Early childhood trauma, substance use and complex concurrent disorders among adolescents

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2021 Jul 1;34(4):393-399. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000718.

Abstract

Purpose of review: To highlight the interdependence between early childhood trauma, substance use and complex concurrent disorders among adolescents and discuss the delayed response and gaps in the healthcare system.

Recent findings: High-risk behavior such as suicidality, self-harm and hazardous substance use including overdose and the use of psychotropic substances for self-medication of mental health challenges is a growing concern. These symptoms are often related to early childhood trauma, substance use and complex concurrent disorders. Most countries do not have a youth mental healthcare system, there are no specific guidelines and only few programs addressing high-risk substance use are in place.

Summary: In addition to the significance of traumatic experience for high-risk substance use and addiction, most parts of the system of care ignore the trauma aspect in treatment of substance use and focus on abstinence. There are hardly any early intervention programs, broader prevention strategies or evidence-based or target-group-oriented treatment offers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences / psychology*
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Drug Overdose
  • Humans
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychological Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology