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Victims of childhood abuse more likely to abuse substances and relapse
Sep 27 2019

Victims of childhood abuse more likely to abuse substances and relapse

Addiction Mental Health Substance Abuse

Childhood abuse and neglect have serious consequences for the adolescent, raising their risk of mental health issues, health issues, social issues, and substance abuse. A recent study found that childhood abuse can and will even raise their risk of relapse after recovering from a substance abuse problem.

The instance of child abuse and neglect is a common problem around the world. The term child abuse includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse inflicted on a child, while childhood neglect includes both emotional and physical neglect.

ACE affects child throughout life

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which analyzed confidential surveys completed by 17,000 people receiving physical exams between 1995 and 1997 and the patients’ physical exams, it was found that around 11 percent of these individuals had experienced emotional abuse, 21 percent had experienced sexual abuse, and 28 percent had experienced physical abuse. In addition, 10 percent had experienced physical neglect while 15 percent had been emotionally neglected.

These experiences are also known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The higher the number of ACEs a person experiences, the higher is their risk of developing different issues. For example, a person who has experienced 1 ACE is twice as likely to consider themselves an alcoholic and 1.8 times as likely to have attempted suicide. Raise this to 3 ACEs and the person would be 4.9 times as likely to consider themselves an alcoholic and 6.6 times as likely to have attempted suicide. This proves that abuse and neglect in childhood have a large effect on children, even into and throughout their adult life. These problems can manifest when they are teens or when they are adults, necessitating treatment as soon as the symptoms are observed.

Recognition of ACE can help design effective treatment programs

Another study conducted by researchers from New York University School of Medicine and the Yale University School of Medicine, which was published in the JAMA Psychiatry confirms that the effects of child abuse last well into adulthood. Not only does it raise the risk of substance abuse, but it also raises the risk of relapse after initial recovery from substance abuse.

Researchers looked at the MRI scans of 79 people affected by substance abuse with some of them having experienced child abuse or neglect. It was found that those who had experienced abuse or neglect showed indicators of relapse-related changes in their normal brain functions which linked them to a higher risk of relapse. The study also pointed out that around 4 or 5 out of 10 people who experienced an ACE will develop a diagnosable substance abuse problem. These findings can help with the treatment of such individuals when the consideration of an ACE is taken into account.

Seeking treatment

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report, approximately 916,000 adolescents aged between 12 and 17 were suffering from substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year. SUD can have many short- and long-term consequences that can significantly affect the quality of life of the sufferer.

Adeona Healthcare is a rehab center for teens aged between 12 and 17 which provides comprehensive treatment programs for both drug and alcohol addiction treatment and dual diagnosis. If you know a teen suffering from any type of mental disorder, addiction, or a dual diagnosis, get in touch with our 24/7 helpline (888) 997-3966 and speak to a representative. You can also chat online with our certified representative to seek related advice.