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How Childhood Physical and Emotional Neglect Lead to Adult Substance Abuse

 

People who went through the trauma of physical or emotional neglect as children have higher rates of depression, anxiety, or anger issues. Also, the responses to these negative emotions that have their roots in childhood abuse are to act impulsively. This impulsiveness may include drinking or taking drugs as a way to numb those uncomfortable feelings.[1] 

Childhood Abuse and Physical Impacts on the Brain

When we take a look at why this impulsiveness develops, some research indicates that it may be physical brain changes that happen due to child abuse. Studies show that changes can happen in the areas of the brain that assist in balancing emotions and impulses, as well as self-centered thinking. These findings suggest that individuals who have suffered through childhood neglect have a higher risk of drug or alcohol abuse since they have a more difficult time controlling their urges. It may also be because they find it harder to make rational decisions. These effects are due to the real physical changes in brain development.  

Childhood Abuse and Emotional Impacts

 In addition to these brain changes, childhood neglect, abuse and trauma can affect how children behave, and how they regulate emotion and function in social settings.[2] These potential effects can include:

  • Feelings of fear experienced most or all the time
  • Staying constantly on alert, can't relax, regardless of the situation
  • More likely to develop an anxiety or depression disorder
  • Deficits in learning
  • Developmental milestones are delayed
  • Difficulties in processing positive feedback
  • Social situations are more difficult or challenging

 

The link between these adverse childhood experiences and later substance abuse is that people who were neglected as children feel lonely and isolated as adults. They may also feel grief related to the loss of affection and love that they experienced from very young ages. 

Childhood Abuse and the Prevalence of Substance Abuse later in Life

 It is estimated that about 66% of men and women in treatment for substance abuse state that they were physically, sexually, or emotionally abused during childhood, studies show.[3] It's important to understand how these issues are related to develop special ways that can target child abuse victims preventing the progression of drug or alcohol abuse. Also, a better grasp of how child abuse and substance abuse are linked can help in tailoring treatment programs to best address these issues for successful recovery outcomes.  

 Childhood Abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

 People who suffer through abuse as children can develop PTSD. It is estimated that from 30 to 59% of women in substance abuse treatment also have PTSD.[4] These research reports also showed that from 55 to 99% of these women reported a history of childhood trauma.[5] People may use drugs or alcohol to numb the strong, negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions that PTSD from childhood abuse can cause.  

 Finding the Right Help

 If you or a loved one experienced childhood physical or emotional neglect, it's important to seek counseling before any substance abuse issues develop.[6] If there are drug or alcohol problems as well, talk with your doctor, mental health professional or treatment center for help. A productive, healthier, and sober life is possible with the right help.  


References

[1] https://www.arrowpassage.com/a...-personality-traits/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4091823/

[3] https://archives.drugabuse.gov...-in-later-drug-abuse

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] https://www.webmd.com/mental-h...ow-to-find-therapist

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The Solutions in this article are too simple, though I certainly appreciate a lawyer writing something about this.   The doctor doesn't have a clue how to help you, many can't even help themselves.  The psychiatrist is gonna hook the unaware on a benzodiazepine - not good and only makes it all worse.  And, yeah... I really haven't heard of anyone who recovers after a stint in one of those incredibly expensive addiction "treatment "centers.  

Also, this is SO hard to fix after the fact.  Prevention is a much better option (which is gonna be a lot harder now after the state goes broke when they have to balance the budget in September).    Prevention has to start in infancy because the neglect starts in infancy mostly with women who were neglected by her family when she was a baby (plus / minus all those ACEs later in childhood).  A lot of the mom's who use drugs and alcohol to cope, do have experiences of overwhelming and uncontrollable emotions and even for many lots of dissociation, confusion, who am I problems with never having developed a separate self.    

