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The Effects of Parental Alcoholism on Children Until rather recently the impact of alcoholism was measured by its effect on the alcoholic by days lost from work and highway fatalities New research however has tended to concentrate on the impact of alcoholism on the family especially the children of alcoholics Numerous studies have reported on the familial transmission of alcoholism It has been shown that alcoholics have more biological relatives with an alcohol problem than do nonalcoholic Furthermore these people have a higher probability for developing alcoholism earlier in their lives and experiencing more severe effects of alcoholism Jones-Saumty p783 There are in the vicinity of twenty million children under eighteen years of age whom are growing up in households where one or both parents are alcoholic in the United States alone These children are the unwilling victims of a disease which generally is the center of their childhood existence and therefore shapes their personality and behavior as adults Because of the familial nature of alcoholism children have been identified to be of high risk for developing this illness Merikangas p199 Unless something is done to break the patterns initiated during childhood a significant percentage between 50-60 of those who dont become alcoholics themselves will marry an alcoholic upon reaching maturity thereby continuing the cycle of abuse and depression Studies of the development of drinking behavior recognize the formation of socially appropriate rules about the use of alcohol and the role of the parent behaviors and attitudes in determining drinking patterns Wilks Callan p326 In addition Clustering of depression alcoholism and antisocial personality within families has been frequently observed Merikangas p199 Alcoholism is a disease of denial that is those suffering from it often refuse to admit they are affected by it Alcoholics with a long history of family alcoholism have more sever symptoms and more social problems versus those families without a history of family alcoholism Parents in
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