I have eight biological grandchildren. Two of the boys have been diagnoised with Aapergers, one boy has been diagnoised as ADHD and a granddaughter has been diagnoised with a non specified learning disability. There is also one grandson with Cystic Fibrosis.
The family structure is
My son has one son with Aspergers
My oldest daughter as one son with Aspergers, a daughter with a non-specific learning disability and a son with cystic fibrosis
My youngest daughter has a son who was recently diagnoised with ADHD
Obesity, alcoholism, and depression have been part of the family challenges for at least four generations.
Is there a connection between all of these conditions? If there is, is there anything we can do about it?
Yes, parents' drinking can damage their children's brains. It is not possible to cure the children, but you can treat them with medicine and the right education so that they, in spite of their handicap, can live as well as possible.
The question has been misunderstood. The parents of the children with Autisim spectrum disorders, learning disabilities and ADHD did not drink during these pregnancies.
I should have been clear that the instances of alcoholism all developed in family members of previous generations, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents, not in the parents of these children.
The family history of depression and alcoholism would evidence in males in later adulthood after the child bearing years.
These are not cases of fetal alcohol syndrome. We are witnessing a generation of children with a range of developmental difficulties. Could there be a genetic link? Could the genetic disposition for alcoholism in mature adults be a method of self-medication to cope with milder or undiscovered learning and social disabilities?
Both parents' alcohol usage before the child is born can affect the child, and even if the mother does not drink during pregnancy.
But there is certainly a strong genetic component in the disposition for alcoholism. If several generations in succession have problems with alcoholism, this can be either a genetic disposition, learned behaviour from parents to children, or direct metabolic effect of the alcohol on the forthcoming child.
The genetic disposition for alcoholism can manifest itself as a disposition to use alcohol as a method for self-medication. Such people use alcohol in order to cope with various mental and emotional problems and disabilities. Research has shown that people who use alcohol or drugs are more sensitive than others in several aspects, are more impulse controlled, have a stronger need for excitement in life. These traits are similar for alcoholists, drug abusers and also many people with eating disorders.
Note however, that no one is preordained to alcoholism. Even people with such a disposition can learn to handle their life in other, more constructive ways, for example through cognitive psychotherapy.