According to new research in the field of psychiatric disease, bad behavior is inherited. Children from parents suffering from mental illness are more inclined to replicate dangerous behaviors. These anti-social behaviors include violence, attempted suicide or abuse. Usually, these behaviors show up during teenage years, mostly after the age of fifteen.
Lead author of the study Pearl Mok, of the University of Manchester, UK says that parents who suffer from mental illness somehow transmit questionable behaviors to their offspring. Children end up neglected in such cases. And this leads to all kinds of hardship.
Where parents have a record of mental disease and substance abuse, children genetically inherit these traits. Only a genetic analysis can tell scientists to what extent a child has inherited their parent.
Mok also notes that scientists can’t tell where exactly these traits come from. In most cases, how much is inherited through genetics and how much is learned or imposed behavior remains unclear.
But the strong link between parents with mental conditions and their children developing mental conditions or some type of damaged behavior remains.
Fortunately, there is something that can be done. Interventions can improve parenting skills and relationships. Another helpful intervention is family therapy.
Through encouraging parents to talk about their problems, psychologists and psychiatrists enable them to find solutions.
The study was made with participants with Danish roots, from Denmark. It took place between 1967 and 1997. The total number of people studied was over one and a half million people.
The conclusions were bleak. Dr. Mok and her team found that the risk for child suicide attempt and violent offenses was the highest across the entire catalog of psychiatric disease.
This means that parents with any kind of mental conditions increase the risk for their child to behave similarly. Illicit substance abuse, like cannabis, also led to a high risk of dangerous behavior.
All in all, antisocial disorders, substance abuse and neglecting place the children at high risk of developing similar behaviors.
There are not many solutions to this. Most importantly, there is therapy. Therapy can include prescribing drugs to cope with the condition or simply talking about the problem with a trained specialist.
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