Posts tagged with ‘children’
Children are affected by addiction in many ways, either directly (when a child’s mother abuses drugs or alcohol when pregnant, which can result in physical and cognitive defects) or indirectly (when a family members suffers from addiction).
It is widely known that people with a history of drug or alcohol abuse have increased chances of attempting suicide. However, researchers and public health officials know relatively little about how the drug and alcohol problems of a parent impact the adult suicide risks of his or her children. In a study published in May 2014 in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, researchers from two U.S. institutions explored the connection between parental alcohol abuse and the odds that an adult child will make a suicide attempt. These researchers also looked at the potential combined impact of parental alcohol abuse and parental divorce.
Alcohol poisoning is a serious and life-threatening condition that results from consuming too much ethanol, the type of alcohol found in drinks and other household products. The danger of alcohol poisoning probably calls to mind young people doing too many shots for their 21st birthdays, but the truth is that it can happen to anyone at any age, including children. Because they are smaller than adults, children can become seriously ill with much smaller quantities of alcohol. Know how to keep alcohol out of children’s hands, understand the signs of alcohol poisoning and be prepared to get help.
Inhalants are a diverse range of household, industrial and medicinal chemicals that sometimes get adapted as drugs of abuse. Young people have especially high chances of beginning inhalant use, at least partly because they have less access to legal intoxicants than adults.
Preventing teen suicide is a murky science. Though there are many mental disorders associated with suicidal ideation, often a suicide attempt is the first indication that a mental disorder is in play.
Individuals with a family history of alcoholism are known to be genetically predisposed to the disorder themselves, but researchers at University of Gothenburg, Sweden have identified a possible variable that can increase their susceptibility to drinking. When stressed, children of alcoholic parents may be inclined to consume more alcohol as a way to help them cope with their emotions. Full Story
Peer pressure has long been considered a major component of alcohol use among underage drinkers. The need to be accepted by friends often encourages early initiation, even among kids who may not otherwise be interested in using alcohol. Early initiation is a serious problem, given that individuals who begin using alcohol at a young age are exposed longer to the risks that come with alcohol use, such as certain cancers and liver disease.
Positive Peer Pressure
A new study suggests attitudes among students in England may be pushing peer pressure in another direction. In a survey conducted by the NHS and published in late July, there is evidence that students are not impressed when their peers use alcohol, and in fact, may look down upon the behavior.
The survey’s results also indicate that fewer school-aged kids are using alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.
The NHS Information Centre report details information from a 2010 survey conducted among young people in England, asking them to answer questions about smoking, drinking and drug use. The results showed a decline in three major areas.
Among 11- to 15-year-olds, there was a decline from 46 percent to 32 percent of students who believed it was okay for a peer to drink alcohol once per week between 2003 and 2010. In addition, 11 percent of students surveyed in 2010 believed it was okay to get drunk once per week, compared with 20 percent in 2003.
Why Do Teens Drink?
In the 2010 survey, there were 7,300 participants who were surveyed between September and December of 2010. In the most recent survey, a new set of questions was introduced that assessed attitudes about the drinking behaviors of peers. Students were given multiple choice questions.
The most popular reasons provided for why peers drank were "to look cool in front of friends" (76 percent); "to be more sociable with friends" (65 percent); "peer pressure from friends" (62 percent); and "for the buzz" (60 percent).
The researchers noted a significant difference in responses between students who drank and those who did not. For those who drank alcohol within a week before the survey, their most popular reasons offered for why peers drank were "for the rush or buzz" and "to be more sociable." Those who did not drink were more likely to choose "to look cool in front of friends" or "pressure from their friends."
The number of students who had tried alcohol had declined significantly, from 51 percent in 2009 to 45 percent in 2010. This reflects a continuation of a steady decrease. In 2003, 61 percent of school-aged kids had tried alcohol.
As you watch your children grow, you begin to notice some strange behaviors. The teachers are concerned that your daughter is more aggressive than the other kids in her class. Your son has no friends and is bringing home Cs and Ds on his report card.
