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Children of Alcoholics / Substance Abusers

About 1 in 4 children in the United States grow up in homes where family members abuse alcohol or other drugs.  Read More ›

About 1 in 4 children in the United States grow up in homes where family members abuse alcohol or other drugs. Although no family struggling with addiction is the same, they share some common characteristics, such as higher levels of conflict, and lower levels of family cohesion. Impaired problem-solving ability and hostile communication are observed both in addicted families and in families struggling with other problems.

Children who grow up with parents or other family members who abuse alcohol or other drugs may be at risk for a range of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems. Genetics may also play a role in these problems. However, some children function well and do not develop serious problems. Children with addicted parents are less likely to become addicts as adults when their parents consistently set and follow through on plans and maintain such rituals as holidays and regular mealtimes. Psychoeducational groups, support groups such as Alateen, and supportive adults (grandparents, mentors, teachers, counselors), may benefit children from addicted families.

Sources: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and National Association for Children of Alcoholics.

 

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