The following report explores the influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse while also evaluating the role of dysfunctional families played in the drug addiction of children. While elaborating on this aspect, this study highlights how children belonging to dysfunctional families are vulnerable to being caught in drug addiction. Griffin et al. (2019), identified the standard period of initializing drugs is considered to be during late puberty to early adulthood, making pre-adulthood a significant formative stage for instruction and mediation to prevent substance abuse. Grecu, Dave, and Saffer (2019) agreed and stated that the initiation of drug abuse at an earlier age could dominate the entire life of the individual as it influences the later habits of drug use. The chart shows the high number of young adults involved in drug abuse, especially at times of festivals.
Verdejo-Garcia et al. (2018) agreed with Fig. 1, and stated that due to the high number of individuals using drugs, there is a need to identify the factors leading to the high rate of substance abuse. Brown and Shillington (2017) stated that young individuals with traumatic childhood have a high chance of substance use, whereas there is a lack of research that has analyzed the relationship between childhood trauma and substance use initiation in an earlier stage of adulthood. Kirsch, Nemeroff, and Lippard (2020) argued that not many studies expressly analyzed the role of traumatizing events in childhood, for example, family difficulty and substance abuse use in pre-adulthood. Altogether, many studies announced that parts of youth injury were related before the period of medication and liquor use inception, with heavier liquor use among young men detailing rape, and drinking as adapting conduct (Teese, 2018).
According to Zaykowski (2019), childhood trauma can happen when a person witnesses or encounters overpowering negative encounters at a young age. Allbaugh et al. (2018) stated that restricted interaction with people is a major cause of adverse effects that can overpower a child. Similarly, Van der Kolk (2017) agreed that negative interaction with people at a young age, for example, misuse, neglect, and brutality, can cause traumatic situations for children and can be declared as relational injury. Such families are considered dysfunctional families, which increases the chances of traumatic experiences among children. However, Miller (2019) argued and stated that mishaps that occur at a young age, such as illness, war, and other distress in the region, accidents, natural disasters, and the unexpected loss of a loved one, are the primary cause that traumatizes people at a young age.
Similarly, Chung et al. (2018) discussed the impact of childhood trauma on people because they witnessed something horrible which happened to someone close to them, such as family or friends, and sometimes strangers. Another research by Bryant‐Davis et al. (2017) added that coming in contact with media portraying violence and brutality can also cause trauma in people at a young age. Vogt (2019) argued that there is a high chance that this kind of media may upset and frighten children. However, it doesn’t necessarily traumatize them. Kitta et al. (2016) agreed with this and stated that violent and disturbing situations such as domestic violence, parental divorce, or uncontended family could be more lacerating to children. Regardless, to evaluate the influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse, it is necessary to highlight the relevant causes of such trauma among children.
Abuse has been related to or may be identified as a variable factor behind childhood trauma. Emotional and physical maltreatment are critical indicators of childhood trauma in individuals (McQueen et al., 2018). An investigation by Wekerle et al. (2018) contrasted patients with childhood trauma with healthy people and distinguished emotional mistreatment as the most significant indicator of childhood trauma identification. Oshri et al. (2017) found that emotional mistreatment and emotional neglect were higher in ladies with childhood trauma than in sound controls. Bentovim (2018) contended and expressed that physical and sexual maltreatment has been the significant reason behind childhood trauma.
Krüger and Fletcher (2017) demonstrated that childhood emotional neglect predicted childhood trauma in women. Similarly, Akbey, Yildiz, and Gündüz (2019) found an association between childhood neglect and adult dissociation. Childhood trauma can also create a negative cycle. According to Cecil et al. (2017), childhood trauma among individuals has been identified as one of the reasons for their future negligence towards children. Marshall et al. (2018) agreed and stated that these individuals might have good intentions towards children. However, their past experiences hinder the provision of security towards children that is required for them to thrive and the process of bonding with them.
Izaguirre and Cater (2018) stated that violence is terrible for children and young adults. It is destructive for them to be abused or mishandled by adults, to be bullied by others of their age, to observe aggressive behaviour at home, or to witness a crime. Cutuli, Alderfer, and Marsac (2019) agreed that although many but not every single child who is presented with viciousness responds to this unfriendly experience by creating social, enthusiastic, or learning issues. Rosen et al. (2018) agreed and stated that experiencing and witnessing violence can also be determined as the cause behind health issues in children and one of the major causes of trauma.
Numerous kids are presented with awful mishaps (Rosen et al., 2018). It has been discussed that while most children experience trouble following a dreadful accident, most of them come back to ordinary working conditions of their lives in a generally brief timeframe. However, Cook et al. (2017) argued and stated that most children experiencing mishaps and abuse or violence are prone to be affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Children with PTSD may re-experience the trauma virtually on a timely basis. They may likewise abstain from whatever helps them to remember the trauma (Powers et al., 2016). Mergler et al. (2018) agreed and added that children with PTSD may likewise have issues like fear, depression, anxiety, violent behavior, self-harming tendencies, preference for isolation, poor confidence, and trust issues.
