By: ATSI Admin
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The Connection Between Child Abuse and Alcoholism
It’s Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to celebrate sobriety and drinking responsibly, and to encourage treatment for anyone unable to control their drinking. A new study illustrates the negative impact of alcoholism, specifically between alcoholic parents and their children.
PTSD, Alcohol Abuse
The study, published this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, examines college students with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and found students with symptoms of PTSD drank more alcohol than their peers. Many other studies conclude that mental health disorders like depression, anxiety or PTSD often leads to self-medication with drugs or alcohol. However, alcohol aggravates mental disorder symptoms, often worsening the issues; just as alcohol use is an ineffective solution to PTSD, it’s ironically also often the cause.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by any kind of traumatic experience, which can include violence, disaster, tragedy or war. For most children in America, the cause of PTSD is child abuse and/or neglect, with the number one factor behind child abuse and neglect is a parent’s alcoholism or drug use.
Studies have shown that child abuse is often caused by the alcoholism of one or both parents, and that the abuse of a child often causes the child to grow up to abuse alcohol some day. It’s a truly vicious cycle. Rayne Golay, author and psychotherapist, says, “In a home with an alcoholic parent, everyone suffers, the most vulnerable being the children. They live in an insecure and unstable home, and because the alcoholic parent’s behavior is unpredictable and terrifying, the children learn to be constantly on guard.”
Evaluating Drinking Habits
Golay suggests that we take a close look at our drinking habits this month, and anyone concerned about their drinking should try limiting themselves to one drink per day for a month. Those unable to stop at one drink are likely to have an alcohol abuse or addiction problem, and should seek help.“One drink — that is, 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor — one drink, no more, no less,” Golay says. “If you can do that, you’re probably not an alcoholic.”
Alcoholism is a disease that impacts millions of Americans every year. Many families suffer, and children of alcoholics are much more likely to become alcoholics themselves someday. Alcohol Awareness Month is about prevention, awareness and treatment. If we work together and promote healing and education for our youth, we can begin to put an end to this devastating disease.