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Seventy six million Americans, about 43% of the U.S. adult population, have been exposed to alcoholism in the family.
Almost one in five adult Americans (18%) lived with an alcoholic while growing up.
Roughly one in eight American adult drinkers is alcoholic or experiences problems due to the use of alcohol. The cost to society is estimated at in excess of $166 billion each year.
There are an estimated 26.8 million COAs in the United States. Preliminary research suggests that over 11 million are under the age of 18.
Children of alcoholics are four times more likely than non-COAs to develop alcoholism.
Genetic factors play a major role in the development of alcoholism. There is an expanding base of literature which strongly supports a heritable basis for alcoholism and a range of family influences that may direct the development of children of alcoholics.
Family interaction patterns also may influence the COA's risk for alcohol abuse. It has been found that families with an alcoholic parent displayed more negative family interaction during problem-solving discussions than in non-alcoholic families.
Almost one-third of any sample of alcoholics has at least one parent who also was or is an alcoholic.
Children of alcoholics are more likely than non-COAs to marry into families in which alcoholism is prevalent.
Parental alcoholism influences adolescent substance use through several different pathways including stress, negative affect and decreased parental monitoring. Negative affect and impaired parental monitoring are associated with adolescent's joining in a peer network that supports drug use behavior.
Source: SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Information
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