As the result of being raised in a home where one or both parents were addicted, children of alcoholics generally have certain common characteristics that continue to affect them as adults. Members of a dysfunctional family tend to build up defenses to deal with the problems of the addicted family member. Common problems include lack of communication, mistrust, and low self-esteem. Adult children of alcoholics often become isolated, are afraid of authority figures, have difficulty distinguishing between normal and abnormal behavior, and judge themselves harshly. This often leads to enduring feelings of guilt and problems with intimate relationships. In many cases, adult children of alcoholics develop an over-developed sense of responsibility, and respond poorly to criticism. They may feel different from other people, fear failure but tend to sabotage success, and fall in love with people they can pity and rescue. Fortunately, there are a number of support groups designed to help adult children of alcoholics identify their problems, and start resolving them. For more information, consult a local health care professional.