Ongoing clinical research continues to offer valuable clues regarding the connection between childhood neglect and abuse with later adulthood alcoholism. Clinical researchers studied a group of individuals who wanted treatment for their drinking issues compared to another group who had no previous or current issues regarding drinking alcohol.
Evaluating Childhood Neglect
Both study groups were evaluated for enduring five different types of neglect and/or abuse throughout their childhood, including physical and emotional neglect in addition to sexual abuse. As well as determining if this particular group of people had gone through such intense trauma, the experts were able to evaluate just how severe the trauma actually was on them. In the end, each participant was evaluated for a variety of character traits.
Research Results Prove the Connection
What clinical experts discovered was that childhood trauma (both neglect and abuse) was substantially more widespread in the group that was currently looking for help for their drinking issues. Furthermore, the research revealed that the severities of the participant’s adult alcohol issues were directly linked to the severities of their earlier childhood neglect/abuse. In other words, the degree of their neglect clearly matched the degree of their adult alcoholism. Among the different kinds of trauma, the aspects of emotional neglect and abuse were commonly experienced by the group with drinking issues.
These clinical results are very important for a couple of reasons. First of all, they support the idea that a person’s genetics are not the sole reason for someone’s susceptibility to alcohol addiction; previous experience was also a factor. Secondly, the overall results suggest certain areas need to be further investigated regarding treatment.
Making Sense of the Connection
In addition to establishing the link between childhood neglect/abuse and adult drinking issues, the study tried to investigate the link by evaluating the results of the character tests performed by both groups. What they discovered was the one group who endured emotional neglect and abuse during their childhood who needed treatment for alcoholism as adults reported greater levels of anger, depression and anxiety. Another key aspect of the study revealed that the same group acted impulsively to these particular emotions when they came up. That certain impulsivity could involve drinking alcohol as a survival mechanism or to numb their profound bad feelings.
The Gray Area of Extreme Drinking Behavior
Somewhere in between the areas of alcohol dependency and minimal-risk drinking lies an uncertain area. For most people, their drinking habits are either limited to drinking socially or rank somewhere inside the area of uncertainty. Many of these people may be drinking because they’re simply trying to deal with the multiple negative emotions that are commonly related to eventual alcoholism.
For the people whose alcohol issues have gotten way out of control, it’s likely the only real solution is to completely abstain from alcohol altogether, which will require the support of an expert therapist in addition to a reputable support group like AA. On the other hand, they may wish to pursue the path of self-help before choosing that option. Either way, people who drink need to seriously consider how alcohol is affecting their effort to keep certain emotions in check like anger, anxiety, loneliness, grief or depression. Allowing these emotions to surface and confronting certain issues from childhood is often the key to the solution.
If you or someone you care about needs a helpline to figure out the reasons behind why you may be drinking too much, call this hotline number: 800-447-9081 for available help right now.