Parental substance abuse places children at high risk for medical and mental health problems

Parental substance abuse places children at high risk for medical and mental health problems

A newborn’s withdrawal symptom from parental substance abuse – violent shaking. This video clip is kept at actual speed from a West Virginia hospital.

HELPLESS AND HOOKED, a Reuters investigation, December 2015 in America

  • Parental substance abuse frequently results in neglect, causing the child to be injured because of inadequate supervision or the failure to adequately child-proof the house.
  • Children of substance abusers are more likely than others to develop anxiety and depressive disorders. Recent studies also reveal that they have a higher chance of suffering from eating disorders.
  • Children of substance abusers can more easily develop stress-related health problems like gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, migraines, or asthma, causing them to miss school.
  • The relationship between antisocial personality disorder (ASP) and parental alcoholism is well-established, as is the strong association between ASP and adult alcoholism and other drug dependence.
  • Children of substance abusers are 3-4 times more likely than others to become addicted to alcohol or other drugs themselves. They have a higher risk of engaging in pathological gambling as well.

In fact, many children of substance abusers are born with physical and mental health problems. Significant substance intake by the mother during pregnancy has been linked to a variety of birth defects, including mental retardation and other organic mental dysfunctions.

In the last 10 years, more than 130,000 children born in the United States are suffered with a form of newborn drug dependency called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. This syndrome causes the baby to tremble and wail inconsolably, clenching his muscles and sometimes gasping for breath as he goes through withdrawal. Learn about the situation of Hong Kong here.

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