Negative interactions, incidents, or even blunt trauma can influence the psychological and physical development of the affected child (Cohen, 2017). Turner et al. (2017) agreed and stated that negative incidents at a young age could have deep-rooted outcomes. Craig et al. (2017) in the study indicated that the more adverse childhood encounters an individual has, the higher the chance of them having health issues further down the road. Llabre et al. (2017) agreed and stated that childhood trauma might make children prone to health problems like asthma, depression, coronary illness, stroke, and diabetes. Valles, Harris, and Sargent (2019) agreed and stated that childhood trauma caused by incidents from a dysfunctional family, such as physical maltreatment, sexual maltreatment, and parental abuse at home as a child, is one of the primary reasons for mental disorders among young adults. These psychological disorders may lead to suicidal tendencies, depression, and panic attacks. In summary, all these trauma causes also have a prolonged adverse effect on a child's mental and physical health. Children may find drug consumption an effective method to divert their minds and thoughts while undergoing childhood trauma. This situation can initiate drug consumption among these children as they grow into adults, thereby highlighting the influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse.
Several treatments have proven to diminish the after-effects of childhood trauma and are designated proof-based treatments (Cohen, Deblinger, and Mannarino, 2018). Neelakantan, Hetrick, and Michelson (2018) agreed and stated that one of these proof-based treatments is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT). TF-CBT is a 16-20 meeting treatment model for children. TF-CBT targets youngsters ages 4-21 and their parental figures who have encountered dreadful critical situations and are encountering long-lasting effects of the trauma (Runyon et al., 2019).
Intellectual-behavioural intervention is another school-based intervention group treatment that has been proven to decrease PTSD and lessen side effects and psychosocial issues among children who have encountered trauma (Thompson and Kaufman, 2019). Haas (2018) agreed and stated that schools are progressively seen as a primary setting for the foundation of administrations for securing children's physical and mental health. This treatment method is considered essential when treating a child with post-traumatic stress.
CFTSI is a 4-6 meeting precaution model for children aged from 7-to 18 years (Epstein et al., 2017). The objectives of CFTSI are to diminish the awful side effects of a traumatic event, develop increased guardian and child correspondence, and provide skills to the children to adapt to the after-effects of trauma (Oliver and Abel, 2017).
According to Haas (2018), there is a need to prevent childhood trauma using some standard practices. A group of interdisciplinary experts is built to support children who have been traumatized (McElvaney and Tatlow-Golden, 2016). Ogden and Hagen (2018) agreed and stated that this group consists of individuals from the school emergency, safety, and mental health departments to encourage the consistent transmission of exercises for the avoidance, willingness, and intervention to diminish the probability of trauma. It likewise offers an organized framework for help that can effectively address the needs of the children.
Higgins, Kaufman, and Erooga (2016) stated that this network providing stability, consistency, and support is fundamental for students to construct defensive mechanisms or potentially to heal from trauma. To effectively facilitate in case of childhood trauma, it is essential to give training on how trauma impacts youngsters to develop mindfulness and affectability and improve the identification of kids who may require extra help. All staff should be prepared and reminded to look for and perceive signs, regular practices, and trauma reactions frequently shown at various formative stages (Banitt, 2018).
In social work, several patients require special care for particular cases. Similarly, in the specific case of trauma-induced patients, social workers must know precisely how to treat a patient without being intrusive. Cicchetti and Banny (2014) note that children who have undergone trauma are not receptive to any care received by medical workers. In such cases, social workers need to know that conventional forms of treatment will be inapplicable. It is also important to note that 66%-94% of college-aged students have been through trauma at least at one point in their lifetime (Levenson, 2017).
With such a high number of cases affected by trauma, the current social care system must adapt. Another aspect of childhood trauma is the absence of a sense of a safe environment in the children, which is why it is noted that the children do not trust that social workers will be able to help. To solve the problem, Knight (2015) has discussed that social workers must have a sense of the client’s issues and needs information about the history of trauma and the possible impact of trauma. When social workers neglect to react in an empathic way to the clients suffering from trauma, the entire process becomes fruitless. It gives birth to negative interaction, discouraging such clients and creating a barrier in the restorative process (Duffell and Basset, 2016).
Usually, people with traumatic childhoods resist such methods, which may remind them of the trauma. However, social workers sometimes do not consider this and react in a manner that appears dismissing, judgmental, or disapproving (Chamberlayne and Smith, 2019). There is a high chance that those with the most off-putting conduct might be the people who most need post-traumatic therapy (Corrigan and Hull, 2018). Social workers should consider how their convictions, qualities, perspectives, and encounters may hamper their work process and interaction with the client.
