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Mother hooked on substances: Parentification can add to childhood trauma
Posted in Addiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Trauma - 0 Comments

Parenting is not an easy task. The responsibility assumes an arduous characteristic when it has to be done by those who are young children themselves. Many American households have mothers hooked on some drugs. Owing to the effect of dope that disables such mothers to realize their duty, the eldest son or daughter has to step in to protect and guard the dependent siblings.

Tina Derek (name changed) in a conversation with her psychologist revealed how she had to become a parent to her infant brother when she herself was barely six years old. Her mother’s alcoholism had taken a toll on the family’s peace. Tina explained how she bathed, clothed and fed her brother after her mother’s indifference toward their care. The burden of responsibilities that fell on Tina’s shoulders at such an early stage led her to suffer from pangs of depression, coupled with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and daily panic attacks.

Exploring link between childhood parenting and emotional disorders

Mental health specialists frequently come across patients who share their childhood struggles of looking after their siblings as their parents continue to abuse substances and refuse to seek help for their problems. Experts refer to this as “parentification” in which a child dons the role of an adult, taking on responsibilities and liabilities typically performed by guardians or parents. Though in some families, grandparents and extended relatives lend necessary support during the growing up stages, the experience of having to bear the entire responsibility while attempting to survive in squalid conditions can be traumatic in most cases.

Psychiatrists attribute chronic mental health problems in such people to distressing childhood experiences characterized by incapability and helplessness to deal with them. They stress how the destructive process of parentification results in insecure attachments with mothers, leading to developmental problems during childhood that continue till adulthood. Physicians have reported how consequent emotional scars etched due to burden of responsibilities can also result in victims exhibiting signs of eating disorders or substance abuse problems.

While there is a plethora of researches aimed to educate people about the various kinds of staggering mental disorders, not many talk about the impact of parentification on young, innocent minds. While experts detail about relationship dynamics that are often imbalanced in families having one or more addicted members, very few talk about how abusive family environments can play a negative role in understanding family bonds.

Childhood trauma can adversely affect mental health

The extent of unpredictability that children are forced to go through owing to their parents’ addiction has also raised the risk of them being afflicted with mental diseases. The symptoms of all problems stemming from the mind need not be palpable during the initial stages; some are prominent, only the problem worsens due to lack of timely treatment.

Disastrous childhood experiences cause many to manifest continual feelings of stress, while in extreme cases it may result in gradual memory loss or unexplained emotional turbulence. The effects of childhood trauma are often ignored at early stages. If you have someone in your family who needs professional advice to mitigate the impact of trauma suffered during their childhood, get in touch with Sovereign Health of Arizona. Call our 24/7 helpline number or chat with one of our online representatives for more information about our childhood trauma treatment.

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