Childhood Abuse Linked to Alcohol Dependence

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April 12, 2012

Childhood Abuse and Alcohol Dependence

Early Child Abuse Linked to Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol dependence can be attributed to many factors, such as genetics, and environmental and psychosocial factors. A new study conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse surveyed 196 men and women patients being treated for alcohol dependence. The study found a strong link between childhood single and multiple traumas and the development of alcohol dependence.
Overall, the occurrence of childhood trauma among those study participants was 55%. Those who experienced emotional abuse ranked 21.4 %, physical abuse ranked 31.1%, sexual abuse ranked at 24.0 %, emotional neglect ranked 20.4%, and physical neglect ranked 19.9 %. The figures reflecting multiple incidents of abuse or neglect ranked at 31.7%.
The study also found that specific mental health disorders among those suffering from alcohol dependence related to the type of abuse or neglect as well.
“A history of emotional abuse increased the risk of mood disorder, in particular major depressive disorder, as well as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Physical abuse contributed to the prediction of suicide attempts, while sexual abuse was associated with a diagnosis of anxiety disorder, PTSD, and multiple comorbidities [sic] (e.g., anxiety and mood disorder).
(Source: Impact of Multiple Types of Childhood Trauma Exposure on Risk of Psychiatric Comorbidity among Alcoholic Inpatients, retrieved from abstract)
Dual diagnosis treatment in such cases has been shown to be necessary. When mental health disorders co-exist with addiction of any kind, neither condition can be managed or arrested if both conditions are not treated in an integrated, comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment program. Without appropriate dual diagnosis treatment, both disorders will worsen.

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