Nature or Nurture? The Role of Trauma in Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

Nature or Nurture? The Role of Trauma in Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

While genetics have long been pointed to as a primary reason for “alcoholism,” recent research findings support the idea that trauma is more often than not a key factor in whether a person develops alcohol dependency. As described in this Huffington Post blog article, a study reported in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research specifically looked at the relationship between childhood abuse and alcohol abuse later in life.

What the study found was that a person’s proclivity for alcohol addiction cannot be attributed to genetics alone, based on two major outcomes:

  1. Childhood trauma due to abuse and/ or neglect was significantly more common among men and women seeking help for drinking than among those who’d never experienced drinking issues.
  2. The severity of one’s alcohol abuse was proportionate to the severity of the childhood abuse they had experienced.

The group seeking treatment also reported higher levels of anxiety, depression, and/or anger. Knowing that prior experience plays a role underscores the idea that treatment must consider each individual’s personal history to understand what may motivate dependency.

Sabino Recovery’s own therapeutic model is based on the belief that it is this type of unresolved trauma that leads to unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol and drug addiction as a method of coping. Our program is therefore designed to treat the root trauma along with the resulting issues, with a goal of healing the whole person and providing hope for lasting recovery