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Mother-Daughter Link in Alcoholism

by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough

We are definitely a product of heredity and the environment. This has been shown with study after study. Now a report from Yale University finds that it affects addictive behaviors like alcoholism.

According to their study, children of an alcoholic parent run the risk of developing a psychiatric illness later in life depending, in part, on their gender and whether it was their mother or father who was alcohol-dependent. The link appears to be strongest between mothers and daughters.

It was already known that the adult children of alcoholic parents are at increased risk for psychiatric illnesses. The mother-daughter connection was most influential in increasing a daughter’s risk for problems like bipolar disorder, nicotine dependence, and alcohol abuse.

While not as strong, there was also increased risk of psychiatric illnesses among the adult children of alcoholic parents in father-son, father-daughter, and mother-son pairings.

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