Did you know that in the womb, all that stress that the mother goes through affects the baby.  The Left Amygdala often gets expanded so that you can see the increase in size at birth.  The Left brain is approach behaviors / motivational behaviors to move towards and in infancy it's about attachment and the enlargement from that stress in really stressed out mothers who live in a world full of too much drama and trauma creates an antenatal experience that has already affected the baby in the womb and sends some infants on a path towards disorganized / insecure attachment before the baby is even born.  And there are neonatal EEG differences that are associated with all of this, like Right Frontal Asymmetry.    This kind of thing continues if that mother doesn't get any help with how to relate to the baby w/o being dissociated to Rage from her own baby's cry.  The infant's basic needs for love and empathy from a caring and loving mother never go away but if the biology of that infant learns that this mother is dangerous, that baby's brain is going to develop either in avoidance or approach/avoid conflict.  EEG changes persist.   Connectivity is altered and eventually structure is altered.  

I don't even think that some of this can be resolved.  The damage is permanent just like paralysis after a gunshot to the spine.   That is why I think is prevention is so important.    Thanks  

Last edited by Lisa Geath

respectfully disagree with the premise of the article. There are as many reasons for self-medication as there are people doing it.  The writer offers no solid data.  Could Be, perhaps, maybe, are frequently used to fill the places where the data should be.  I

   To the unfamiliar; the rehab business is designed to siphon money from the taxpayer through the drug courts. They have a 10% success rate by design.  If you want to rescue adults from themselves for something no-one can do anything about without a time machine then have at it. 

Before moving forward, understand in a parent-child relationship the only one operating on instinct is the child. The maternal instinct is a myth. If it existed, everyone would have it and there would be no neglect or abuse. Parenting is a skill; a difficult skill. Until it is treated as such, there are steps that are cost-effective, easy to enact, and will yield immediate dramatic results. 

Hormone testing and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy should be a routine part of one's an ob/GYN visit.   The problem is with insurance refusing to cover it.  I am not writing an article, and have no hard data to offer. However I will say, I am aware of many studies that show dramatic evidence

to support HRT for all primary caregivers, not just the bio parent. In the past, women dealt with postpartum, as an example, by getting pregnant again. We all know families with 8-10 children born closely in sequence. Anyone with 2 children knows the toll in energy and time. Critically thinking we can correctly conclude someone will be neglected and maybe abused. This is the result of children competing for diminished resources.  Better to avoid postpartum all together with bioidentical HRT.  This is just one example.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

I appreciate the feedback even though you don't agree with the content. The addiction treatment industry has a bad reputation, but like all professions, there are those that enter the field to truly help and those who get into treatment solely to make money.

respectfully disagree with the premise of the article. There are as many reasons for self-medication as there are people doing it.  The writer offers no solid data.  Could Be, perhaps, maybe, are frequently used to fill the places where the data should be.  I

   To the unfamiliar; the rehab business is designed to siphon money from the taxpayer through the drug courts. They have a 10% success rate by design.  If you want to rescue adults from themselves for something no-one can do anything about without a time machine then have at it. 

Before moving forward, understand in a parent-child relationship the only one operating on instinct is the child. The maternal instinct is a myth. If it existed, everyone would have it and there would be no neglect or abuse. Parenting is a skill; a difficult skill. Until it is treated as such, there are steps that are cost-effective, easy to enact, and will yield immediate dramatic results. 

Hormone testing and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy should be a routine part of one's an ob/GYN visit.   The problem is with insurance refusing to cover it.  I am not writing an article, and have no hard data to offer. However I will say, I am aware of many studies that show dramatic evidence

to support HRT for all primary caregivers, not just the bio parent. In the past, women dealt with postpartum, as an example, by getting pregnant again. We all know families with 8-10 children born closely in sequence. Anyone with 2 children knows the toll in energy and time. Critically thinking we can correctly conclude someone will be neglected and maybe abused. This is the result of children competing for diminished resources.  Better to avoid postpartum all together with bioidentical HRT.  This is just one example.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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