A dysfunctional family is a major source of trauma and abuse for the children in the family, which is present even in adulthood. A dysfunctional family is characterized by poor parent-children relationships, physical forms of punishment, conflict among parents in the presence of children, and an overall violent atmosphere within the household (Karson and Sparks, 2013). Such an abusive household usually leads to severe complications for the children in later life and may even cause the children’s drug abuse. A study was conducted by Wu and Slesnick (2019) to understand the relationship between adult drug abuse and dysfunctional families by carrying out interviews with children from such backgrounds. The study found that parents with drug or alcohol addiction mean that their children have a much higher chance of becoming addicts also unless proper intervention is done.
Drug addiction is not a simple single-step procedure; it is complicated with several cognitive and psychological factors involved. There are three stages of becoming an adult, binge and intoxication, withdrawal, and compulsory drug use (Crews et al., 2017). In the binge stage, the person tries drugs for the first time, whereas during withdrawal, it becomes harder for the person to avoid using, and in the final stage, the person becomes a compulsive drug addict. In the case of dysfunctional drug addicts, as the stages progress, their mental and physical health deteriorates as well. This impacts the person’s overall well-being and increases the tendency of the person to develop depression and attempt suicide (Brockie et al., 2015).
According to the study by Aldridge, Measham, and Williams (2013), the use of drugs among young adults has been common in recent years because such groups can easily access the drugs. Moreover, the research of Wilens et al. (2011) highlighted that individuals between the ages of 18-22 are considered young adults. Humensky (2010) study also indicated that young adults are more prone to using drugs than older adults. According to Mojtabai, Olfson, and Han (2016), the common drugs young adults consume are alcohol, tobacco, and marihuana. In contrast, the study by Bachman et al. (2013); Mojtabai, Olfson, and Han (2016) found that ecstasy and cocaine are the most common kind of drugs being consumed by young adults. Furthermore, the report of BBC News. (2019) highlighted that some records of drug use among young adults began in 1996 in the UK.
Additionally, a similar study identified that, with time, the drug use rate has kept increasing among young adults (BBC News. 2019). Also, it has been highlighted that the use of Class A drugs has been significantly increasing among young adults in the UK (Wilens et al. 2011). Approximately 8.7% of young adults were using Class A drugs in 2018; around 10.4% of individuals lie in the age bracket of 20-24 (BBC News. 2019). In the research of Humensky (2010), the author indicated that around 3000 young adults die due to substance abuse. Most deaths were caused by opiate-based drugs known as heroin (Aldridge, Measham, and Williams, 2013; Bachman et al., 2013). However, Mojtabai, Olfson, and Han (2016) identified that death from the use of cocaine has doubled within the last three years among young adults in the UK.
The study by Kong et al. (2015) contemplated that multiple reasons encourage young adults to use drugs. A similar study identified that young adult tends to increase the use of drug medications due to significant level of depression and stress (Kong et al. 2015). Humensky (2010) survey supported the idea by highlighting that stress and depression in the teenage years are primary factors that raise drug use among young adults. Additionally, the research of Mojtabai, Olfson, and Han (2016) considered the bonding experience and boredom had been a reasons that increased the frequency of drug use among young adults. However, the study by Cotto et al. (2010); Aldridge, Measham, and Williams (2013) contradicted the argument by stating that lower self-esteem and other mental issues have been one of the prominent reasons that raised the use of the drug among young adults.
While the research of Redonnet et al. (2012); Wilens et al. (2011) asserted that weight loss and curiosity for trying drugs had been the major reason for increased drug consumption among adults. Furthermore, the study by Hanson et al. (2011) indicated that peer pressure inclined individuals to use the drug at a young age that consequently increasing the use of the drug when those individuals become young adults. In contrast, Bachman et al. (2013) research specified that the family history of drug addiction and genetics played a primal role in increasing the drug dosage among young adults. Moreover, the research of Kong et al. (2015) stated that most young adults were exposed to now or never situations due to addiction levels to using certain drugs. At the same time, research by Ramo et al. (2010) specified that young adults increase the use of drugs to get better in academics and sports.
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Drug dependence based on a person’s physical needs, not psychological or emotional ones, is initiated through external factors, such as exposure to drug sources (Müller, 2018). Usually, violent or abusive factors are considered initiators of drug use, but it is not applicable in functional usage. According to Askew (2016), in practical usage of drugs, people start taking drugs due to friends or peers for recreational purposes, but as time passes, they become addicted. Therefore, a previously non-addict person on exposure to drugs involuntarily or unintentionally starts administering medications daily.
Furthermore, Cormack and Carr (2013) add that this transition happens in two main stages, tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance means that the individual becomes immune to smaller doses of drugs, and slowly, the number of dosages increases. At the same time, withdrawal means that the person stops considering drug abuse as a problem and accepts it without trying to stop it. Thus, functional drug abuse is based on a person's physical needs, and with time, the person becomes entirely dependent on drugs.
