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Retraining Parents To Bond With Kids To Break Addiction Cycle

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UCF is warning that scammers are posing as one of its research institutes.

A UCF psychologist and Nemours doctor say more research is needed into ways to help parents who are addicts get clean.Federal studies show more than 70 million children live with parents who are addicted. It’s the top reason for child services to step in.

Researchers are Nemours Children’s Hospital and UCF started reviewing studies. What they found? There are two main interventions for addicted parents. One teaches them specific parenting skills.

And Dr. Neil Boris said while that’s important, it looks like the other therapy – which promotes bonding with children – may be more effective.

“Trading out that sense of pleasure they get from the drug for the sense of pleasure that a lot of parents get from their children,” Boris said. “Not 24-7 because parenting is hard, but there are very important moments for parents.”

UCF’s Kimberly Renk said interventions seem to mimic the release of dopamine users get from a high.

“We’re thinking because of the neural pathways active with substance abuse, that particular type of intervention may be more worth our while in the long-term of promoting better bonding between parents and their young children,” Renk said.

The review paper was published in Nature’s Pediatric Research journal.

WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, a statewide collaborative reporting on health care.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by AdventHealth.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »