Parents See Kids' Disorders in Themselves

A child's illness can explain family quirks, reveal long-held secrets
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2007 3:14 PM CST
Traces of psychiatric disorders can run through the generations.   (shutter stock)
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(Newser) – Parents whose kids have psychiatric disorders will often seek, and find, signs of the same illness in themselves, the New York Times reports. Some ailments do run in the family—depression and bipolar disorder, for example—but parents at times dig up symptoms to show solidarity with kids and lessen their sense of guilt. Some families even build a deeper bond over a shared mental disorder.

One Massachusetts father found “a frame” in which “my own life fit together” after his son was diagnosed with autism; a New York mom finally got the meds she needed to focus after her kids were diagnosed with ADD. Another East Coast mom, upon hearing of her son’s learning deficit, told her father for the first time that she suffered from the same problems. “He was very moved by it,” she said.