Dysfunctional families tend to alter a person’s emotional state, which may force that person to become a drug addict as an adult. Wang, Zhang, and Zhang (2017) explain that a dysfunctional attitude in a person causes them to look at themselves, others, and their future from a very pessimistic viewpoint. This makes the person susceptible to depressive behaviours and an increased tendency to administer drugs to overcome such depressive episodes. Based on this definition, dysfunctional abuse is very different from functional abuse, as one is based on emotional needs while the other is based on physical conditions. This aspect clearly highlights the influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse.
Another study by Clarke et al. (2012) believes that a person can only acquire a dysfunctional attitude when social pressures and family or friends are abusive and violent. According to the study, a person may not have depression, however, the behavior of close loved ones can force the person to develop a dysfunctional attitude, which consequently increases the ability of a person to use drugs. Hence, drug abuse initiated by dysfunctional families causes a person to need to use drugs to overcome emotional or psychological stresses.
Drug addiction or abuse is a social disease that has both physical and psychological implications on the person. Pourallahvirdi et al. (2016) believe that the determinants of drug abuse play a crucial role in the long-term addiction and health planning of the drug addict. Several factors can encourage or force a person to start administering drugs, as given below:
One major psychological factor that exposes a person to drugs and ensures that the person fails in rehabilitation is coping mechanisms and a sense of responsibility (Petrova et al., 2015). A person with a sensitive coping mechanism can easily be engaged in illicit activities of taking drugs, and the absence of a sense of responsibility fuels this habit. Another factor that encourages drug usage is psychological disorders like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc. These diseases can become underlying problems that motivate a person to inject drugs to escape the realities of emotional stress.
Furthermore, among psychological disorders, childhood trauma is a major instrument in forcing people in adulthood to take drugs. Mandavia et al. (2016) discuss the role of memories of trauma and abuse that people try to escape through drugs. Therefore, among the psychological factors, escapism is very important to consider as an initiator of drug abuse. On the contrary, Tang, Tang, and Posner (2016) believe that drug abuse is not from abusive relationships but rather the person’s violent behaviour. The study correlates anger and hostility within a person as factors that lead to drug abuse. Therefore, these studies agree that there is an enormous intensity of the influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse.
Several social and demographic factors determine a person’s attitude and behaviour towards addictive substances like drugs, alcohol, and others. Degenhardt et al. (2017) discuss the role of certain cultural norms that require a person to administer medications, more importantly, the culture found within mafia or criminal organizations that forces all its members to use drugs. Another aspect is religion, as certain religious practices make it compulsory for the followers to use drugs.
Davenport and Pardo (2016) use the example of Rasta’s and Rastafari as a Jamaican tribe that conducts certain worshipping rituals after the administration of cannabis. The study discusses that such practices introduce drug usage to a person and, in the long run, make them an addict. However, in the current digital age, cultural and religious norms are as effective as the influence of social media. The study by Kim et al. (2017) discussed the role of social media websites in normalizing drug addiction among young adults and children.
Such practices expose individuals to drug abuse, even though they may not be directly linked to any psychological or social factors that cause drug abuse. Another aspect of socio-demographic drug abuse that is not much discussed in the literature is the geographic location (Degenhardt et al., 2017). If a country or city is near a major producer of drugs, then people in that area are bound to be exposed more and become drug addicts.
Although depleting economic factors are often considered a consequence of drug abuse. As stated in the research of Yang and Xia (2019), drug abuse leads to low cash inflow, as the person has minimum to no source of earning and falls into poverty. However, this viewpoint has shifted, as economic factors are now considered the cause of drug abuse. A study carried out by Carpenter, McClellan, and Rees (2017) found that as soon as economic conditions in a country declined, drug usage within that region increased manifold. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that economic conditions and drug abuse have an inverse relationship, and the economy must be developed to tackle drug addiction. Similarly, this is also applicable on a smaller scale of individual economic means. A person’s economic decline initiates depression and a pessimistic point of view, which results in a higher tendency to use drugs.
Review the following:
The research of Pilatti et al. (2014) identified that one of the significant factors that influence the use of drugs among young adults is a family history of addiction. A similar author added that genetic predispositions substantially influence young adults to try the drug for the first time (Pilatti et al. 2014). Additionally, the research of Acheson et al. (2011) emphasized that a close family member imposes a greater risk on young adults for using the drug. However, the research of Cservenka (2016); Richardson et al. (2013) indicated that complicated environments at home, such as child abuse by family members, influence young adults to use drugs in today’s world. Although, the research of the Mayo Clinic. (2017) The weak bond among family members highly encourages young adults to develop drug addiction.
