Are There Links Between Child Abuse and Alcoholism

A New Study Highlights Links Between Child Abuse and Alcoholism

by Rayne E. Golay

College students with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) drink more alcohol than their peers, according to a new study published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

In addition to the problems normally associated with alcohol abuse, or alcoholism, the students’ heavier drinking also exacerbates their PTSD symptoms, the study found. The study doesn’t identify what traumas led to the students’ stress disorder, but it’s safe to assume a good portion of them are survivors of child abuse and/or neglect.

Parental alcoholism is often a factor in child abuse and neglect. It’s compounded by the risk that as adults, these children model their behavior on their parent – including drinking alcoholically.

There is one common misconception among alcoholic patients: they all believed that their drinking didn’t affect anybody but themselves. This is simply not true. 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.

Not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic, but parents and young adults need to seriously evaluate whether alcohol is a problem in their lives, because there are solutions.

Here are suggestions for people who suffer alcoholism or suspect alcohol may play too important a part in their lives :

Ask yourself the following questions; if you answer “yes” to one, alcohol may be a problem in your life.

Have you had the morning after drink? Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble? Does your drinking cause problems at home? Do you tell yourself you can stop any time you want although you keep getting drink? Have you neglected your duties because of drinking? Has anybody suggested you should stop drinking?

Try having one drink every day for a month.

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. If you can do that, you’re probably not an alcoholic. I suggest this test because most alcoholics can remain completely abstinent for a length of time, but they’re unable to stop after one drink. To an alcoholic, one drink is too much and a million isn’t enough.

If you think alcohol is a problem, a 28-day Minnesota Model treatment program gives good results.

Faith Based Treatment (, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ( among other options.

The residential Minnesota Model combines detox and counseling built around the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous ( Individualized, it includes the patient’s family.

It’s effective because it starts with detox from all mood-altering chemicals, which is imperative for lasting sobriety. It also aims to break down denial. It forces the patient to take a serious look at the consequences of alcohol in his or her life.

No matter which treatment the individual chooses, aftercare and continued attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are of vital importance for lifelong sobriety.

About the Author

Rayne E. Golay, (, is a certified drug and alcohol counselor whose work with addicts informs her understanding and insights into the consequences of child abuse. She has a Master’s in Psychology and is a lifelong reader and writer. The Wooden Chair, published in 2013 by Untreed Reads, won the Royal Palm Literary Award for mainstream literature in the 2005 Florida Writers Association’s competition. She hopes that this story inspires witnesses to speak up for children whom they suspect are suffering from any form of abuse and/or neglect.

Source: OM Times