Expert Commentary

More than 7 million children live with a parent with alcohol problems

2012 report from the U.S. government's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality spotlighting data relating to children of alcoholics in the United States.

Whiskey bottle at home

Alcohol-related disorders in the United States cut across gender, race and other demographic lines, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In the United States, 17.6 million people (about one in every 12 adults) abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent.

Every year the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, publishes the “National Survey on Drug Use and Health” (formerly known as the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse). The 2012 report provides national and state-level data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs and mental health in the United States.

Some of the 2012 report’s findings, summarized in “More than 7 Million Children Live with a Parent with Alcohol Problems,” include:

  • Overall, 7.5 million (approximately 10% of all U.S. children) reside in families where one or both parents had an alcohol use disorder during the past year.
  • Most (6.1 million) live in two-parent households, and the remainder of children (1.4 million) live in single-parent households (80% with a mother and 20% with a father.)
  • These children are at greater risk of suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, and problems with cognitive and verbal skills.
  • Children of alcoholics are also more likely to be victims of parental abuse or neglect; such children are four times more likely than other children to develop alcohol problems themselves.

For more state-specific information on alcoholism and substance abuse issues, see the data snapshots provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Tags: youth, children, medicine, drugs, parenting, mental health

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