According to the study by Mojtabai, Olfson, and Han (2016), multiple psychological disorders at a young age tend to increase drug use among young adults in recent years. A similar author added that depression is a significant factor that increases drug use among young adults (Mojtabai, Olfson, and Han, 2016). Moreover, the Mayo Clinic (2017) study indicated the causes of depression, such as bad relationships, high work pressure, and low self-esteem, that influence young adults to use the drug. Additionally, the study by Pilatti et al. (2014) highlighted that hyperactivity disorder or attention deficit disorder is among some of the factors that encourage a young adult to drug use. A similar author added that hyperactivity disorder or attention-deficit clouds young adults' judgment regarding what is morally right and wrong, which consequently creates a habit of substance abuse among young adults (Pilatti et al. 2014).
The research of Iwamoto and Smiler (2013) indicated that in recent years, peer pressure had influenced drug use among young adults. Additionally, the study by Cservenka (2016) highlighted that friends are the most common element of peer pressure as they are major motivators for letting one try the drug for the first time. Thus this leads to addiction to drug use until an individual becomes a young adult, thereby, confirming the influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse.
According to Fig. 2, it has been demonstrated that there is an increase in the use of drugs among young adults, specifically in England and Wales.
Platt et al. (2017) agreed with the statistics while highlighting that the utilization of used and contaminated injections is an essential transmission course for both HIV and hepatitis C. Expanding infusion medication use has set new populaces, including youngsters, in danger. The ease in the availability of drugs and the failure of the narcotics department to regulate the drug supply and use has resulted in the occurrence of blood-borne contaminations, including hepatitis B infection and hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency infection (HIV), and microorganisms that cause heart diseases (Williams,2019).
All dysfunctional drugs, such as nicotine, cocaine, cannabis, and others, influence the brain activities of individuals (Vergara et al., 2018). Morrall, Worton, and Antony (2020) agreed and stated that drug use among young adults might be wilful. However, these drugs harm the mental health of individuals. This can change how the brain performs, affecting the individual's capacity to make decisions or perform routine actions (Hobkirk et al., 2019). It can prompt extreme yearnings and habitual medication use. After some time, this conduct can transform into substance reliance or medication and liquor dependence (Erickson, 2018).
According to the study by Milteer, Ginsburg and Mulligan (2012), healthy childhood plays a significant role in improving a child's quality of adult life. A similar author highlighted that a healthy childhood assists an individual in achieving their lifetime goals (Larkin, Felitti and Anda, 2014). According to Piotrowska et al. (2017), parents' behaviour is one of the many factors that are active in providing a healthy childhood. Kiesel, Piescher and Edleson (2016) stated that students with a less stressed home environment show good academic progress. Moreover, the study by Larkin, Felitti and Anda (2014) indicated that healthy childhood minimises the risk of developing chronic disease later in adulthood.
Whereas the study of Cook et al. (2017) highlighted that healthy childhood considerably minimises the probability of mental disorders during the adult stage. McQueen et al. (2018) agreed and stated that children prone to traumatic childhood are more likely to develop social anxiety and mental disorders in adulthood. Furthermore, the research of Kitta et al. (2016) emphasised that the physical health of individuals declines with a slower pace of a child having a healthier childhood than an individual having traumatic childhood. In contrast, the research of (Craig et al. 2017).
Also, the dissertation of Larkin, Felitti and Anda (2014) considered healthy childhood a major determinant that minimises the risk of metabolic disorder in adulthood. According to the study of Iwamoto and Smiler (2013), self-motivation and higher self-esteem are found among adults having a healthier childhood. In contrast, the study of Milteer, Ginsburg and Mulligan (2012) regarded that healthier childhood significantly increases the morale of an individual towards life, such as the perception of higher life expectancy.
A literature review has been provided concerning childhood trauma experiences and their role in developing dysfunctional drug usage in later life, especially among young adults. Initially, the subject of childhood trauma is reviewed, with basic concepts and causes of the trauma. It is seen in the study that abusive relationships in childhood, from physical violence to sexual violence, can impose severe trauma on a child. Other causes can be dysfunctional families, in which either of the parents is violent, abusive or addicted. These instances can increase the chances of an individual becoming a functional or dysfunctional drug addict as they grow up.
Among the major factors for developing drug abuse patterns in young adults is the background of a dysfunctional family. Such habits can greatly impact the mental health of the person as well as the family or friends of that person. In such situations, it is found that there is a chance of repeating the cycle of the same dysfunctional family from parents to children. Furthermore, data and statistics are also analysed to understand the scope of the drug use problem among young adults. It is seen that instances of drug abuse are rising, and the causes range from abusive relationships to boredom.
