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Anxiety in Children with Alcoholic Parents

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No one knows exactly why people behave the way that they do. In regards to alcohol abuse, research has found that alcoholism may run in families. Being an alcoholic is one thing, but letting the effects of alcoholism affect the lives of others is another. Researchers have found that often time’s children with alcoholic parents are negatively affected on a mental, physical, and emotional level. There are numerous different disorders that affect children and are related to their parents’ alcohol intake. The research done in this study focuses on the cause and effect relationship alcoholic parents have on their children. Past research reveals that children with alcoholic parents are more likely to struggle with anxiety disorders, panic disorder, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

This subject is a very interesting topic. Today, society has high fines and strict penalties for D.U.I. offenders. However, the law does not serve America’s youth much justice when it comes to monitoring the alcohol intake of primary caregivers. Many times alcohol indirectly affects children, and therefore the detrimental effects go unnoticed. It is often thought, that only the individual with the alcohol problem suffers. In reality, everyone in an alcoholic’s life may suffer, including the offspring. It is important to understand the effects of alcoholism and to educate those coping with the disease on how to change their lifestyle. No child deserves to suffer unjustly and alcoholism is, unfortunately, often times a silent predator.

In a past study, research has aimed to investigate the combined effects of parent alcoholism and offspring attention deficit hyperacidity disorder (ADHD) on offspring substance use. The researchers propose an explanation for the effects of parent alcoholism on family stress in children with ADHD. They propose that children with ADHD may lack adaptive coping strategies, which result to high levels of perceived stress and may be more likely to experience family conflict and related stress. (Fischer, 2000) .

Another study concluded that exposure to familial alcoholism has been associated with many behavioral and emotional difficulties among offspring. However, this study focused on environmental risks that often coexist with familial alcoholism and can also influence the development of offspring. Many times, people overlook these underlying aspects that aid in shaping ones life. This study examined other factors (besides familial alcoholism) that may come into play such as childhood exposure to family violence and childhood exposure to alcoholism during adolescence. Three domains of cognitive functioning were examined in a community sample of 109 families. A) lifetime levels of substance use. B) conduct disorder behaviors C) self-esteem. Results indicated that childhood exposure to alcoholism was associated with psychosocial functioning of offspring. (Ritter, 2002).

In one study, researchers formed two groups. A) Children with an alcoholic parent and B) Children with a Non- alcoholic parent. They found that there was a clear difference between the two. They differed in the child’s self image, emotionality, educational goals, family relationships, ideas about sex, anxiety, aggression and depression just to name a few. (Tomori, 1994)

This subject is multi-faceted and very intriguing. It is a cause that is prominent in the lives of millions of children across the United States. Unfortunately, the voices of those who live with familial alcoholism often go unheard, and it is very important to inform people of just how prominent alcohol abuse is in the lives of not only the alcoholic, but everyone around them including their offspring. It is predicted that children with alcoholic parents are more likely to suffer from psychological disorders during the span of a lifetime than children with non- alcoholic parents.


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