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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Child Abuse Effects May Lead to Addiction in Women

The emotional scars that are left behind when a child is physically or sexually abused may drive some women to abuse alcohol. Often times abuse is never dealt with properly and the one who is abused ends up burying their past deep down inside; emotional trauma that is left unchecked will affect a child right on into adulthood, often times leading to addiction. Data from almost 3,700 women, who took part in the 2005 U.S. National Alcohol Survey, was analyzed by researchers. Women who reported that when they were children they were sexually abused were more likely to also report that they drank four or more alcoholic drinks daily; they were also more likely to be dependent on alcohol and to drink in a way that was unhealthy.

In a news release from the Center for Advancing Health, the lead author of the study, E. Anne Lown a scientist with the Alcohol Research Group in Emeryville, Calif., said that the findings show "a strong association between having a history of child abuse and problems with alcohol abuse". Children who are abused, especially those who are sexually abused, need to be treated at a young age so that they can learn healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with what happened to them. Without proper counseling, these children will enter adulthood with a number of problems; one of those problems may be addiction. "The take-home message is across a range of alcohol consumption patterns, child abuse is consistently associated with alcohol abuse. All of my measures found that association," she added.

"We, as a society, have to take responsibility for the healing of children and adults with a history of child abuse," Lown said. "We need to screen for abuse in all settings - not just screen for but have interventions in place that will address the long-term consequences of child abuse. Without screening, the problem will not be recognized."

The results of the study were released online Nov. 17 in advance of publication in the February print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

US News

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