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7.5 Million Children in U.S. Live With Alcoholic Parent

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A new government report finds 7.5 million children in the United States—10.5 percent—live with a parent who has experienced an alcohol use disorder in the past year.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 6.1 million of these children live with two parents, one or both of whom have experienced an alcohol use disorder in the past year.

The other 1.4 million children live in a single-parent home, with a parent who has had an alcohol use disorder in the same time period, Reuters reports. Of these children, 1.1 million lived in households headed by a female.

The report was released in conjunction with Children of Alcoholics Week, February 12-18, 2012.

Children who live with a parent with an alcohol use disorder are at a greater risk for depression, anxiety disorders, problems with cognitive and verbal skills, and parental abuse or neglect, according to SAMHSA. They are also four times more likely than other children to develop alcohol problems themselves, the agency notes.

“The enormity of this public health problem goes well beyond these tragic numbers as studies have shown that the children of parents with untreated alcohol disorders are at far greater risk for developing alcohol and other problems later in their lives,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release.

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