Chicago Tribune

Children with addicted parents face difficulties in adulthood, including a higher risk of addiction

When he was a child, maybe 7 or 8 years old, Fred Nelson remembers what would happen when his mother and her boyfriend drank. After a few beers they would start arguing, then the boyfriend would hit her.

"I knew then that there was a problem," said Nelson, now 54. "I knew that something wasn't right about all of that."

Children are adaptable and often don't know anything but their own "normal." But Nelson's youthful intuition was remarkably accurate.

Alcohol or other substance abuse by a parent is considered an adverse childhood experience, or ACE. In 1998, a group of psychologists coined the term in one of the largest investigations of the effects of childhood abuse and neglect on later-life health and well-being. That study - and others that followed - revealed a relationship between ACEs and negative well-being throughout life.

Nelson's mother was an alcoholic. Now, so is he.

John Bachman is a psychologist who specializes in addictive behaviors and disorders, and the generational

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune2 min read
Trent Frazier, Ayo Dosunmu Help Illinois Overcome Inspired Effort By Northwestern For 75-71 Win
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - No. 24 Illinois kept its momentum rolling. Barely The Illini won their fourth straight game - the longest current winning streak in the Big Ten - by holding off hungry rival Northwestern, 75-71, on Saturday at State Farm Center. Wit
Chicago Tribune3 min read
Motormouth: At First Sign Of Steering Wheel Wobble, Fix The Damper
Q: I purchased a used 2019 Ford pickup with 11,000 miles on it. As I was driving on I-80 at 70 mph, suddenly the front end started to vibrate. I was able to pull over. The next day while driving 55 mph on a 2-lane highway, the truck started to vibrat
Chicago Tribune10 min read
How Bitter Cold Winter Blasts And A Warming Planet Will Chew Up The Lake Michigan Shoreline
CHICAGO - On a tucked-away South Shore beach, there once were cool shallows to swim and buried shells to dig up. For those living feet away, there was the sound of the water, the constant, gentle splash on sand. Then the lake began to rise. With each