Many people, well-meaning ones at that, are often unsure what to do when they suspect a child is suffering neglect or worse at the hands of alcoholic and/or drug-abusing parents. The fact is that if you suspect something is amiss – backed by visible evidence such as bruises, cuts, malnutrition, or psychological and emotional distress – there likely is something drastically wrong. The question then becomes, when should you step in and what should you do?
We’ll look at when intervention should occur and what steps to take after we briefly sketch out the problem.
Three Million Cases and Counting
Every year U.S. child welfare agencies are bombarded with more than three million allegations of child abuse and neglect. And every year these agencies collect enough hard data – evidence – to support or substantiate more than one million instances. Put another way, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 60 percent of American adults say they endured abuse and other difficult family situations as children. These experiences are also called adverse childhood experiences.
This is hardly minor. And these are just the reported cases. Just think of the untold numbers of children who are being neglected and abused by alcoholic and drug-abusing parents whose cases go unreported. Think of the tragedy awaiting those children. What kind of a future do they face under such circumstances?
Childhood Abuse Can Result in Extreme Personalities
New brain imaging studies show that child abuse (physical, emotional and sexual) can cause permanent damage to the neural structure and function of the developing brain. This permanent damage may reduce the size of parts of the brain, impact the way a child’s brain copes with daily stress, and result in enduring behavioral health problems.
Experts now say that childhood abuse can manifest itself in a variety of ways – and it can occur at any age. Internally it may appear as anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress or suicidal thoughts. Children can also express it outwardly as substance abuse, delinquency, hyperactivity or aggression.
Childhood abuse is strongly associated with borderline personality disorder. Children who have been abused and who develop borderline personality disorder see things in black and white. They may jump from admiration to hate, first putting someone on a pedestal and then vilifying them – from a perceived betrayal or slight. They are prone to volcanic outbursts and transient psychotic or paranoid episodes.
The outlook for abused children who develop borderline personality disorder is that they go through intense and unstable relationships. Feeling empty and unsure of their identity, they often seek escape and refuge in substance abuse. They also often experience self-destructive and suicidal impulses.
Beyond borderline personality disorder, stressful or traumatic experiences in children can lead to dissociative episodes, delusions, hallucinations, impaired attention, anger outbursts, psychosis, and paranoia.
The bottom line here is that much more needs to be done to protect children by preventing childhood abuse and neglect before it does irrevocable harm. Families, health care providers, and the community can help children to develop resilience when dealing with trauma. Research experts say that new approaches to therapy may also be indicated.
Repeated Trauma Exacts a Toll
According to the information provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from a study by Barth et al. (2008), young children exposed to five or more adversities (including child maltreatment, caregiver mental illness, poverty, single parent, low maternal education) in their first three years of childhood face a 76 percent likelihood of having one or more delays in their emotional, language, or cognitive development.
The number of children with developmental delays increases with the rising number of risk factors. When facing 1-2 risk factors, less than 10 percent of children have developmental delays. Three risk factors result in developmental delays in about 20 percent of children. Forty percent of children facing four risk factors have developmental delays. With five risk factors, it’s 76 percent. With six risk factors, about 90 percent of children face developmental delays and at seven risk factors, about 100 percent of children face developmental delays.
In other words, the earlier and more often childhood abuse and neglect occurs, the more serious and long-lasting the damage is likely to be.
Types of Childhood Abuse
Children can suffer more than one type of maltreatment or abuse. Statistics from a 2007 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show that, in 2005, children experienced maltreatment in the following percentages:
Media Detective is an activity-based program used to help prevent alcohol and tobacco use among children, helping them understand the intentions of marketers and advertising. A new study suggests that teaching children as young as eight or nine to be more skeptical of marketing tactics can help prevent substance abuse.
Delinquent Behaviors in Late Childhood Can Lead to Crime and Alcohol Use Disorders in Young Adulthood
New research suggests that early intervention and treatment can help reduce crime, alcohol-use disorder, and other risky behaviors among young adults with delinquency problems.