This chapter has been written to add to the topic of childhood trauma and its effect on drug usage in young adult life. A thorough analysis has been done of available studies to explore different causes of childhood trauma and their probable effects. As Bengtsson (2016) noted, content analysis helps develop a multidimensional insight into the topic to understand it better. Therefore, the chapter has been designed in such a way that research aims are met, and research questions are answered. A discussion about the content and literature is added in the later part of the study, followed by a chapter summary.
According to the study by Campbell, Walker and Egede (2016), multiple factors affect childhood experiences and shape a person’s adult life. A similar study on the subject identified that childhood influences are critical in improving the quality of life in later adulthood (Milteer, Ginsburg and Mulligan, 2012). On the other hand, Reuben et al. (2016) argue that not all aspects of childhood affect adult life, as most are forgotten until the time a person reaches their early 20s. Therefore, it is argued that certain selected instances determine a person’s attitude in later life.
Regarding factors affecting childhood experiences, Piotrowska et al. (2017) highlight the importance of children and parent relationships in determining the nature of a person’s upbringing. On the contrary, the research conducted by Moffitt (2013) pinpoints external factors like school bullies as critical in maintaining a healthy or unhealthy childhood. A similar study by Grohmann, Kouwenberg and Menkhoff (2015) suggests that environmental factors of finances and savings are foremost in regulating the experiences of infancy that affect life in adulthood. Among external aspects of upbringing, Sobkin et al. (2016) note that the socio-demographic characteristics of society are critical in shaping the mindset of children throughout their lifetime.
In the context of the nature of the effect, Kiesel, Piescher and Edleson (2016) believe that childhood experiences only determine the academic excellence of a person’s life. In contrast, another study conducted on the same subject has concluded that matters of early childhood determine the physical health of the person in adulthood (Larkin, Felitti and Anda, 2014). According to this study, a person with a traumatic childhood is more prone to developing chronic illnesses than a person with a healthy childhood. To support this argument, the study of Kitta et al. (2016) has illustrated that the deterioration rate of physical health directly depends on the nature of childhood.
Cook et al. (2017) researched the same topic and concluded that instead of physical health, early childhood experiences shape a person's mental health in later life. Another article by McQueen et al. (2018) supported the view of childhood and mental health by arguing that traumatic childhood often results in severe social anxiety in the person as an adult. A study also found that childhood experiences affect how an adult handles stress, with victims of childhood trauma being more prone to panic attacks even in non-stressful situations (Nurius et al., 2015). On the other hand, Merrick et al. (2017) believe that experiences in infancy can seriously alter the remainder of the person’s life by initiating mental disorders like depression and forcing the person to become suicidal.
The study of Szilagyi et al. (2016) has identified that the majority of the factors leading to childhood trauma are due to the nature, attitude and behaviour of parents towards children. To add to the discussion, the study of Hogan et al. (2018) has illustrated that trauma in childhood is divided into two groups, intentional and unintentional. Nevertheless, parents may have been subjected to past experiences that become hindrances in their care for their children. Among unintentional causes of childhood trauma, emotional neglect is the foremost reason for distress in upbringing (Krüger and Fletcher, 2017).
This neglect gives rise to further problems, as Tashjian et al. (2016) note that sexual abuse of children usually happens in families where at least one of the parents is negligent of the child’s wellbeing. While comparing people with traumatic and healthy childhoods, Wekerle et al. (2018) found that emotional mistreatment is the biggest reason for childhood neglect and trauma. Cecil et al. (2017) have further added that emotional abuse and neglect are the most significant cause of childhood trauma and the most destructive form of trauma received in childhood. This is attributed to the fact that children that receive emotional neglect are bound to repeat the same neglect on their children when they become parents.
In contrast, Van der Kolk (2017) has highlighted that intentional abuse or violent behaviour from parents is more problematic in causing trauma. The research of Izaguirre and Cater (2018) has pointed out the role of mishandling, bullying and aggressiveness in parents as three main factors of physical causes of trauma among children. Whereas, Oshri et al. (2017) believe that parents' emotional mistreatment and judgmental behaviour are critical regarding the reasons for childhood treatment. As Hartling and Lindner (2016) discussed, parents can be psychologically abusive by regularly projecting insults and humiliation on their children. However, Camilo, Garrido and Calheiros (2016) argue that unrealistic academic expectations and restricting children from socialising are more common forms of emotional abuse.
Besides physical and emotional abuse, sexual mistreatment and violence are other factors that lead to childhood trauma (Bentovim, 2018). Motta (2020) denotes that sexual misconduct against children predominantly occurs from close family members or friends. Although, Moffitt (2013) believes that more cases of sexual abuse are registered where exposure in school is the primary cause of sexual misconduct among children. Furthermore, the study by Venta, Velez and Lau (2016) highlighted that children from dysfunctional families have a higher chance of being sexually assaulted, as their parents do not fully protect them.
