Gender of Alcoholic Parents and Their Children Affect Prevalence of Psychiatric Illness
Both the gender of an alcoholic parent and the gender of their children can affect the likelihood of those children developing certain types of psychiatric illness, according to a study by Marc Potenza and colleagues at Yale University School of Medicine, part of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation supported by the Common Fund's Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs). While having an alcoholic parent of either gender increases a child's overall risk of developing a psychiatric illness, the risk of certain illnesses was affected by the gender of parent and child. For example, the odds of developing mania were significantly higher when the alcoholic parent and the child were of the same genderâi.e. sons of alcoholic fathers and daughters of alcoholic mothers. Other disorders showed an opposite gender effectâdaughters of alcoholic fathers had an increased risk of abusing alcohol compared to sons, while sons of alcoholic mothers had an increased risk of panic disorder compared to daughters. Understanding how gender may influence risk of psychiatric illness in families with parental alcoholism may have important implications for prevention and treatment of at-risk children.
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Morgan PT, Desai RA, Potenza MN. Gender-related influences of parental alcoholism on the prevalence of psychiatric illnesses: analysis of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2010 Oct; 34(10): 1759-67. Epub 2010 Jul 20. PMID: 20645936.
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