The Risks of Substance Abuse Among Single Parents

Substance Abuse |

Being a Single Parent Can Cause Stress

Single parents experience significant stress. As you can imagine they face the great challenge of raising a child, or children, alone. Single parents often have little stressors that build over time. This is especially true with financial costs, such as food, electricity, water bills, health care for their children, school fees, car registration fees, and transportation fees.

Single parents face the stress of having to come up with this money on their own. Furthermore, they may must manage the emotional, physical, and psychological growth of their children, and the stress associated with growing pains. Single parents might face so much stress that they develop severe exhaustion, depression, or anxiety.

It’s common for single parents to feel lonely. Because of these many  debilitating circumstances, some single parents might turn to alcohol and drugs as an escape. They might also turn to alcohol and drugs as a means to cope with feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, or fear.

Of course, turning to substance use as a means to cope or escape can be risky. Over time, it can lead someone to develop a tolerance to the substance, which is the beginning of addiction. And of course, a person could develop an addiction, which later might be damaging on the parent-child relationships as well as on the family unit. Furthermore, substance use impairs a person’s ability to perform at work, which may jeopardize the only form of income a family has.

The Children Are Put at Risk

Also, a parent who has a substance abuse problem places their children at risk.  Research indicates that children of parents who drink or use drugs may be a higher risk for developing a drug or alcohol addiction of their own. Those children are also vulnerable to developing depression, anxiety, antisocial behavior, and suicidal thinking.

Lastly, single parents, especially women, often have significant obstacles to attending treatment for addiction, if they needed it. First of all, economic circumstances might keep them from getting professional help to treat their illness. If a single parent needed to keep working or if he or she didn’t know where to house the children while they were in treatment, then it’s likely that a person won’t get treatment at all. ]

This can worsen the family relationship, jeopardize the psychological health of the children, and place everyone at risk for getting their needs met. The household might feel chaotic and unsafe.

It’s certainly not easy to be a single parent. The stress single parents feel might trigger cravings to use drugs or drink, which can lead to addiction. Perhaps recognizing the significant dangers that come with regular substance abuse might prevent them from using substances, and instead find other means to cope.

In fact, there are many resources online and in one’s community for parents who manage the enormous challenge of parenting by themselves. In fact, there might be support groups with other single parents who can share their tips of how to stay safe, sober, and healthy.


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