Addressing Difficult Childhood in Addiction Treatment


Difficult Childhood
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) took place from 1995-1997. ACES was a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente in Southern California.
The study looked at the types of long-term health problems. Specifically, the long-term health problems that people with a history of adverse childhood experiences develop over their lifetimes.

The CDC and Kaiser Permanente performed physical exams on more than 17,000 HMO members. The members were also surveyed about their childhood experience and current health status. Many follow-up studies with varied populations reinforce these findings.

There is a significant relationship between adverse childhood experiences and substance abuse behaviors. Findings for individuals with many ACE’s includes:

  •  Early initiation of alcohol use.
  • Drinking problem.

  • Illicit drug use.

  • Self-Reported addiction.

Simply put- people with traumatic childhoods use alcohol and drugs to cope with emotional pain.

Treatment professionals recognize trauma as a co-occurring disorder when present in Substance Abuse Disorders (SUD) patients. This information is important when diagnosing and treating SUD’s.

Drugs and alcohol are very effective at helping to soothe anxieties in the beginning. But over time, the substances become the primary method of coping. This causes more problems for the people who overuse them. For many this cycle results in addiction.

Abusing substances to escape a difficult past will often lead more trauma.

Identifying trauma early in the assessment process is the “Gold Standard” in SUD treatment. Treatment Planning needs to incorporate simultaneous SUD and trauma therapy. Clients often needlessly suffer when their trauma is not treated with their addiction.

For those seeking treatment in these circumstances, the Champion Center’s multidisciplinary treatment team assesses and treats trauma, utilizing a wide variety of treatment modalities. We address each client’s unique circumstances in an individualized plan.

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