Childhood Trauma Common Among Alcoholics

A new study shows that those who experienced childhood trauma such as emotional, physical and sexual abuse are often later in life treated for alcoholism. Trauma can also include emotional or physical neglect.

The research study included almost 200 people who were undergoing treatment and inpatient detoxification programs for alcoholism, according to the recent news story. Here are some findings from the study:

Markus Heilig with the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse said previous studies have shown that alcoholics do report higher rates of childhood physical and sexual abuse as compared with the general population.

Heilig adds that with alcoholic patients the rates of physical abuse were 24 percent for men and 33 percent for women. Rates for sexual abuse were 12 percent for men and 49 percent for women.

Perhaps most important is the fact that five percent of men and 23 percent of women experienced both kinds of abuse which suggests that co-occurrence of the different kinds of abuse is notable. Heilig did add that considerably less is known about the other types of abuse or neglect, especially when it comes to emotional and physical neglect and emotional abuse.

We do know that emotional abuse is hard to define but that it is not reported near as much as physical and/or sexual abuse but studies have linked it to long-term problems such as anxiety, depression and suicide.