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Link between growing up in affluent communities and addiction

Link between growing up in affluent communities and addiction

09-08 | CDAH Team

It is quite normal for parents to earnestly want their children to do their best as per their capabilities. However, sometimes these desires and wishes can grow in magnitude to such an extent that they tend to become too heavy a burden to be borne by children. While such pressures exist across all segments and socioeconomic backgrounds of society, they are more pronounced among affluent families.

Affluent families comprising high-achieving family members tend to burden their children with unimaginably high expectations. Sometimes the parents from such families are obsessed with making their child the best or providing him or her with the best of life that they endow upon him or her all kinds of facilities to fulfill this wish. Many a times, high-achieving parents are so busy in their work that they are unable to spare enough time to keep a check over their kids.

Additionally, consistent criticism and lack of motivation from parents propel many of such children to digress toward wrong practices, such as substance abuse. Moreover, children coming from wealthy families have high disposable incomes that they can use for accessing substances like drugs and alcohol. Therefore, the chances of indulgence in substances remarkably increases in the case of kids from wealthy families lacking sufficient care, motivation and checks.

Privileged kids have substantial risk of substance abuse

According to a new research led by Suniya Luthar, a Foundation Professor of psychology at Arizona State University and professor emerita of the Columbia University’s Teachers College, privileged American high school students were at a higher risk of substance abuse that could lead to addiction in early adulthood compared to others. The results of the study appeared in the journal Development and Psychopathology.

The researchers selected two groups of high school students from affluent backgrounds and assessed them based on the indicators of substance abuse, such as drinking to intoxication, and whether using marijuana, stimulants like Adderall, cocaine and club drugs like ecstasy. Their activities were reviewed annually through interviews from the last years of their high school until their adulthood. While one of these groups was interviewed throughout their college years every year, the other group was interviewed from the age of 23 to 27 every year.

The researchers observed that the rates of addiction to drugs and alcohol among these affluent groups were higher than the national norms. Some of the eye-opening statistics revealed by the study were as follows:

Younger cohorts (by the age of 22 years):

  • Women: Between 11 percent and 16 percent (close to the national average)
  • Men: From 19 percent to 27 percent (about twice the national average)

Older cohorts (by the age of 26 years):

  • Women: 19 percent to 24 percent (three times the national average)
  • Men: 23 percent to 40 percent (about twice the national average)

With grand expectations placed on the tender shoulders of children, it is quite natural for them to seek some distraction and indulge in adventure to alleviate their pressure. On the other hand, they are able to source prescription and recreational drugs using fake IDs due to the easy access to money. Their parents are usually predisposed to downplaying or tolerating these alarming habits as long as their school performances are not affected.

Affluence should not become cause of downfall

In order to overcome the above challenges, children and their parents need to be educated on how drug use can affect their entire future by increasing the susceptibility to addiction. By reducing the enormous pressure to excel in academics and other domains of life, parents can play a crucial role in assisting their children in emerging successfully out of all problems. Last but not the least, more research should be conducted on finding solutions related to substance abuse to safeguard the future generation from the menace of substance abuse and addiction.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, connect to the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline to contact the best addiction treatment centers in Colorado specializing in the evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline 866-218-7546 or chat online for further information on addiction treatment in Colorado.


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