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IJMDC. 2023; 7(6): 930-936

Psychological, behavioral, and developmental impact on children of alcoholics

Hebah Sadiq AlSaad, Amal Sadiq AlSaad, Zahra Zuhair Al Khalifah, Lubna Yousef Almogarry, Essra Zakarya Alsaihaty.


Alcoholism, medically referred to as alcohol use disorder, is a condition associated with harmful consumption of alcohol. Misuse of alcohol implies danger and harm, not only to oneself, but also rather extends to affect one’s children. The household characteristics, parenting style, and the environment that parents with alcohol dependence disorder create for their children have a substantial effect on their psychological, behavioral, and developmental growth. The psychological impact on children of alcoholics (COAs) can be studied through personality traits of neuroticism, impulsivity, and sociability, also through the externalizing and internalizing behaviors. COAs are also at risk of developing psychological disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and eating disorders. The development of these children is affected both biologically and psychologically, beginning at early pre-natal life to post-natal mortality. Additionally, there is a high risk of developing fetal alcohol syndrome, impaired physical development, and low intelligence quotient scores. Regarding the behavioral domain, COAs were found to be hyperactive and inattentive during school-age, tend to consume alcohol early in teenage years, and are more likely to develop poor coping mechanisms and impaired emotional venting. In addition, COAs were found to have a higher risk of developing personality problems and abusing substances, specifically alcohol. It is evident that adult COAs are at a greater risk of developing depression, and attempting suicide. Adult COAs also have a higher chance of failed relationships and tougher time finding jobs as compared to children of non-alcoholics. Moreover, it was noted that they have emotional expression difficulties, Intimacy issues, and inability to trust others or even themselves. As far as addressing COAs, identifying their need of help is the most crucial step. The primary approach to treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy.

Key words: Psychological, behavioral, developmental, children, alcoholics

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