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Children With Alcoholic Parents Are at Greater Risks Than Other Children

Posted in Alcoholism

Nearly 7.5 million children under the age of 18 are living with at least one parent who is an alcoholic, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The numbers are so great that there is a special week in February to recognize those children impacted by alcoholism, Children of Alcoholics Week. This is the topic of a recent news article addressing the statistics and the solution.

This is why it is so important to recognize the risks associated with alcohol addictions. These children are more likely to suffer from neglect or abuse from their parent and can also run the risk of mental health problems and developing disorders like anxiety, depression or other cognitive and verbal skill problems.

The report by the SAMHSA uses a National Survey on Drug Use and Health to obtain the data and is done every year on about 67,500 people from 12 years old and older. In an effort to be as specific as possible, the organization uses the clinical definition of alcohol use disorder as stated in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The term covers both dependence and alcohol abuse.

Using this specification, the report is able to determine that of the 7.1 million children living with an alcoholic, 6.1 million of them live with two parents of which one or both suffer from alcoholism. The other 1.4 million children are in a single-parent home with that parent suffering from some level of alcohol abuse in the past year. A whopping 1.1 million of those children are in the custody of their mothers and less than 1 percent is living with their father.

The SAMHSA is focused on finding programs that promote wellness for those struggling with alcohol disorders and their children, says Pamela S. Hyde, an SAMHSA administrator. She says because these children tend to have a higher risk of developing their own alcohol problems the SAMHSA is also developing programs to combat underage drinking, too.