Psychiatry News

Maternal Substance Use May Increase Abuse Risk in Children – Medscape News coverage of meeting presentation by MGH physician Amy Yule

Maternal Substance Use May Increase Abuse Risk in Children


An increased risk for substance use disorder (SUD) may result from maternal SUD, according to new research. Paternal SUD has not been shown to result in the same disorder in children.

Amy M. Yule, MD, from the Clinical Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was lead author of a long-term study of more than 500 mostly female individuals. That research showed that a maternal, but not paternal, SUD was significantly associated with an SUD in study participants.

Although not statistically significant, there was also a trend for an increase in SUD risk when the exposure to parental SUD occurred during the offspring's preadolescent years compared with the offspring's preschool or adolescent years.

"There are a lot of things you can't modify, such as genetics. But this exposure from family is something that can be changed," said Dr. Yule.


She noted that the study's main take-home message is for clinicians to not only assess whether or not parents are using drugs but to also provide education,according to Medscape Today.

"It's important to tell them that they can change their child's risk of having a use disorder by changing their own patterns of behavior."


The findings were presented at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 22nd Annual Meeting & Symposium, according to Medscape Today.



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