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Effects of Alcoholism on Children's Mental Health

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that 50 percent of adults in the United States drink at least 12 alcoholic drinks a year. When a person becomes dependent on alcohol, meaning she relies on the alcohol to function, she is an alcoholic. In the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the organization points out that 3.2 percent of people who had started using alcohol two years before became dependent on it.

When a person is an alcoholic, the MayoClinic.com explains that she cannot limit the amount of alcohol that she consumes. Alcoholics must have a drink at certain times, and can become irritable when it becomes closer to their drinking time. They can develop a tolerance to alcohol, which leads to a higher consumption of alcohol. The high consumption of alcohol can cause blackouts, in which alcoholics have periods of time that they do not remember. Other signs of alcoholism include drinking alone or in secret, keeping alcohol in unlikely areas and having problems due to alcohol, such as legal problems.

Alcohol can cause multiple problems for the person, such as cirrhosis, high blood pressure and gastritis. But a parent's alcoholism can also affect her child's mental health. A new study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research looked at the risk of psychiatric disorders in children of alcoholic parents. HealthDay News reports that the study used data from nearly 17,400 women and more than 23,000 men; the information from these subjects were from the U.S. National Epidemiology Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The researchers found a stronger connection of psychiatric disorders with mothers and daughter.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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