Living with parental alcohol misuse


Alcohol misuse is a major international health and social problem (prioritised in, for example, the WHO European Alcohol Action Plan 2000-2005, the First European Strategy on Alcohol 2006 and the Alcohol Action Plan Declaration on Young People and Alcohol). There is increasing international recognition of how children can be particularly badly affected through living with a parent with an alcohol problem:

The negative effects of excessive drinking on non-drinking family members, and particularly on children, remain a cause for concern and have to be considered a pertinent public health issue….Children are the most severely affected, since they can do little to protect themselves from the direct or indirect consequences of parental drinking. (WHO 2001 p4 & 6).

This section of the website focuses on children living in families where there is parental alcohol misuse. The nature of the problem, the extent of the problem, the impact on children, and broad guidance of how to respond will be summarised. Ideas for further reading and resources will be given; you can are access websites, organisations and literature in your own country (your country’s ENCARE page or web-site might be a useful start).

Useful reading

Alcohol Action Plan with the Declaration on Young People and Alcohol 2001 › link to source 
Anderson P & Baumberg B (2006). Alcohol in Europe, a Public Health perspective: A report for the European Commission. London: Institute of Alcohol Studies, UK.

Cotton N (1979). The familial incidence of alcoholism: a review. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 40, 89 116.

Eurocare report - Alcohol Problems in the Family 1998 › link to source 

European Commission. First European Strategy on Alcohol 2006 › link to source
Orford J (2001). Excessive Appetites: A Psychological view of Addictions (Second Edition). Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Velleman R & Orford J (1999). Risk and Resilience: adults who were the children of problem drinkers. Harwood Academic Publishers, Reading, Berks.

Velleman R, Templeton L & Copello A (2005). The role of the family in preventing and intervening with substance use and misuse: a comprehensive review of family interventions, with a focus on young people. Drug & Alcohol Review, 24, 93–109.

WHO. European Alcohol Action Plan 2000-2005 › link to source