Effects of my parents drinking




I was wondering if someone could help me out with recognising the effects of my dads alcohol problem on my mental health. My anxiety is definitely a result of it, I can pin point the exact moment I started with severe anxiety and it was directly related to his alcoholism. I kind of think that I might have experienced emotional trauma, I don’t know if what I feel is serious enough to be classified as PTSD. Does anyone know if ongoing emotional turmoil is a trauma when it isn’t just one incident but an overall upsetting situation? I feel so down all the time, the stress of thinking about the situation is just too much, I can’t even cry about it anymore but my mental health is at an all time low. I’m not currently talking to my dad but that is also part of the problem as I don’t even know if he is okay. I don’t even think that I have processed the whole situation, it just seems like I am moving from one day to the next consumed by the stress of it all. I genuinely can’t see this getting any better, he is never going to stop drinking so there’s nothing I can do – yet at the same time giving up on my dad seems like the worst thing I could do, the guilt I already feel is so stressful. I guess if anyone could explain whether they have felt the same, or if what I’m experiencing is trauma or depression or just stress? Thanks.

  • listener


    I am very sorry to hear about your experiences with your father’s drinking, growing up with one parent or both drinking can have a hugely stressful and anxiety inducing effect on a child growing up, it is completely normal and often expected that you would have these reactions and feelings as a result. It is also possible that after a sustained period of difficulties with your dad’s alcoholism that you could be experiencing trauma. Trauma doesn’t have to come from just one major event. It could definitely be worth reaching out to your GP if you haven't done so already - they may be able to shed some more light and refer you for support.

    You mention that you feel guilty for not speaking to him, however, it is important to remember that sometimes boundaries are needed to be made to make sure that the amount of harm and anxiety you feel from his alcoholism is reduced. However much you wish to speak to him is completely up to you. Unfortunately this guilt is very common so you're not alone in feeling this way.

    I want you to know that you are not alone and that there are many people who have had similar experiences, the Nacoa website is full of people’s stories and not just that but information regarding how a parent’s drinking can impact the family. I really hope that could be helpful to you.

    Take care

  • uniquemind


    Being a child of an alcoholic since my teens has made me realise that some of my actions and how I think/ build relationships with others has been affected by this. When the drinking first started I had an awful time and experienced a break down due to stress and overwhelming thoughts as well as other life events. I felt self reflection or keeping a thought diary has a major tool in understanding my experiences and having the ability to piece all my emotions, actions and experiences together effectively. I used to drink as a teen heavily on the weekend and looking back now I think this was also a coping mechanism considering I do not drink now. Seeking help for your own mental and emotional well-being from trained local professionals is also crucial and may help you understand the trauma more.

    Please take care x

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