The Role of Child Abuse in Later Drug Abuse

The role of child abuse in later drug abuse has been well documented. In fact, childhood trauma often leads to addiction later on in adulthood. This is because the traumatic experiences and incidents that you struggle with during your childhood could easily follow you into your maturity. When this happens, it could create a wide variety of mental health issues.

As a result, you may attempt to self-medicate the symptoms of these mental disorders by abusing drugs and alcohol. in the process, you may find that you are also living with a substance use disorder or an addiction.

According to the NIH - the National Institutes of Health - over 33 percent of teens who suffered from childhood neglect and abuse struggle with substance use disorders before their 18th birthday.

TIME Magazine, on the other hand, reports that close to 60 percent of all people who live with PTSD - or post-traumatic stress disorder - end up developing chemical dependency involving drugs and alcohol. this assertion was backed by the APA - the American Psychological Association.

Additionally, the NIMH - the National Institute of Mental Health - reports that between 7 to 8 percent of the entire American population struggles with some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Childhood Abuse and Addiction

Guardians and parents serve an important role in the lives of their children. They also shape them into the mature adults that they grow up into. Unfortunately, many parents and guardians struggle with substance abuse and addiction and end up abusing their children as a result. Others abuse their children even without the presence of these drug and alcohol use disorders.

Today, child abuse is so endemic that millions of children suffer from it. Unfortunately, if you experienced abuse as a child, it is highly likely that it will impact your mind as well as influence your future life.

Other studies have reported that there is a connection between child abuse and future addiction and drug abuse. This problem affects many people every year, and you might one of its victims.

If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, to this end, it is essential that you explore your past and check whether you suffered from neglect and abuse when you were a child. This could help you understand the underlying cause of your addiction as well as learn how to root it out of your life.

Understanding Child Abuse

When you think about child abuse, you might assume that it means that a parent is hitting their child or disciplining them excessively. Although these are all form of physical abuse, there is more to child abuse than just physical abuse.

In the same way, child abuse does not just come from parents. Many people can engage in this form of abuse - including but not limited to caretakers, teachers, guardians, and other adults in the life of the child.

The primary form of child abuse includes but are not limited to:

a) Childhood Neglect

If you were ever left alone at home when you were at a young age, ignored, or denied your basic needs, you might have suffered from childhood neglect. This form of abuse is particularly hard to deal with. This is particularly true if your parents have not shown any signs of love and positive reinforcement when they were not neglecting you.

b) Physical Abuse

Physical abuse refers to any form of spanking or hitting a child, or causing them harm. If you were ever hit with an object, thrown down a flight of steps, cut with sharp objects, burned, or injured in any other way, you suffered from physical abuse.

c) Psychological Abuse

Your parents and other figures in authority might also have caused you psychological abuse - especially if they were people that you loved or love. Even if they did not assault you physically, the fact that they ever called you ugly, stupid, fat, or any other hurtful terms amounted to psychological abuse. Neglect and physical abuse also create symptoms that are similar to those arising from psychological abuse.

d) Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves neglectful, psychological, and physical abuse. If you were sexually abused, it might have been by your parents or by another other adult or teenager in your life. It could also have happened because your parents were neglectful, ignored your complaints, or decided to overlook the fact that you were being sexually abused.

In case you experienced any of the above, it is a highly likely that you suffered from child abuse. Shockingly, these experiences continue happening with at least one child being abused every 10 seconds in the United States - and this only applies to the cases that have been reported.

Child Abuse and Trauma

It is impossible to explain the role of child abuse in later drug abuse without mentioning the impact that it causes to the victim. Abuse can cause you to suffer from extreme trauma which could later give rise to the development of a post-traumatic stress disorder. The immediate impact of child abuse, however, will be severe shame.

The results of research studies have shown that both anger and shame have a role to play in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Shame, on the other hand, can contribute to the symptoms that occur when this disorder manifests itself. Additionally, shame is often the link between child abuse and psychopathology among adults.

To this end, if you were abused as a child there is a high likelihood that you will suffer from PTSD later on in your life. This could later give rise to the develop of severe psychopathic problems.

