Alcoholism in Family Systems - Familiality


Children of alcoholics (COAs) are more susceptible to alcoholism and other drug abuse than children of non-alcoholics. Children of alcoholics are four times more likely than non-COAs to develop alcoholism. Both genetic and environmental factors influence the development of alcoholism in COAS.

COAs perceptions of their parents drinking habits influence their own future drinking patterns and are developed at an early age. Alcohol related expectancies are correlated with parental alcoholism and alcohol abuse among their offspring. Problem solving discussions in families with an alcoholic parent contained more negative family interactions than in families with non-alcoholics parents. Several factors related to parental alcoholism influence COA substance abuse including stress, negative affect and decreased parental monitoring. Impaired parental monitoring and negative affect correlate with COAs associating with peers that support drug use.

After drinking alcohol, sons of alcoholics experience more of the physiological changes associated with pleasurable effects compared with sons of non-alcoholics, although only immediately after drinking.

Compared with non-alcoholic families, alcoholic families demonstrate poorer problem-solving abilities, both among the parents and within the family as a whole. These communication problems many contribute to the escalation of conflicts in alcoholic families. COAs are more likely than non-COAs to be aggressive, impulsive, and engage in disruptive and sensation seeking behaviors. Alcohol addiction is a complex disease that results from a variety of genetic, social, and environmental influences. Alcoholism affected approximately 4.65 percent of the U.S. population in 2001-2002, producing severe economic, social, and medical ramifications (Grant 2004). Researchers estimate that between 50 and 60 percent of alcoholism risk is determined by genetics (Goldman and Bergen 1998; McGue 1999).This strong genetic component has sparked numerous linkage and association studies investigating the roles of chromosomal regions and genetic variants in determining alcoholism susceptibility.

Read more about this topic:  Alcoholism In Family Systems