When Children are Exposed to Familial Alcoholism

substance use and abuse

A study published by the American Journal of Public Health revealed that 28% of children have been exposed to the problems associated with alcoholism even before the age of 18, because of the behavior and drinking habits of immediate family and close friends within that social circle. This statistic may not come as a complete shock, however, when we consider that the occurrence of alcohol substance use and abuse in the country’s adult population has long been high. If not surprising, it is certainly still alarming to note that almost one-third of children are exposed to familial alcoholism.

The Prevalence of Alcoholism

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in the United States reported that 14 million individuals aged 18 and above were dependent on alcohol. The institute also reported that 18.2% of adults in the country were found to have experienced some sort of alcohol substance use and abuse at some point in their lives. Dependency upon and addiction to alcohol is characterized by a number of things, such as withdrawal symptoms and both psychological and physical issues.

The NIAAA also discovered that 43% of American children under 18 lived in households where one or more adults had experienced alcohol-related substance use and abuse at least one point in their lives, and determined that about 1 in 4 children are exposed to alcohol substance abuse before the age of 18.

Risks of Exposure to Familial Alcoholism

Research revealed that families with an alcoholic member are frequently living in unstable and disorganized environments. Children exposed to alcoholic parents or other family members are often subject to neglect or abuse, and end up dealing with social isolation and economic difficulty. Moreover, these children are susceptible to medical and psychopathological problems and are themselves at risk for developing a pattern of alcohol abuse.

These findings should be a wake-up call to everyone. Parents in the United States and the rest of the world should be more aware about alcohol abuse, especially the effects it has on our children. The younger population shouldn’t be forced to face such negative and harmful issues entirely beyond their creation or control.

substance use and abuseAs the famous song goes, children are our future and we need to teach them well. Exposing them to alcoholism is certainly not the way to provide the best example set by good role models. We must acknowledge the serious impact of alcohol and recognize the need to face its economic, health and social consequences.



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