In the same way, child abuse might cause you to develop PTSD as well as experience other forms of this disorder that are biologically distinct and lead to trauma later on in your life.

To this end, the fact that you were abused means that you will suffer from psychological and physical problems. Additionally, it could change you on a genetic and chemical level. All of these changes will have a negative impact on your development as a teenager and adult as well as potentially lead to problems like schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and depression.

The sad thing is that most of these genetic changes might end up being permanent. The trauma that you suffered could cause you to experience genetic changes that do not resolve over time because they happened during your childhood.

Child Abuse, PTSD, and Addiction

If you suffered child abuse during your formative years, there is a high probability that you might develop post-traumatic stress disorder - or PTSD. In the future, this could later increase your risk of abusing drugs and alcohol.

This condition is a major problem because it can deteriorate quickly and cause you to suffer from other disorders. Additionally, it can lead to other adverse reactions - including but not limited to thoughts of hopelessness, worthlessness, feeling like you are under attack, nightmares, depression, and anxiety.

If you are suffering from these effects of PTSD as a child, you might not always have the coping mechanisms that you would have as an adult. This is because you would not understand that your future lies in your hands and that there are things you can do to change your life for the better.

As a direct result, you might end up experimenting with alcohol and drugs to manage the symptoms of your mental health disorder. In fact, the risk of substance abuse while living with PTSD is at about 20 percent.

If you are a woman and you are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of child abuse, there is a 30 to 57 percent chance that you will also develop a substance use disorder or an addiction.

Using drugs and alcohol can alleviate the feelings of shame and pain that you are feeling as a result of this mental health disorder - at least in the short term. Unfortunately, it will lead to a cycle of substance abuse that will later develop into addiction. Further, drug use will only worsen the symptoms of trauma that you are already struggling with - leading to additional problems later on in your life.

It is for this reason that addiction is considered to run through families. If you were abused as a child, you might develop PTSD and end up taking drugs and alcohol. eventually, when you get your own children you may also abuse them. This is how the cycle of addiction will continue through your family.

Understanding Trauma

Trauma refers to a malignant and adverse emotional reaction to an event that happens once or repetitively. This reaction can result for the psychological, sexual, or physical harm that you suffered.

It will also be characterized by your innate inability to process the experiences that you suffered as well as move past them without reliving them. As a victim of trauma, you will also be highly likely end up developing a severe mental health disorder - such as post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, you may abuse drugs and alcohol to self-medicate the symptoms of this disorder. This could give rise to the development of a substance use disorder or an addiction.

According to JAMA Psychiatry, over 30 percent of all victims of post-traumatic stress disorder end up developing depressive disorders. The Department of Veteran Affairs has also reported that 10 percent of the entire American population suffers from depression that is related to trauma on an annual basis.

Trauma, on the other hand, is a broad term that describes a wide variety of incidents. The most common among these incidents include but are not limited to:

The important thing to keep in mind is that trauma can arise from anywhere. It can also manifest it in a wide variety of psychological, emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms - including addiction.

If you experienced child abuse, you may have suffered trauma from the experiences that you went through. As a result, this could lead to the development of the following short and long term symptoms of trauma:

In the same way, trauma can have a negative impact on your quality of life as a result of the child abuse you suffered during your formative years. The symptoms that arise during your childhood might end up affecting your adulthood, leading to:

Childhood Trauma and Drug Addiction

Substance and chemical dependency can take many forms. Most of these forms are linked to the trauma that you might have sustained during your developmental years due to childhood abuse.

Whether you develop addition as a result of looking for social acceptance, to escape your daily reality, to avoid the memories that are deep-rooted in your abuse, or any other reason, it is highly likely that you will have to address all these underlying causes of your substance abuse before you can achieve full recovery.

There are different contexts in which you might experience a dual diagnosis of addiction and co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder that is related to the experiences that you went through as a child.

The NIH - the National Institutes of Health - for instance reports that people who suffered childhood trauma have a high risk of development addiction to intoxicating and mind altering substances like alcohol and marijuana.

These risks often arise from a wide variety of different factors. If you craved community, stability, and acceptance in your home life, you might try looking for it from other sources. You may, for instance, look for these things from toxic influences. Eventually, you may also start abusing drugs and alcohol to gain the sense of solidarity and acceptance that you crave.

