As the operator of an alcohol treatment center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I’ve noticed the long standing debate about the causes and contributing factors to alcoholism or alcohol misuse. Although results vary from study to study, there has been several consistencies found between the incidence of childhood trauma and alcohol misuse.
A study published in the Oxford Journal in late 2004 by Hasan Mirsal et al had very promising results in linking the relationship between several types of childhood trauma to alcoholism in adulthood.
Theories surrounding the psychodynamic aspects of alcoholism believe that alcohol is used as a way to cope with the feelings people experience as a direct result of trauma experienced early in their lives.
Mirsal’s study shows a significant correlation between traumatic childhood events and increased incidences of alcoholism. With 79% of the patient group citing significant childhood trauma in comparison to the control group that averaged out around 43%.
The largest difference was found in those who stated that they were emotionally, physically or sexually abused during childhood, with 37% of the patient group and only 22% of the control group.
Childhood Trauma, Alcoholism, Depression, and You
After looking at these results it is not surprising that Mirsal found a large percentage of the patient group scored high on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale as compared with the controls.
These results further support the psychodynamic theory that alcohol misuse is a way for the patients to cope with the feelings of anxiety and depression associated with their early childhood traumas.
With many of the patient group also rating high on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, it would seem that the comorbidity between depression, anxiety and alcoholism is extremely high.
Mirsal’s study is one of many that links trauma to substance abuse and with these results several theories and practices of substance abuse treatment focus not only on the the addiction but on the trauma associated with it.
For many people treatment of the trauma is the first step to beginning their path to recovery.
It is important to note that not all substance abuse is related to trauma, however with all the studies performed over the last few decades, it is becoming more and more evident that trauma is one of the largest contributing factors to this problem for many people.
Therefore it must be incorporated into the evaluation and treatment practices at recovery centers to ensure that patients are able to treat all the layers of their addiction and give them all the tools needed to start on their path to recovery.
Turning Point Recovery Center has developed programs and treatment services that address the trauma and addiction comorbidity and help patients find more suitable and less destructive methods to cope with the trauma they experienced.
If this describes you and you are in need of help, call us today.
We’re here to help.