[Relevance of childhood trauma for later drug dependence].

Research paper by M M Schnieders, I I Rassaerts, M M Schäfer, M M Soyka

Indexed on: 06 Apr '06Published on: 06 Apr '06Published in: Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie


There are various publications on the impact of the experience of violence and abuse during childhood as it relates to future substance abuse. This study aims to examine how childhood abuse differentiated by type and severity, impacts on future potential for substance abuse. Particular attention is paid to specific psychological symptoms and degree of addiction.100 patients being treated for substance abuse completed a questionnaire where they were questioned about a childhood history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect and family violence. Psychopathology and severity of addiction were assessed using the EuropASI and SCL-90.The results demonstrated that the respondents had been exposed to multiple risk factors in their childhood. The subjects were differentiated into groups according to type of abuse. The type and severity of psychological symptoms were measured by the SCL-90-R. The type and severity of psychosocial and environmental problems were measured by the EuropASI. It was shown that patients with a history of abuse had a significantly higher incidence of symptomatology, particularly of co-morbid psychological conditions. When differentiating victims of abuse by sex, women showed a significantly stronger impairment in 2 categories. These were insecurity in social contact and phobic fear. For all other variables of impairment, there were no differences between men and women. The severity of the various types of abuse was then correlated to the course of the disease. A strong correlation was found between severe forms of abuse where victims were involved in sexual abuse or family violence and future severe psychological symptoms.