Effects Of Alcoholism On Family: How Drinking Affects Everyone

by | Oct 28, 2020 | Alcohol Addiction

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The effects of alcoholism on family may be different than what many people think.  Some assume that only the person struggling with alcoholism suffers negative consequences. However, the reality is that everyone in the household can suffer, as loved ones and friends outside of the home. In fact, the social effects of alcohol can reach a person’s entire social network, like a ripple effect.

Excess drinking in the home can certainly cause issues. Let’s discuss some of the short and long-term effects of alcoholism on the family.

Short-Term Effects Of Alcoholism On Family


Alcohol and Relationship Problems

When alcoholism is present in the home, relationships usually suffer. There are plenty of people who become mean, belligerent, or neglectful when they’re drunk. Others may become jealous, controlling, or run the streets half the night.

In the case of alcoholism in the home, the children may get neglected, yelled at, or abused. Children can learn to fear their parent, which can cause great harm to the psyche.  They think how can someone that is supposed to love and protect them treat them so badly?

The partner or spouse is likely to suffer as well.  They may have to tend to the household or parenting duties by themselves, as their partner’s over-drinking makes them unreliable. This can cause plenty of arguments, resentment, and chronic stress.

It’s not uncommon for partners and/or loved ones to develop codependency characteristics too.  They may begin enabling their loved one, become insecure, depressed, anxious, controlling, and so on.

Erratic Behavior

Drunk people can do some crazy things.  Think about the erratic behaviors that could go on in a family when someone is highly intoxicated. If the one drinking becomes angry, household members may become anxious wondering what might happen next.  Ranting and raving? Breaking things? Abuse?

If they go out all hours of the night, the family could sit home worried about them until they get home safe. The erratic behavior can cause loved ones a great deal of stress, depression, fear, and more.


Excessive consumption of alcohol causes hangovers, which can affect the entire household the day after the drunken episodes.  For the person struggling with alcoholism, nursing hangovers can cause them to miss work, be grumpy, skip self-care, and more. If they miss work or aren’t as productive, their finances can suffer.

For the household, they may have to pick up the slack, walk on eggshells, and miss out on the opportunity to make deep emotional connections with that person.

Long-Term Effects Of Alcoholism On Family


Financial Ruin

Alcohol can be expensive, especially when you drink often. This can certainly cause financial problems due to money spent on alcohol, poor decisions, or legal problems. For example, someone who gets drunk may go on a shopping spree online or in person, whereas they wouldn’t have spent that money had they been sober.

Also, it’s easy to spend a lot of money at the bar.  Maybe you intend to only have a couple of drinks, but by the end of the night, you could have spent hundreds of dollars on yourself and others.


Alcohol and relationships don’t always mix well. In fact, alcoholism increases the chance of divorce immensely.  With the arguments, emotionally absence, and so on, both partners get tired of the drama and cycles.

The Children Are Affected

When alcoholism is present in the home, children are almost always affected in some way. Some will develop codependent characteristics, such as people-pleasing, walking on eggshells, repressing feelings, anxiety, disconnecting from emotions, fear of abandonment, and more.

Of course, the more dysfunctional the household, the more impact on the children. It’s likely children won’t quite understand why their parent(s) have mood swings, aren’t there for them as much as they need, pass out, and more.  Some come to believe it’s their fault, struggling with feelings of blame, shame, confusion, sadness, and anger.

Children may also grow up thinking drinking to cope is normal.  They may grow up and begin drinking themselves. Some of them will follow in the footsteps of their parents and struggle with alcoholism as well. They may suffer similar problems with alcohol and relationships in and out of the home atmosphere.

Is Alcoholism Affecting Your Family?

The effects of alcoholism on family can destroy families. If someone in your household is struggling with alcoholism, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  The good news is that there is treatment available.  Here at Soul Surgery, we’re here to assist you and your family find the recovery you deserve. Please call today (833) 568-6619 and talk to an addiction specialist to discuss your options. There is hope.


Dr. Ravi Chandiramani
Dr. Ravi Chandiramani is a Naturopathic physician with over 15 years experience working with those struggling with addiction and alcoholism. Over those 15 years he has worked with over 7,000 patients. He is the founder of the Integrative Addiction Medicine (I-AM) model which combines evidence-based conventional addiction medicine with the nurturing and rebuilding modalities inherent to the practice of Naturopathic medicine.

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