Clinical and Research News
Alcohol-Abusing Parents Preside Over Family Turmoil
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 11 page 33-33

In 2002 there were almost 5 million adults who abused or were dependent on alcohol and lived with at least one child, according to statistics from a large household survey. Now new data show that parents with alcohol problems were much more likely to report dysfunction within the family.

The findings come from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which is sponsored by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prior to 2002, the household survey was called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

"Children living in homes with alcohol-dependent or alcohol-abusing parents are at high risk of also becoming alcohol and drug abusers, with the potential of perpetuating the disease when they have their own children," said SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie in a press release discussing the survey results.

The 2002 NSDUH data are based on information gathered from face-to-face interviews with more than 68,000 people aged 12 and older.

Alcohol-dependent or alcohol-abusing adults with children living at home were more likely to have used illicit drugs than parents who were not dependent on or abusing alcohol, according to the study.

Moreover, parents who abused or were dependent on alcohol reported that people in the household often insult or yell at each other (40.4 percent), compared with their counterparts without alcohol problems (27.3 percent). Almost 12 percent of the parents with an alcohol problem said they struck or threatened to strike a spouse or partner, whereas 4.6 percent of parents without alcohol problems acknowledged doing so.

Results from the 2002 NSDUH results are posted online at<www.DrugAbuseStatistics.samhsa.gov.>

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