Although it has been understood for a long time that various forms of abuse at an early age can be significant factors in developing a substance abuse problem, a recent study examined some of these statistics more closely. Researchers found the increased likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse both from child abuse as well as in children who witness domestic violence growing up.
These types of traumatic events can be very difficult for anyone to deal with, especially young people. This recent study examined information from over 21,500 people from the Canadian Community Health Survey and was published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse.
According to lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson of the University of Toronto, “We found that both direct (physical and sexual abuse) and indirect (witnessing parental domestic violence) forms of childhood victimization are associated with substance abuse. We were surprised that chronic parental domestic violence exposure remained significantly associated with both drug and alcohol dependence, even when we adjusted for childhood maltreatment, depression and most of the known risk factors for substance dependency.”
Study co-author Jessica Roane added, “Our findings underline the importance of preventing childhood abuse and domestic violence. In addition, social workers and other health professionals must continue to support survivors of these childhood adversities across the lifespan, with particular attention to substance abuse and dependence issues.”
Additional factors identified for increasing risk of substance abuse included lower income and lower levels of education, as well as being male and having other behavioral health problems. What all this information means is that we can do a better job as a society in breaking the chains of abuse – physical, mental, substance, etc. through more effective prevention programs as well as social and community support systems.
If you have a loved one with a drug or alcohol problem, contact us today to find out more about how we can help.