Parents’ Alcohol Abuse May Increase Their Children’s Risk of Addiction

By Staff Writer

Alcoholic adults who fail to seek substance abuse treatment to eliminate their habit may be putting their future generations at greater risk of fallowing in their footsteps toward addiction. Researchers from Harvard Medical School recently found that children whose parents struggle with alcohol addiction have altered mental activity that may predispose them to drinking habits.

Prior studies have shown that children whose parents are dependent on drugs and alcohol are more likely develop substance abuse habits due primarily to psychological factors. However, the present study is the first to show a direct biological link that increases the risk of addiction between generations.

For the study, researchers administered a round of cognitive function tests to adolescents who had a family history of drinking but no personal record of substance abuse. Brain scans of these children showed that they had unusually high levels of frontal lobe activity, which indicates decreased neuronal efficiency.

Researchers said that the findings suggest that the young people studied may have a harder time controlling impulsive behavior in real-world situations, which may increase their risk of substance abuse.