FASDStudents with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are more likely to drink more alcohol than their peers, according to a recent study.

The study also found that heavier drinking intensifies their PTSD symptoms. Psychotherapist, child advocate and award-winning author Rayne E. Golay said: “The study doesn't identify what traumas led to the students’ stress disorder, but it’s safe to assume a good portion of them are survivors of child abuse and/or neglect.”

Her novel, 'The Wooden Chair', explores post-traumatic stress and how it can originate from child abuse and neglect.

Parental alcoholism can often be a factor in child abuse and neglect, and poses the risk of children mimicking their parent's behaviour as adults.

Further reading: Teenage substance use – the latest resources

Throughout her years as a drugs and alcohol counsellor, Golay saw that the misconception among alcoholic parents was that they thought their alcoholism wouldn't affect anyone else, when actually it can seriously affect the mental health and well-being of their families.

Golay believes that children are often vulnerable to conditions such as PTSD when in a situation with an alcoholic parent. “They live in an insecure and unstable home, and because the alcoholic parent’s behaviour is unpredictable and terrifying, the children learn to be constantly on guard.”

For people worried about their alcohol consumption, she advises asking themselves questions about how and when they drink, and how it might affect the people in their life.

Controversially, she suggests drinking one drink every day for a month. She said: “If you can do that, you’re probably not an alcoholic,” as alcoholics are able to remain abstinent for a period of time, but after one drink, it can be difficult to stop.

Alongside this, she recommends a 28 day Minnesota Model program of treatment, which is an individualised, family orientated program based on the principles followed by Alcoholics Anonymous.