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Attentive Moms Can Help Kids Fight Drug Addiction Later in Life

A new study conducted at Duke University has theorized that children of attentive mothers have a much better chance at fighting off the development of drug addiction, even if they have a genetic history of the disorder in their family.

It’s a theory in its early stages – the study was conducted using rats as participants – but the baby rats in the study who had affectionate and attentive mothers exhibited changes in their genetic activity and were later better able to avoid the temptation of morphine. The key was the increased production of a molecule in the immune system called Interleukin-10.

What is the definition of an attentive mother? In general, it means lots of hands-on touching: kisses, hugs, and physical contact in the early years. Some naturally had more attentive mothers while other mothers were more affectionate when their pups were taken out of the cage for a brief period and returned.

Staci Bilbo is an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke and led the study. She said: “As soon as they’re returned, she checks them out vigorously, grooming the pups and cleaning them.”

Implications of the Study

What does this potentially mean for humans? Though it’s no guarantee that attentive mothering will protect a child from developing an issue with drug addiction – it should be noted that all the rat pups initially preferred the morphine but that most of those who had attentive mothers eventually lost interest in pursuing more morphine – it may encourage mothers to be more affectionate with their kids, especially mothers in recovery. It’s not the first study to support the fact that children need love and attention from their parents for healthy and happy development, but it is one of the first studies to suggest that that early love and support can help children fight off drug addiction later in life.

Mothers in Recovery

Many mothers who go through drug rehab often take parenting classes as a part of their treatment plan. These classes can teach mothers learn the basics about parenting including what their children need to thrive and how they can help their children heal from the issues that may have developed during active addiction.

What do you think? Do you think that how mothers relate to their children can affect their predilection for drug addiction later in life? Or do you think that each child’s reaction to experimental drug abuse will vary according to their personality and other circumstances? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think.

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