Children need to grow up in stable and loving homes to grow into well-adjusted adults. Growing up with the struggles of an addicted parent can decrease mental health in children and teenagers and make them more likely to exhibit signs of suicide and life threatening behavior.
Parents who use opioids are putting their children at risk for developing suicidal behavior disorder. It can more than double their risk of suicide attempts or illness both early on and later in life.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Psychiatry found that opioid use can really negatively affect children and the rest of their family. This should come as a surprise to no one because children need proper care and attention.
Mental health screenings are the best way to notice these changes in children and help organize whether or not they need assistance.
How the Study Works
By comparing the rates of suicide attempts in children and parents who have used opioids within the last year with families that didn’t fill prescriptions for opioids shows a marked difference. This is because those are the families who didn’t abuse or misuse opioid drug treatments.
The statistic discovered was that there were double the attempts in parents of children addicted to opioids who received medical treatment.
This is important because suicide rates of children have skyrocketed in recent years in the United States. This has happened concurrently with the rate of overdoses in adults due to drug use.
The study only managed to include those who were under private health insurance, so the numbers could definitely be higher than what they found just because they are not always recorded.
Suicides and opioid misuse is actually more prevalent in those without insurance or who do not have private insurance. Obviously, that can be a bit harder to keep track of and was not included in the study.
The suicide epidemic has increased for many reasons over the years, and this is just one portion that has been studied.
Opioid use has always been known to affect more than just the addict because it can really harm their whole family. When adults choose drugs over children, it decreases their sense of self-worth overall and can lead to them feeling depressed and despondent.
This means that for children whose parents abuse opioids, they should go through additional mental health screenings as they grow older to make sure that they get the help they need to prevent any suicidal behavior.
Depression and anxiety have picked up in general for children or teenagers who can lead to increased thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior. Having parents who are focused on drugs causes kids to go hungry and not be paid attention to. Their parents choose drugs over them, leaving them to fend on their own over time.
They may get bullied at school for being poor, and their living situations may not be ideal. All of this can take a toll on the fragile psyche of a growing child and affect how they think or live their lives, or even handle negative situations.
By paying attention more to children of those who are abusing opioids, we can fight these increasing rates. There doesn’t need to be a relation between the two if they are given the treatment and attention necessary to keep them on the right page.
This clear connection is a good chance for us to make changes with how we handle the mental health of children and work on preventative measures.