Despite being increasingly accepted as a disorder rather than as a stigma, the reasons for the onset of mental illnesses continue to be largely unknown. However, researches have been going on in full swing to find the exact reasons for the onset of mental illnesses.
It is widely accepted that children reflect their parents by replicating their good and bad habits, which stands true even in the case of mental health problems. According to some of the recent studies, parents’ mental illnesses were found to significantly influence the mental condition of the children by increasing the risk of developing emotional and behavioral problems.
A study done in Denmark has come up with a finding that if parents have certain psychiatric disorders, their children are likely to engage in violent offense, apart from having higher suicidal tendencies. When both the parents have mental disorders, it compounds the above risk further. This is a clue to the fact that parents’ mental condition is a precursor to mental illnesses in their children.
As a part of the series on the probable reasons for the onset of mental disorders, the first article discusses the possibility of parents’ mental condition affecting their offspring.
Mental illness in both parents compounds risk of developing risky behaviors
Compared to other mental disorders, children whose parents have a history of marijuana abuse, antisocial personality disorder or suicidal tendencies run a considerably higher risk of suicide and violence during adulthood.
Though a majority of children who had parents with psychiatric conditions were not suicidal or committed violent crimes, the risk of indulging in risky behaviors and offenses doubles when mental illness is present in both the parents.
Overall, the researchers concluded that certain factors may run in families, including shared genetic susceptibility to psychiatric disorders and impulsive cum aggressive traits. Owing to the strong influence of the environment in which one is raised, external influences, apart from heredity, also plays a crucial role in determining a person’s behavior and orientations.
Parents with the problem of substance abuse by seeking effective interventions, such as treatment and counseling, can help in lowering the risk for suicide and violence among their children. Therefore, only genetics may not be responsible for triggering a violent behavior among children.
Myriad challenges faced by children of people with mental disorders
Overall, the children whose parents have a mental illness face several challenges, some of which are as follows.
- Burdened with an inappropriate amount of responsibility to take care of themselves and the household.
- Blame themselves for difficulties, and suffer from anger, anxiety or guilt.
- Feel embarrassed or ashamed due to the stigma attached to their parents’ mental illness.
- Become isolated from friends, family and other community members.
- Increased chances of witnessing problems at school, drug use and poor social relationships.
Moreover, the children of mentally ill parents are also at an increased risk of developing a range of mental health problems, such as mood disorders, alcoholism, drug abuse and personality disorders.
Create a stress-free environment
Undoubtedly, the effects of mentally ill parents on their children cannot be ignored. One of the best rules for a child facing problems due to mentally ill parents is to ensure effective treatments for the parents. By doing this, one can enable a healthy and stress-free environment for the children in their growing phase. Looking at the interdependency between both children and parents, it is necessary to ensure effective medical interventions for parents.
While a hereditary link seems to be evident in mental illness, tremendous progress is being made in the mental health domain. Irrespective of the type of mental illness, there are excellent psychological rehabilitation centers in California that can effectively treat both parents and their children’s mental health issues.
If you or your child is suffering from a mental disorder, connect with the California Mental Health Helpline to know more about the professional mental health treatment centers in California. You may call our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online to access more details.