According to the study by Martin et al. (2014), a range of traumas experienced by an individual at a young age leads to drug use among young adults. A similar author elaborated on the influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse while indicating that bullying has been identified as a major trauma that influences young adults to use the drug (Martin et al. 2014). However, the research of Taplin et al. (2014) indicated that community violence, such as racist comments and hostile behavior, affects young adults emotionally, which leads to drug use. Although, the research of Quinn et al. (2016) contradicted the idea by indicating that young adults tend to become drug addicts due to experiencing intimate partner violence at a young age.
A similar author regarded that physical violence between parents causes childhood trauma to their children, due to which those children begin using the drug when becoming young adults (Quinn et al. 2016). Furthermore, Wu et al. (2010) research highlighted that traumatic grief, such as the death of a close family member, makes childhood traumatic, due to which the individual tends to use the drug when becoming a young adult. Similarly, the research of Svingen et al. (2016) identified that post-traumatic stress is caused by a close family member's death that persists until the individual becomes a young adult and begins using the drug to minimize the stress.
Additionally, the research of Wu et al. (2010) contemplated that childhood trauma is caused by physical abuse at a young age that influences young adults to use the drug. However, the study by Quinn et al. (2016) argued that emotional abuse, such as sensitive comments on being indifferent, makes childhood traumatic for individuals, due to which they become drug addicts later in life. While Taplin et al. (2014) research highlighted that sexual abuse is among the factors that affect children traumatically and leads to drug use among young adults.
Although, the study of Harley et al. (2010) indicated that the weak nurturing of a child during young age creates childhood trauma for such individuals that lead to drug use among these individuals during the young adult stage. According to the study by Porche et al. (2011), weak bonding between the parents and a child due to several factors, such as the imprisonment of a parent, creates childhood trauma for such individuals that inclines them to use the drug when becoming young adults.
Some studies, such as Svingen et al. (2016); Quinn et al. (2016), asserted that weak academic performance at a young age could also cause a young adult to use the drug. Whereas the dissertation of Porche et al. (2011) stated that parental illness restricts the adequate bonding between the parents and child, the individual inclines toward drug use when becoming a young adult. Similarly, the studies of Martin et al. (2014); Harley et al. (2010) illustrated that parental substance abuse and emotional negligence by parents make childhood traumatic that consequently motivating young adults to use the drug.
Despite the significant influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse, trauma-informed practices could still counter its negative impact. According to the research of Wilson, Fauci, and Goodman (2015), trauma-informed practices assist multiple social institutions in minimizing the effect of trauma among various groups of individuals. A similar author added that trauma-informed practices consist of four major stages: trauma aware, trauma-sensitive, trauma-responsive, and trauma-informed. These stages reduce the insecurity among victims of some trauma (Wilson, Fauci, and Goodman, 2015). The research of Knight (2015) highlighted that one of the major benefits of trauma-informed practices is it creates a proactive approach to safety.
However, the study by Brown, Harris, and Fallot (2013) stated that trauma-informed practices allow social activists to create a trauma-free environment for their clients, staff, and family. Additionally, the study of Donisch, Bray, and Gewirtz (2016) asserted that trauma-informed practices benefit the individual by preventing the occurrence of re-traumatization. Although, the study of Goodman et al. (2016) indicated that trauma-informed practices benefit social institutions by creating sustainable opportunities for empowering the victims of trauma.
At the same time, Morgan et al. (2015) research emphasized the social environment created by trauma-informed practices at social institutions that contribute to building a fruitful relationship between trauma victims. The study of Lucero and Bussey (2012) stated that one of the main benefits of trauma-informed practices is it minimizes the symptoms of trauma among the victims. However, the study by Berger, Quiros, and Benavidez-Hatzis (2018) argued that trauma-informed practices reduce the severity of drug use among traumatic individuals.
On the contrary, the dissertation of Donisch, Bray, and Gewirtz (2016) considered diminishing mental health symptoms among affected victims as a major benefit of trauma-informed practices. Additionally, Brown, Harris, and Fallot (2013) research highlighted that trauma-informed practices make the treatment of trauma cost-effective for multiple victims. Moreover, a similar author specified that trauma-informed practices promote resilience and strength within social institutions that assist them in minimizing the effect of trauma among the victims (Brown, Harris, and Fallot, 2013).
The first objective of this research is to promote the use of the trauma-informed practice in social work. In the studies of Levenson (2017), the literature indicated that approximately 64-94% of students in college experience some trauma that affects their adult life. Similarly, the studies of Morgan et al. (2015) from content analysis highlighted that a high number of traumatic cases among young adults requires the promotion of trauma-informed practices at social institutions that can contribute to bringing sustainability to the lives of young adults.
