It’s no secret that alcoholism, alcohol dependence, and alcohol abuse are very common in the United States, especially among young adult men. A majority of these men eventually become or are already fathers who have an important decision to make: will they continue to give into their impulses, or will they change their habits to become a more positive influence on their children?
While some men can completely cut alcohol out of their lives for the sake of their children, it’s not that easy for others. In some cases, it can get to the point where a man’s partner or children begin to notice that he has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
Unfortunately, many children and teenagers have asked themselves and others a heartbreaking question that can be extremely hard to answer: “why does my dad drink so much?”
Alcohol Dependence in Men
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7 percent of men had an alcohol use disorder in 2019. On the other hand, only 4 percent of women had one. Also, men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women. About 22 percent of men have reported binge drinking about five times a month. During these binges, they will have eight drinks on average. And finally, men have much higher rates of alcohol-related hospitalizations than women.
You probably weren’t surprised to hear these statistics about men drinking more than women. Why is that? Is there a reason that men drink more than women?
Why Do Fathers Turn to Alcohol?
Men may turn to alcohol throughout their lives for a multitude of reasons. Even though fatherhood may be a reason for individuals to stop drinking in some cases, it may provide more triggers that lead men to drinking more.
Below are just some of the reasons why fathers may drink heavily:
- To relax, self-soothe, or relieve stress
- To unwind from work-related triggers
- Because of societal pressures
- He is addicted and is not able to stop
- He has unaddressed mental health issues that he uses alcohol to cope with
These are just a few of the underlying motivations for men to drink. However, there are countless possibilities. Of course, none of these reasons are an excuse for an individual to neglect their responsibilities as a parent. Having a parent with alcoholism can greatly affect a child’s development and can have an impact on them throughout their lives.
Living With An Alcoholic Father
Because of the effects that alcoholism has on an individual, it can be hard for men to fulfill all of their fatherly duties when they have a drinking problem. When men drink excessively, they may begin to perform poorly at work. If they perform poorly, they may end up losing their jobs and income. And more importantly, men may neglect their children when they have an issue with drinking. This neglect may include not paying attention to their kids when they speak, not attending their events, and not being physically or emotionally present.
For individuals and their children to live happy and healthy lives, it’s important for them to seek treatment as soon as possible if they think they may have an alcohol problem. Seeking out any type of substance abuse treatment may help men understand the root of their problems and take the necessary next steps to play a positive and significant role in their childrens’ lives.
Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse
Heavy drinking can eventually cause a variety of physical and mental health complications for men. Nearly three quarters of deaths from excessive drinking are among males, and alcohol increases the risk of cancers that are more common for men (such as cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon). Since alcohol use can lead to many serious conditions, it is important for men who drink excessively to receive some sort of treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment options may vary depending on the severity of an individual’s alcohol dependence. There are both inpatient and outpatient programs: inpatient programs involve living at a rehabilitation center for a specific period of time, whereas outpatient programs allow individuals to get treatment while continuing with their everyday lives. Programs may include a combination of one-on-one therapy, support groups, 12-step meetings like AA, parenting training, & more.
Do you think that one of your parents might have an alcohol problem? To learn more about the connection between fathers and alcoholism, contact our team of substance abuse specialists by calling 866-345-2147.