Substance abuse and addiction, on the other hand, come with a chronic nature. As a result, these early behaviors are highly likely to follow you through to your adulthood. On the other hand, there is a risk that you may fail to acknowledge, process, and recognize this trauma until it has manifested itself in self-destructive actions like substance abuse, an inability to control your emotions, or self-harm.

But why and how does child abuse lead to addiction? To understand the answers to this question, it is important to review the various sources and forms of childhood trauma, including but not limited to:

1. Domestic Abuse

One of the sources of childhood trauma is domestic violence. It often has a direct impact on the development of substance abuse and addiction. The Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, for instance, reports that domestic abuse can dramatically increase the risk that you will develop chemical dependency.

Additionally, Emory University released a report showing that there is a close relationship between emotional and physical child abuse as well as the development of addiction. This is due to the emotional dysregulation that occurs as a result of childhood trauma.

The trauma that you suffer could form either as a result of the direct abuse or because you witnessed someone getting abused in the home where you grew up. The latter is a fact that you might be forced to deal with later on in your life.

2. Sexual Abuse

Childhood trauma can also be caused by sexual abuse. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 60,000 children are abused sexually every year in the US. Additionally, 14 percent of all the men and 36 percent of women who are incarcerated suffered sexual abuse during their childhood.

Other research studies report that if you were sexually abused as a child, you have a reduced likelihood of engaging in safe sexual practices. This could increase your risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases - or STDs.

In the same way, you would be 25 percent as likely as someone who was not sexually abused to struggle with pregnancy as a teenager as well as end up developing problems linked to alcohol and drug addiction.

3. Physical Abuse

Whether you suffered an one-time event of physical assault or you endured consistent and prolonged pathology due to bullying - or even a lifetime of abuse at home - there is a high risk that you could end up struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, 18 percent of all children who suffer maltreatment because of physical abuse. More than 50 percent of these children end up losing their lives as a result.

NIDA - the National Institute on Drug Abuse - also reports that more than 66 percent of all the people who are enrolled in an addiction treatment program report that they were neglected or physically abused during their childhood.

The important thing to keep in mind is that there are different levels of childhood abuse - particularly physical abuse - that could put you in harm's way and cause you to end up struggling with alcohol or drug dependence and addiction later on in your life.

4. Emotional Abuse

If you suffered emotional abuse as a child, it means that you went through active manipulation, neglect, or verbal assault. You might also have been ignored by people who were supposed to take care or love you. One of the typical behaviors surrounding emotional abuse is that you might also have been exposed to alcohol and drugs at an early age.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, anywhere between 30 percent and 60 percent of all the cases of child abuse involve substance abuse and addiction to one extent or the other. If your parents abused alcohol and drugs, you also have anywhere between 3 and 4 times as high a likelihood to have suffered child abuse and neglect.

Getting Help

To deal with the role of child abuse in later drug abuse, it is essential that you seek integrated dual diagnosis treatment. this type of treating will simultaneously address the behavioral and medical aspects of your substance abuse and addiction as well as provide the in-depth and targeted rehabilitation services that you need to overcome the triggers that are related to trauma and which sustained your addiction.

These treatment centers achieve this feat by providing a comprehensive variety of mental health and addiction treatment services. they will first offer medically supervised detoxification services to ensure that you overcome your withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

After that, they will provide you with highly customized and focused behavioral rehabilitation services. Since your needs for addiction treatment might be different from those experienced by other people struggling with substance use as a result of childhood abuse and trauma, it is highly likely that you will receive highly personalized and customized treatment and rehabilitation services.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you will receive a wide variety of treatment services to ensure that you are able to successfully manage your substance abuse and addiction as well as overcome the trauma arising from your experiences with child abuse. In the process, you will be guided on the road to complete recovery.

The important thing is to ensure that you understand the role of child abuse in later drug abuse and seek help for it from an integrated dual diagnosis treatment center that can address both your substance abuse as well as the underlying causes of your addiction - and any other mental and behavioral health disorders that you might also have been struggling with, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.