Furthermore, the study of Corrigan and Hull's (2018) literature emphasized the element of empathy among the staff of the social institution that improves the condition of victims of childhood trauma. However, the studies of Donisch, Bray, and Gewirtz (2016); Quiros and Benavidez-Hatzis (2018) from content analysis found that trauma-informed practices allow social activists to create a trauma-free environment for their clients, staff, and family at social institutions that facilitates their social work of promoting the trauma-informed approach in the society.
The studies of Cicchetti and Banny (2014); Chamberlayne and Smith (2019) in literature asserted that traumatic individuals resist opening up about their traumatic experiences of childhood. Thus, using trauma-informed practices creates a comfortable environment in their surroundings and assists them in opening up. While the research of Brown, Harris, and Fallot (2013); Lucero and Bussey (2012) from content analysis illustrated that trauma-informed practices could be promoted when social work is entirely based on the resilience and strength of victims of childhood trauma.
The study's second objective is to thoroughly create a link between traumatic childhood and dysfunctional drug use in later adult life. The research of Izaguirre and Cater (2018) from literature highlighted that traumatic childhood had been one of the major reasons for dysfunctional drug use among young adults in later adult life. Similar research identified that physical abuse, such as sexual abuse during childhood, creates trauma among individuals. These people get involved in using a dysfunctional drug to minimize pain (Izaguirre and Cater, 2018). In contrast, the study of Campbell, Walker, and Egede (2016) from content analysis asserted that emotional negligence by parents in childhood creates a substantial possibility of dysfunctional drug use in later adult life due to childhood trauma.
The study by Cutuli, Alderfer, and Marsac (2019) literature stated the factors that make childhood traumatic, which were abuse, neglect, and violence. These studies focused on the influence of childhood trauma on drug abuse. The author further described that parental substance abuse highly affects a child's mental health during childhood, due to which they get highly inclined towards dysfunctional drug use in later adult life (Cutuli, Alderfer, and Marsac, 2019). However, the study of Piotrowska et al. (2017) from content analysis emphasized that physical violence, such as bullying at schools and other surroundings during childhood, is a significant determinant that causes dysfunctional drug use among young adults in later adult life.
The third objective of the study is to highlight the family support outside the home that provides the opportunity to be resilient and overcome exposure to trauma and abuse. The studies of Karson and Sparks (2013) indicated that children tend to visit several social groups of traumatic people where discussion related to their trauma and abuse occurs. A similar author elaborated that these groups respect every individual's pain and provide moral support to overcome the trauma. However, the studies of Martin et al. (2014); Harley et al. (2010) from content analysis focused on social institutions that promote trauma-informed practice among the victims of trauma so that they can overcome the issue and lead a sustainable life.
Furthermore, the research of Crews et al. (2017) from literature emphasised support from close relatives such as uncles, aunts, and grandparents about trauma and abuse faced by children at a young age who takes responsibility for nurturing the children by themselves to minimize the exposure to trauma and abuse. While the study of Quinn et al. (2016) in content analysis contemplated that teachers in educational institutions play a dominant role in minimizing the exposure of young children to trauma and abuse as they make sure to be vigilant in identifying the issues related to trauma and abuse among young adults.
The final objective of the study is to highlight the importance of a healthy childhood for better later adult life. The survey by surveyer, Ginsburg, and Mulligan (2012) in literature specified that healthy childhood assists an individual in achieving their lifetime goals in later adult life. Similarly, the study by Grohmann, Kouwenberg, and Menkhoff (2015) from the content analysis indicated that young adults with healthier childhood are more focused on fulfilling their dreams. Additionally, from the studies of Iwamoto and Smiler (2013); Larkin, Felitti, and Anda (2014) in literature, it has been found that individuals with healthier childhood tend to have greater life expectancy during their adult life as compared to people with traumatic childhoods.
However, the studies of Kiesel, Piescher, and Edleson (2016) from content analysis stated that people with healthier childhood have greater self-esteem that assists them in leading prosperous life in later adulthood. Furthermore, the studies of Morrall, Worton, and Antony (2020) and Williams (2019) in literature asserted that healthy childhood significantly minimizes the probability of developing a mental disorder in adult age. However, the research of McQueen et al. (2018) from content analysis found that socio-demographic aspects of society create healthier childhood, due to which an individual leads a better adult life.
The current chapter discussed the analysis of the study by employing the content analysis technique in which multiple secondary sources such as journals, articles, books, and magazines are used for comparing and contrasting distinct ideas related to the topic. By critically examining the content, it has been found that trauma-informed practices play prominent in improving the quality of social work performed by social institutions to eradicate the symptoms and issues of childhood trauma. Additionally, it has been evaluated that children get moral support from close relatives, teachers, and friends to minimize their exposure to trauma and abuse. Moreover, the studies found that physical, mental, and emotional abuse in early childhood plays a prominent role in promoting dysfunctional drug use in later adult life. Lastly, the findings indicated that a healthier childhood assists individuals in achieving life goals and leading sustainable adult life in the future.
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