eISSN: 1689-3530
ISSN: 0867-4361
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction/Alkoholizm i Narkomania
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2/2019
vol. 32
 
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abstract:
Review paper

The prevalence and significance of childhood trauma in alcohol-dependent patients

Justyna Zaorska
,
Andrzej Jakubczyk

Alcohol Drug Addict 2019; 32 (2): 131-152
Online publish date: 2019/08/30
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Introduction
The long-term consequences of childhood traumatic events have been a subject of multiple studies. These studies revealed that people, who were maltreated in childhood, suffered frequently from mental disorders, including alcohol related problems. The aim of this review was to analyse the significance of childhood trauma (CT) in alcohol dependence. Medline database and Google were searched for this purpose.

Literature review
Childhood maltreatment (physical or emotional abuse and neglect, sexual abuse) or other adverse life events such as household dysfunctions are important risk factors of using alcohol. It is a contributor to early drinking initiation, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence in adulthood. Current research confirms that the course of alcohol dependence in individuals who experienced traumatic life events might be severe and outcomes of treatment might be poor. Alcohol-dependent patients who were maltreated in childhood more commonly suffer from comorbid mental disorders, such as mood or anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. There is also an increased risk of self-destructive behaviours (self-aggression). Alcohol-dependent patients with a history of a suicide attempt or self-injuries significantly more often report being maltreated in childhood than patients without history of self-aggression.

Conclusions
Childhood trauma significantly impairs course and prognosis of alcohol dependence. Taking into consideration the significance and consequences of childhood maltreatment, it seems very important to address this issue in the alcohol treatment process. However, in further investigation, it is important to develop knowledge on how childhood trauma affects alcohol use.

keywords:

Childhood trauma, Alcohol dependence, Emotion regulation, Neurobiology, Mental disorders

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