GARBB1.

The natural production of GABA meant for relaxation is interfered with by the alcoholic gene GARBB1. [11] 

Such people drink to stay relaxed. If you have the alcoholic tolerance gene, trouble knocks when you start drinking or start substance abuse. You'll most likely drink too much and get addicted.  

Despite the adverse effects of most alcoholism genes, the beta klotho gene is a control gene. With this gene, you have a responsible way of consuming alcohol related drinks but with a sweet tooth. 

Alcoholism and genetics and the mental state 

Genetic predisposition to alcoholism is further affected by one’s mental state. If you have underlying psychological issues and mental disorders then alcohol kicks in, the effects of alcoholism like addiction will cause more harm.

For instance, schizophrenia and depression genetic factors create a high affinity to alcoholism than environmental factors.  

Also, men and women have different levels of drug abuse. According to statistics, about 59% of men and 50% of women in England have an addiction from family history.

But women tend to be at more risk than men due to their bodies' body mass and hormones. [12] 

Addiction treatment 

With the effect of alcohol use disorders becoming rampant, professional help is necessary to a loved one's drinking problem or who abuses alcohol.

And this is where substance use addiction treatment comes in. In 2017 and 2018, the health sector took approximately 337 870 people with addict to addiction treatment centres in the UK. [13] 

The alcohol addiction treatment centres entail dealing with the alcohol cravings plus the psychological issues. A sudden stop in substance abuse risk a person's health and the entire family.  

Treatment facilities offer diagnostic and statistical manual with professional medical advice which deals with the pressures causing addiction, helps you detoxify, and deal with withdrawal symptoms and other disease control.

While some treatment facilities are residential for severe cases, others are non-residential with support groups.   

Programmes like Al Anon have offers recovery programmes for alcoholics and their families. 

When to check into a rehab 

If you keep telling lies about your drug and alcohol addiction to your family members and fancy drinking alone, something’s brewing. You need to check into rehab for alcoholism

As you abuse alcohol for fun, it is wise to be keen and promptly deal with any risk signs.  

Drinking too much until you shut down and fail to perform regular duties is a severe sign. As family members, it's good to watch out for such social and environmental factors and help them seek treatment. 

Learn to analyse yourself and control your intake. Do not risk and wait till you check into rehab treatment and let your loved ones suffer for your own needs and financial problems for you to reform.

It's possible to be your addiction treatment doctor if you're strong-willed and tough on yourself.  

Research and read its effects on relationships and family essays to enlighten yourself. When it gets impossible to do it yourself, rehab treatment awaits you. 


Drinking is fun, but the most challenging part is to stop. Substance use disorder is global, and it is the most brutal addiction. As alcohol consumption and addiction numbers rise, other family members are at a higher risk of destruction. 

The effects of addiction on families are numerous. However, some mental health services administration can handle it. Do not drink heavily and let addiction kill everything you have.

Remember alcohol destroys families yet there are professionals ready to talk with master's degree to help you out. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: October 31, 2023