Drawing on research from around the world, the review highlights ways of reducing children’s exposure to risk and increasing the protective factors that promote the child’s resilience.
“The children of people with drug or alcohol problems usually suffer very badly,” said Professor Richard Velleman from the Mental Health R&D Unit (MHRDU), a collaboration between the University of Bath and the Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.
“Conservative estimates suggest as many as 26 million people in the UK are affected by problematic alcohol and drug misuse in their immediate family.
“As a result, these family members are more likely to experience high levels of violence, witness or experience abuse, and suffer other disruptions to family life.
“Children whose parents misuse drugs or alcohol often demonstrate the negative effects of this through emotional difficulties, behavioural problems and social isolation.
“This can lead to depression and anxiety, or involve early drug or alcohol misuse and antisocial behaviour.
“Whilst it is easy to become pessimistic about the future of children brought up in these kinds on environments, we find in practice that some children are resilient; they develop no significant problems related to their parents’ substance misuse.
”We have looked through the research literature on this subject and drawn on our own research with more than 1,000 people whose families have been affected by substance misuse to find out why this might be, and how we can encourage similar results elsewhere.”
The findings highlight the risk factors – such as domestic violence, both parents being substance misusers, exposure to criminal activity and witnessing someone injecting drugs - that place family members at greater risk of negative outcomes.
It also shows the factors and processes – such as improving parenting techniques, helping the child learn to disengage from negative situations and support from school, family and other networks - that make children more resilient to the negative impacts of parental drug or alcohol misuse.
“Resilience is really a process rather than a static trait and it is possible, especially for young people, to develop greater resilience to negative situations,” said Lorna Templeton, deputy manager and senior researcher at the MHRDU, who also worked on the review.
“In practice this means working with family members who can help look after the children, teaching the child how to avoid problems, helping them learn how to disengage from negative, and embrace the positive aspects of their life, and looking for other stabilising influences.
“Resilience is self-perpetuating, but a central issue in its success is giving children the feeling that they had choices and were in control of their lives.”
Government estimates suggest that almost four million people aged 16-65 in the UK are dependent on alcohol or drugs and a further nine million people take drugs or drink alcohol at risky levels that affect their family’s wellbeing.
Assuming that every one of these people will negatively affect at least two family members, a conservative estimate of 26 million people in the UK are affected by problematic alcohol and drug misuse in their immediate family.
“There is growing recognition of the importance of involving the family in drug and alcohol treatments programmes,” said Professor Velleman.
“However, this should not just be seen in the context of treating the individual with the problem, but also in terms of reducing the impact on the wider family.
“Family members are often overlooked, and it is important that they receive support in their own right; it’s not just about changing the behaviour of the misuser.”
Andrew McLaughlin | alfa
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy