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I knew someone would ask that question.

I used to ask myself that while sitting in psychiatry class when I heard that mental illness was caused by stuff I remembered seeing at home when I was a kid.

The answer, I think, is that a child is an individual who can make his own choices. Even when everything around him seems screwed up, he can still make good choices that allow him to transcend having the consequences determined by what is around him.

The converse is also true. A kid reared in a loving supportive environment, where there is absolutely no dysfunctional behavior, could also make individual choices that put him in patterns leading to tragedy. That is why I mentioned that folks will be looking at their kids a little more in hopes of discovering some sign.

Loss of intimacy (the ability to talk openly about feelings, aspirations etc) may be the only sign that negative choices like drug addiction or other illicit activity have been made in secret. There is no demographic that accurately predicts who will be a drug addict other than that a person tries it. Each of us has a "dark" side and that can still control behavior even when surrounded by light.

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