Dealing With the Death of a Parent to Addiction

Children living with parents who have a drug or alcohol addiction are generally affected in many ways. These children tend to be withdrawn and, in some cases, they are often neglected at home. The kids frequently struggle to cope in school and, because of the shame and embarrassment of their home situation, will usually keep themselves to themselves.

Many of these youngsters will have few friends and can often become the target of bullies. Statistics have also shown that the children of addicts often go on to become addicts themselves in later life. Nonetheless, how does parental death from drugs or alcohol affect a child?

Tragic Consequences

Earlier this week, the world heard the news that Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, had died, six months after being found unresponsive in a bathtub in her home. Both Whitney and Bobby struggled with drug and alcohol problems during their marriage, and the young Bobbi Kristina was said to have been exposed to their drug taking and partying ways from a young age.

Tragically, Bobbi Kristina’s death mirrored that of her mother’s death almost three years earlier. Whitney was also found unresponsive in a hotel bathtub. However, the coroner’s report into the cause of Whitney’s death cited drowning but with heart disease and cocaine use as attributing factors.

Bobbi Kristina was profoundly affected by the death of her mother, sadly suffering the same fate just three years later.

Similar Circumstances

Bobbi Kristina is not the first child to lose a famous mother to drug abuse. Peaches Geldof lost her mother Paula Yates to an accidental overdose when she was just eleven years old. Undoubtedly affected by the death of her mother, Peaches suffered from drug addiction and died from a heroin overdose at the young age of twenty-five. In circumstances chillingly similar to that of her mother, Peaches young son Phaedra was with her at the time of her death. Paula’s youngest daughter Tiger Lily was in the house with her when she died.

Tragedy of Addiction

Many kids of addicted parents will choose to stay away from drugs or alcohol because they have seen the effect these substances have had on their parents and their own life growing up. Nevertheless, many others will follow their parents down the same path and will turn to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism in the same way they saw their parents do.

Losing a parent is difficult enough, but losing a parent to addiction is heartbreaking. There is a certain stigma attached to addiction and many children are reluctant to tell others the cause of their parent’s death. This means they are dealing with the grief of losing their parent and trying to hide the circumstances of that parent’s death as well.


It is important for children of addicted parents to get support and guidance, especially when dealing with a parent’s death. Talking about their situation can be immensely helpful when it comes to moving on. It is vital that these children are able to talk about their parent and how they died rather than spending the rest of their lives trying to cover it up.

Many of these youngsters will also feel that they are in some way to blame for their parent’s tragic passing. They will believe that it was their fault that their parent struggled with addiction in the first place; they must be able to get past these feelings with the help of an experienced counsellor.

At Addiction Helper, we have a team of dedicated therapists, counsellors, and advisors ready to provide advice, family addiction support and a listening ear to those who need it. Call today for more information.

Source: The Daily Telegraph 

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