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Alcohol abuse and mental health disorders in children
Alcohol is categorized as drug consisting of chemicals that can be served over the counter. Moderate and responsible alcohol intake wouldn’t pose any risk subjected to the geographic and climatic conditions. Deliberate, non-medical use of alcohol can be defined as substance abuse that would cause physical and mental health issues in children and adolescents. Alcohol abuse affects the cognitive and behavioral abilities of the children drastically. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy affects the fetus health, which includes miscarriage, mortality, breathing problems, stunted growth, physical deformity, intellectual disability, and behavioral and mental health difficulties.
Exposure to alcoholism causes impaired decision making, Low problem solving skills, memory loss, under performance in academics, Low self-esteem and confidence levels, emotion loss, despair, depression and suicidal tendency etc.
Alcoholism promotes aggressiveness & violence, depression and exclusiveness, Isolation and loss of sensitivity and emotions in children.
Mental Health challenges
Mental health challenges in children due to exposure to alcohol include; Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Unable to maintain relationships, Tendency to develop substance use disorders, Low self-esteem, depression, PTSD including sleep disorders, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression These mental health disorders are generally categorized as 2 types: 1. Behavioral problems that are directed outward – these include ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. Outward behavioral disorders are more common in boys. 2. Behavioral problems that are directed inward – these include anxiety and depression. Inward behavioral disorders are more common in girls.
As per several studies, 49% of mental disorders in children are due to parent’s lack of coherence and conduct. Children draw inspiration from the family, friends and peer group. Parents should set example to the children as ideal parents and should get rid of the alcoholic habit, if they are used to it. If children or adolescent are accustomed to alcoholism, they must be handled with care. Love and affection, thorough parental guidance, professional help from a trained psychiatrist, regular and close monitoring of the child behavior etc can curb alcoholism in children. Strategic planning including medical help, psychotherapy and physical activity and engaging the child thoroughly in conversation and activity go a long way in addressing the issue Schools, peer group and media play a great role in combating alcoholism in children. There must be special curriculum for creating awareness on the ill effects of alcohol in children.
Possible topics for discussion
Not limited to the themes mentioned below, authors are free to explore a wide range topics related to children, alcoholism and mental health with respect to age, gender, socioeconomic status and parental education. Topics including cognitive and behavioral changes, psychological challenges and remedies to fight alcoholism in children, aggressiveness and violence, PTSD in the wake of alcohol abuse and trauma, role of family, schools, media and peer groups in fighting mental ill health in the fight against child alcoholism can be considered.